So this week begins our latest design project helping a friend who's budget is tight, as is with most first-time home buyers. It's a great space for the size and has loads of potential. She has numerous collectables she has acquired over the years and needs help fitting them all in a small space. To help her stay within budget, we will "shop" around her house and use items that she already has. We will combine them together in new and interesting ways, while eliminating other items to create a fresh new look. As we were making notes for her, we realized the tips we were giving her could help others as well, so we're sharing the basic tips today.
Step #1: Find An Inspiration Photo
We chose this one from the Better Homes and Gardens website as an example to work from. This magazine is great to use for ideas, because they don't generally do anything over-the-top or expensive. Now it is important to choose a realistic inspiration room that has similar elements to what you already have. Remember you are going shopping in YOUR home and if you pick a completely different style and color scheme from what you already have, it's going to be a very sparsely decorated room.
Step #2: Get Organized
It's now time to start de-cluttering and organizing your stuff. This is where your inspiration photo is the most important. Start by first going through your home and find everything you can that looks like it would go nicely in your inspiration room. Using our inspiration photo here, we could start by going through the entire house looking for blue and neutral toned items. Organize them into a pile and then go back through and get rid of everything that does not fit your vision (furniture included). These items can possibly replace what you have pillaged from the rest of the house or they can be sold at a garage sale when your project has been completed.
Step #3: Paint is your friend
Now it's time to take your photo to the paint store and chose a wall color. Use you photo and get numerous similar shades of the photo color. Just because the color you see in the magazine is beautiful it doesn't mean it will look good in your home. You might have to go lighter, darker, warmer or cooler, depending on the light in your room. Take the sample paint chip cards home and see how they look. Chose several favorites and go back and get sample cans of each color. This will give you a much better idea of how the color is really going to look in the room. It's almost impossible to tell from those tiny little cards. You will also want to match up your picture frames, which would also require a few cans of spray paint. Are all the pictures in your inspiration room black, as in the photo below and yours are an array of different colors? Take the frames off and spray them. It really unifies a collection of art or photos.
Paint may also be needed to transform a table into what you see in your picture. The photo below is a great example. A can of blue paint will make that mahogany table of yours look like an entirely different piece of furniture.
Step #4: Decorate!
Once everything has been painted, you get to start doing the fun part - decorating! Start playing with the furniture and try different arrangements. At this point you may find that some pieces don't really work and may need to be removed. More often than not, less is more and just because something fits your vision, it may not fit inside the room. After your furniture is in place, you can bring in your pictures and accessories to complete your look. If your missing key elements and can't finish your design, don't worry, we can handle that in the next step.
Step #5: The Wish List
Now that you're done decorating, you step back and realize that perhaps there are a bunch of key elements missing, like that amazing bookcase in the picture that you don't have. This is where the wish list comes into play. If you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll be able to find it somewhere. Garage sales or perhaps an inexpensive retailer like IKEA will have what you need. This also keeps you from straying and buying on impulse, which will most likely be something you don't need and doesn't fit your design.