In this post I will introduce the basic elements of decorating. When I work with families that are in the process of decorating their homes, referring to these eight steps helps to keep the project on track.
Whether you are thinking about hiring a decorator or redecorating your own home, working through these steps will help you stay focused and organized.
You will need to determine the mood you would like to have in that particular room. How do you want the room to feel? Remember, a well-decorated room is functional, harmonious and feels good to be in.
- You will need to decide on the colors you would like to use in the room. Light colors open up the room and make it feel larger-Dark colors make the room feel smaller and cozier. When selecting colors use the 60-30-10 rule. (60% for the primary color, 30% for your secondary color and 10% for accents) Warm colors such as red, orange and yellow are cozy and welcoming. Cool colors like blue, green and violet are more subtle and sophisticated.
- Focus your attention on wall, floors, ceilings and countertops and decide how these surfaces will work in your space. For walls and ceilings, your choices include wall paper, moldings, wainscoting and stone. Paint is a low-cost way to quickly change the look of a room and it comes in many finishes such as Flat/Matte for low traffic areas like bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. Eggshell/Satin is best for medium to high traffic areas like kids bedrooms, laundry rooms, family rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Semi-Gloss is usually reserved for trim, moldings and interior doors. High gloss is used on cabinets and main entry doors. For floor, your choices are wood (Oak-Ash-Hickory-Cherry-Walnut-Maple) tile (Ceramic and Porcelain), stone (good for kitchens and baths), laminate (water resistance quality good for kitchens and baths), vinyl (most popular), cork (renewable tree bark and environmentally friendly) and carpet (short fibers are good for high traffic areas). For countertops, your choices include Stone (Granite, Marble and Slate), Quartz, Concrete, Recycled Glass and Laminate.
- Take a look at how you would like to store the items in the room. Do you want to use standalone shelves, tall units for books, a horizontal unit or wall mounted shelves? You can also use a combination of storage solutions. You will also have to decide if you are more comfortable with having your items exposed, concealed or a combination of both.
- Decide on furniture pieces and layout. Position main furnishings (bed/night stands, sofa/chairs) first, then place other pieces around the room.
- Keep durability in mind when selecting textiles for upholstery and drapes. Synthetics are more durable, easier to clean and less expensive. Examples of synthetic fibers are Nylon-wrinkle resistant and will not fade, Polyester-UV resistant and washable, Acrylic-stain resistant and feels soft, Acetate-looks like silk and easily damaged by the sun, Rayon-looks like satin and Microfiber-imitates suede and is very easy to clean . Natural fibers are more appealing to the touch and more unique. Examples would be Silk-good for drapes not furniture, Cotton & Linen-common for drapes and upholstery, Wool-naturally stain resistant and durable, Leather and Suede-most durable and gets better with age. Be sure to select upholstery before other fabrics.
- Take a look at the lighting in the room. Lighting should be used to create a pleasant mood. Decide if you would prefer a chandelier, pendant lights, recessed lights, table lamps or standing lamps to meet your needs. A CRI of 70 or higher is most desirable.
- And last but not least, select unique and personal accents to finish off the space. Be sure not to use too many because then it will become clutter. Accents are categorized into Wall Art, Mirrors, Plants, Candles and Pillows.
There you have it! You now have access to the same steps that a decorator would follow when working with clients. You are now on your way to creating the house of your dreams!