Whether your home needs a subtle pick-me-up or a full overhaul, the redesign process can be intimidating, particularly if you don’t see yourself as creative. The financial investment is just as scary, but with the advice of the world’s finest decorators, you’ll be painting and swatch-collecting like a pro.
1) Choose a Palette You Adore
Color carries you halfway to the finishing line of your new room. Once you know what your palette is, you have a “map” to guide you through every decorating store. If you don’t have a natural eye for design, the internet is your friend. Browse through Pinterest to hunt for a room that makes your mouth water. Designers fill a room with 60% of a dominant color, 30% of a secondary color, and 10% of an accent. Your accent is typically the darkest, brightest shade in your palette, while most dominant colors are neutral shades. If you have a spacious room that’s drowning in light, you can get away with a dark dominant hue.
Once you’ve filled your room with your two predominant colors, you can source accessories to scatter your accent throughout the space. Balance is important here. You’re looking to achieve the same “weight” of color on all four sides of the room.
Your lighting is an important part of your palette, so experiment with colored LEDs, remembering to keep your accent shade to a minimum. Use task and accent lighting, relying on your dominant lighting source to unify the room. When you choose your paint, remember that the hue will change when it’s dry. Sample it on a small scale before going over your entire wall.
2) Settle on a Style
Every room needs a dominant style to unify it, so starting to decorate without knowing your aesthetic can result in a cluttered space. Look through magazines and decor stores if you’re uncertain about your taste. If you’d like to get an idea of what your room will look like before you shop, use a decorating app to plan your space. Many of today’s software products give you 3D renderings of existing furniture brands, so you can “shop” before you part with any of your hard-earned money. Technophobes can achieve similar results by creating a decorating dream board or scrapbook.
Every season comes with dominant trends. This can help and hinder you. If you love this year’s aesthetics, you only need to take a trip to the mall to find your look, but if current fashions don’t appeal to you, your shopping just got challenging because every store is going to stock items you hate. If the latter applies to you, you’ll have to venture beyond popular shops. Markets and antique stores will stock unusual and timeless decor, but if neither serves you, you may need to source fabrics and materials yourself and get your furniture made. This is often an economical way to handle decorating, so your work may pay off in the long run.
3) Use Mirrors and Metals to Add Light
High quality iron balusters and decorative mirrors will make your room feel more spacious and fill it with light during the day. If you don’t have the budget for much art, this is an economical way to fill your walls and vertical space.
4) Combine Textures and Styles
Textures need as much balance as colors do, so mix it up. Combine smooth and rough, patterned and bold, wood and fabric, metal and artwork. You can achieve the same balance by mixing modern and antique aesthetics. An old grandfather clock or Regency table will bring depth to a contemporary space. If you’re planning an industrial aesthetic, large blocks of plain color are an important way to add balance to the ruddiness of your room.
5) Use Timeless Styles for Your Most Expensive Items
Every room needs a spattering of trendy items, but unless you’re wealthy enough to redesign every year, a faddish space will become dated quickly. Walls are easy to paint and rugs are cheap to replace, but appliances and sofas are too expensive to buy every year.
Choose classic aesthetics for the costliest parts of your room, adding trends in small, inexpensive chunks. Most timeless furniture is streamlined and uncluttered, so it acts as an easy foundation for your room. If you tend to get bored quickly, choose neutral shades for expensive furniture. You’ll be much less likely to tire of black, stone, or cream. Neutral shades also pair easily with more secondary and primary hues, so you’ll find it easy to change up your palette each year. Alternatively, buy slipcovers to protect your furniture and make annual color shake-ups possible.
6) Choose New Window Treatments
Window treatments have a drastic effect on a room, and they’re relatively cheap to replace. Think sheer for large, dark rooms, whether that means thin bamboo blinds or transparent drapes. If your windows are gorgeously decorated, don’t hide them away or detract from them with ornate drapes. If your garden gives you plenty of indoor privacy, consider replacing your drapes with decorative window frames. You don’t have to cover every piece of glass in your home.
7) Use Pillows and Throws
Throw pillows and throws are the cheapest way to add texture and uniqueness to a room. They’re inexpensive enough for annual replacement, so this is where you want to focus your wildest aesthetics. Plants are an equally cheap way to liven up a room, but do consider investing in gorgeous stone pots or vases. Greenery can become clutter quite quickly, though, so remember that only 10% of your room should be dedicated to accents.
7) Use Rugs to Unify
Your floor is probably a neutral hue, which may make the rest of our room disintegrate. Area rugs in your secondary color will draw your look together and prevent it from looking messy. If you’re decorating an open plan room, rugs are the simplest way to separate it into several living spaces. Don’t be scared to use large rugs in your kitchen! A dash of textured warmth will make it look more homely.
8) Don’t Forget the Things You Already Own
You have a veritable treasure trove of decor items throughout your home and in your garage. When you redecorate, you’ll render many of those items useless in their original space, but they might be just the thing other rooms need. Rugged old desks, lamps, and backsplashes can add much-needed character to contemporary decor.
9) Don’t Underestimate the Power of Walls and Floors
If you’re not able redecorate entire rooms, a fresh coat of paint or new floor will liven up the entire space. Add new accents, and you’ll feel as though you replaced all your furniture. Redecorating doesn’t need to be expensive, especially if you’re an avid DIY fan. Strip those old tables, refinish your wood, and hang a few new paintings. You can even reface your cabinetry on a budget. Simply leave the innards as they are and add new doors.
10) Build With Space
Space and size matter. An oversized sofa in a tiny room will look out of place. Tiny windows are underwhelming in massive open plan areas. Floor-to-ceiling artwork doesn’t belong in dark, small studies, and huge chandeliers are best reserved for large dining areas. Focus on the scale of your furnishings and rooms, paying attention to the height of your ceiling and the size of your windows. Rooms that receive plenty of light look larger and can thus accommodate bigger furnishings, but don’t overdo it. Mismatched scale can cause clutter.
11) Blend Price Points
If your key items are investment pieces, you’ll get away with a few cheap furnishings. Mixing price points will allow you to splurge on the most important parts of your room. Save cents with unknown artists, economical lampshades, and even cheap rugs. These are replaceable items that don’t require commitment, so you can take risks on them. The capacity to go a little crazy will improve your creativity enormously.
12) Use Odd Numbers
If you’re grouping objects, whether they’re paintings, candles, or vases, use odd rather than even numbers. They will look more balanced. Use varied heights to complete the look, varying textures and patterns slightly. The human eye loves objects arranged in threes, so it’s the magic number of interior design. To make your groupings more unified, try to echo the same hues or textures.
13) Rely on Focal Points
Every room needs one focal point. This could be that collectable painting you’ve owned for years, the working fireplace, or the bold window with the incredible view. Work the rest of your room around that focal point, making sure you don’t detract from it with items that are bolder or brighter. Use omnidirectional lighting to accent it, and your room will look as though it was decorated by a pro.
Redecorating needn’t cost you the earth. With the help of a few design rules and a generous dose of creativity, you’ll achieve more than you ever thought possible. The more fun you have, the better your room will look. Self-judgement is the antithesis of creativity, so make a commitment to enjoy the decorating process. It will mean the difference between a superb space and a staid one.