Are you tired of your living room? Or disgusted with your dining room? Maybe it’s time to redecorate! Sprucing up a “tired” room will definitely give your spirit a lift! But, where do you start?
Well, as the song says, “Let’s start at the very beginning!” First, take an inventory of your room – an inventory with a critical eye. This is where the help of a trusted friend or professional can be helpful. What is the room used for? How much traffic does it get? It is a sanctuary or a room which will welcome many guests? How is the room’s lighting? Do you like your current furniture arrangement? Do you like your current furniture? Do you need to change the wall color or treatment? Are your window treatments dated? These questions and many more can go on and on. Sometimes it’s helpful to take photos of your own rooms, to see them from a different perspective.
Now that you’ve determined what’s wrong with your room, it’s time to create a master plan to address the problems, including a budget – one that will help guide you through all the decorating decisions you’ll be making over the coming months.
Which comes first, the plan or the budget? That depends on your situation. You could start with a wish list of items that you’d like to replace or add to your living room, and assign a cost to each of those items. Be sure to do a little research before determining costs, as your budget should be based on reality and not on wishful thinking. When you add up your list of items, you will have the beginnings of a budget. Now you can decide if you want to spend this much or if you need to trim the wish list. Should you buy new furniture, flooring, draperies, lamps, accessories? Or can you keep some pieces, buy a few new, and spruce up what you’re keeping. Set your priorities, and stick with them, to stay on budget.
Once you’ve established a figure you’re comfortable with, then it’s time to begin making some firm decisions about the four major elements in the room – furniture, window coverings, flooring, and walls, in that order.
Furniture is the workhorse of your room. It has to be beautiful, durable, and comfortable. You should think of it as an investment, and purchase classics that you won’t tire of, that are built to stand years of use. Furniture deserves a large portion of your budget, because you see and feel its quality every time you use the room. If your budget doesn’t allow for better-quality furniture, wait until you can afford it, rather than settling for cheap furniture that will need to be replaced.
Window Treatments can either take center stage, or be a soft backdrop to your entire design plan. There is nothing, dollar for dollar, that can do more for a room than a beautifully designed window treatment. If your windows are like eyes, then blinds are like contact lenses – they change the way you see the world outside, and the way the world outside sees you. Draperies are like eye makeup. Do you prefer the look of a little mascara, or do like the all-out glamour of false eyelashes, liner, and eyeshadow? If you can’t do it all at once, start with good-quality blinds first, then add draperies later.
Flooring options are wide and varied. Since the floor covers such a large expanse, it contributes greatly to the colouring of the room. It not only adds its own hue, but it also reflects on the wall and ceiling colours, changing the way they appear. Think of it as a 5th wall. If the existing flooring is in good condition, or it will work with your new room plan, then maybe it doesn’t need to be changed just yet. However, if the floor coverings are forcing you to work with a colour scheme that you don’t like, then let it go. It makes no sense to spend money on a room that’s built on something you dislike – you’ll only end up with another room that you’re tired of.
Wall covering selections cover the room’s largest surface, and should be the anchor of the room’s dominant colour. If you break your room’s colours into proportions of 60% main colour, 30% secondary colour, 10% accent colour, the walls should be part of the 60%. Paint is the least expensive way to update a room, and shouldn’t be left out for the sake of the budget. And don’t forget to have the ceilings freshened up – you won’t realize how discoloured they are until your walls are freshly painted, and then it’s too late.
With your master plan as a guide, redecorating a room can be relatively simple, if only you can stick to your plan and priorities.