Sunday, March 15, 2015

Where do I Begin? (Decorating 101)

Where Do I Begin?

Following design trends is like trying to follow fashion trends – they change constantly! Should you follow trends? Yes, If they suit your overall style. But, what are the basic design rules to follow that don’t necessarily rely only on trends? How can you have a home that looks like a million bucks without spending a fortune and without changing your décor every season?

      Take your time:
Decorating is an expensive business. Having an overall vision for the space (and, more importantly – a budget) before beginning is a good way to save money in the long run. There are a variety of means available to pre-plan for a space. One popular way to do this is by creating a Design Board using Pinterest or by using other Internet resources such as Olioboard to create a Mood Board. Magazines and photographs can also help create a Mood Board or collage if you are a more hands on kind of planner. Cut clippings from magazines when you see something that inspires you and create a photo collage. All of these will help you to see your vision. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, hire a designer to help. There is nothing worse than choosing items for your home only to hate them when you see them in the space. Some items can’t be returned and who wants the hassle anyway?

Other ways to take your time include shopping for signature pieces that make a statement. Frequent vintage and resale shops until you find the pieces that speak to you and your overall design vision. By shopping vintage and resale, you can save money a lot of times and the pieces will have character. If you do find the perfect piece, don’t snag it just because it is the perfect price. Also think about what you might need to do to it once you bring it home – repaint, reupholster, fix drawers. If you need to refinish, count the cost of paint and supplies. If the piece needs to be reupholstered, add $300-$400 to the sale price. Also remember that wherever you decide to shop, price doesn’t always negate quality. Hiring someone to refinish or reupholster a piece for you will sometimes produce better results than purchasing an expensive piece from the mass produced market.

 Measure and measure again:
Unless you are able to knock walls down in order to expand you space, measuring is a necessity when it comes to designing a space. If it won’t fit, it won’t fit. Remember to keep scale and proportion of objects, of furnishings and of furniture in mind as well as overall square footage of the space. You want to choose pieces that fit well proportionally in the space as well as look proportional to each other. A small chair will look out of place in a large room while it will look just right in a smaller room.

Focus on function:
Some rooms are a no brainer when it comes to function. A bathroom has a very specific function as well as a kitchen. But, what function do other rooms in your home have? Some rooms can function in several ways especially when you have children or when you work from home. That spare bedroom which would normally be just for guest can double as an office or playroom. How often you need a guest room may also lead to different furniture purchases and more functions for the space. If you choose to add a bed, the space is limited for other functions. But, what if you did a sofa with a fold out bed? Your space just increased as did the room’s overall functions.

The one rule to avoid though is to have your office inside your bedroom. Mixing work and sleep could have repercussions on how well you sleep. If you do have to have a workspace in your sleeping space, try to make it as inconspicuous as possible with room dividers, great organization and minimal office furniture.

Acknowledge ALL of the surfaces in a room:
Many of us tend to choose a paint color, flooring, draperies and furnishings but neglect the sixth side of a room – the ceiling. Make a statement with the ceiling by using wallpaper, beams, wooden planks, or paint it a contrasting color to make a huge statement. If you aren’t into making a huge statement, purchase a gallon of white paint and have it tinted with the wall color you are using in the space.

Keep it clean and organized:
No matter what your design style or which trends you decide to follow, keep your space clean, organized and clutter free. Purge or store anything you don’t need on a regular basis and don’t go overboard with items that will clutter the space. Baskets and bins are a great investment to hide unwanted clutter especially in the office area or if your children’s toys share the living space.

Remember that having a home where YOU feel comfortable is your main goal. Trends do have their place in moderation, but remember that you are not decorating for your neighbors or friends. You want your home to feel welcoming when you entertain visitors, but the overall design style should be reflection of your tastes. You want to love coming home!

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