Are you faced with decorating or re-decorating a room? Ever looked around your room and wondered why it didn’t look more pulled-together? If so, then you need to know a few secrets that designers already know!
So, you have a room that needs decorating. Maybe you’re just moving into a new house, you’re tired of the same old boring room you’ve been staring at for any number of years, or you’ve got a place that, slowly and surely, you’re trying to pull out of the 1960s that the previous owner must have enjoyed. (Not likely!) Whatever the case, there’s that room in front of you, and you just don’t know where to start.
I realize there are a lot of people out there who are DIY’ers so as a professional, I feel obligated to educate with a few designer secrets to help them get a start. However, that being said… God forbid! Should I become ill, I would attempt to self diagnose. I’d seek a professional in the medical field who knew what they were doing…but hey, that’s just me. So if you are absolutely adamant on going at it without a professional designer guiding you, (Which in NO way would I EVER recommend), at least a little important knowledge will be bouncing around in your head before you start.
A few key secrets of how to begin to decorate.
1. DO NOT pick a paint color!
You’re thinking, “What? Isn’t this the easiest place to start? I pick a color and then find stuff to go with it, right?”
No way! Nuh-uh! Stop and think: which is easier – matching a paint color to fabric or furnishings or the other way around? If you’ve ever wandered around a fabric store or home decor area of a department store trying to spot just that “right” shade of blue, you’ll know that it’s not an easy task. So leave the paint supplies right where they are; don’t worry, they’ll be there when you’re ready for them!
2. Think like a Psychiatrist
When you think about this room that you’re decorating, how do you feel? While that might sound silly, and you may be envisioning lying on a couch chatting it up with Sigmund Freud, it’s a step that will really help you define your style and vision for the room. For example, consider how a room that feels “posh” or “chic” would look compared to a room that feels “homey” and “rustic.” To get you thinking about your personal style, here are a few examples of some style-feeling words and rooms that reflect them:
Homey and Rustic
Bold and Eclectic
Some other style-feeling words to get you started:
Once you’ve chosen your style words, commit to them, and do not bring anything into that space that does not go with the feeling you are trying to create. For a few more style-feeling words, look at these examples.
3. Make friends with Pinterest
After you’ve chosen your style-feeling words, start gathering examples of rooms that fit in to those feelings or the look you are trying to create. There are tons of sites out there with pictures of beautiful rooms of every shape and size —Pinterest, Houzz and House Beautiful, just to name a few.
Head to your local library and grab some issues of a Better Homes and Gardens or another design magazine. Plan to do a lot of searching and note taking to determine what you like and don’t like. Once you have an idea in mind of what you want (or don’t want) and if you are not feeling completely overwhelmed at all the eye candy… Remember, absolutely no one who’s re-decorated a time or two… will blame you if you pick up the phone and call a professional designer at this point. But if you are still standing and your head is no longer spinning, alas… we move on to rule number 4.
4. Define your color palette
Now, the fun part — you get to go shopping! What you’re looking for is what’s known as a lead — an item such as a rug, pillow, piece of fabric, artwork, etc that contains in it colors you love that also matches the style-feeling words you already picked. This lead piece will LEAD you (get it?) to making good color choices because you’re going to pull your color palette from the colors in your lead piece. HINT: Keep in mind if you are in a box furniture store, there are lots to choose from. Choose wisely! Measure your space FIRST! Furniture stores have very few inner walls and high ceilings deceiving the shopper into thinking a large sectional will actually fit in a small space.
Once you have your lead piece, then you can go ahead to choose the remaining items that coordinate with your lead color and finally a paint color, still keeping in mind those feeling words.
If you take a look at this picture, you’ll see that all the colors in the room are pulled from the carpet and the fabric on the seat cushion in the foreground.
Here’s another example — this time, the lead piece is the geometric artwork on the wall. You’ll also notice that this room as a much more sleek and glamorous look than the one above, due largely to the choice of wall color, the light fixture and the upholstered bench.
5. Florals, Geometrics, and Stripes, Oh My!
Now it’s time to pick other patterns that will go with your color scheme and lead piece. Let’s say you picked a large, multi-colored floral as your lead piece. You can pair this with a smaller-scale geometric; it will complement rather than fight with your lead. To this you can add another smaller geometric or solid, spread them around the room, and voila! Gorgeous room!
There you have it! So for those of you who want to give it a go… I say, go out and decorate with a few key tools under your belt. If you start to feel dizzy, overwhelmed and/or unsure of your choices STOP immediately and contact Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer of All About Interiors. I am happy to get you back on the right path.
What’s the first room you’re going to make stunning?