Designing and planning a room makeover can be overwhelming, trust me, I have been there:). The time, the money, the planning, the second guessing and then bringing it all to life. But…… it can also be fun and very rewarding. Making a space in your home functional, pretty and a true reflection of you & your family is a beautiful thing.
Through years of decorating for myself & others I have become well versed at decorating on a dime & creating a custom look without the high dollar price tag.
Here are some tips & things I have learned along the way.
1.Take it Slow
Don’t be afraid to take your time. I think often we are easily influenced(me included) by others; we can browse the Internet & get caught up in following blogs & home design sites that we can get discouraged by our own home’s lack of presence & beauty. The homes that we see in magazines which are beautifully decorated take time & thought to get that way, I remind myself of that often
2. Establish A Budget & A Plan
I am not sure about you but we do budgets. With the economy the way it is & the fact that I am married to an accountant, influences how I decorate:). I am not ashamed to admit it (I actually enjoy it), we are like everyone else out there, trying to be careful & thoughtful about how much we spend and also save for the future at the same time. Try to be realistic & if you have only a small amount to start with, that is fine, you may be able to add to the budget at a later time.
3. Enjoy it
Sounds simple, right? Well, sometimes we can put pressure on ourselves and loose sight of the true purpose for designing a space. I usually start with my decorating magazines(CL, BHG, Cottages & Bungalows, MS Living, Romantic Country, House Beautiful, Southern Living, Elle, Traditional Home, Vintage Style, etc….); store catalogs(PB, Ballard’s,Restoration Hardware, etc…), yeah kinda sounds old fashioned, but I love this part. I sit down with my coffee and just flip through. For me, this is the dating part, no real plan and lots of ideas stirring in my noggin.This is also going to sound old fashioned, but I still rip out pages. I start a fresh binder with each room and file them away.The reason I START simple is because I can get overwhelmed if I jump right to the Internet. This way I have an idea of what I am looking for.
4. Use Internet
Once you have gotten your feet wet with your magazine ripping.
Use the Internet to help you establish a direction & style. Don’t be afraid to mix styles, as long as you are comfortable.
Start with Pintrest. Create an account & make boards that are relevant to your life & stage of decorating. I would make an overall board for that room and then break it down. Example, Dining Room, then….. Chairs, Drapes, Tables, Rugs, Fabrics, Paint etc…..
Some use mood boards, which are also a really valuable tool.
5. Decide What Is Staying
I am a big believer is using what you have, or have to:). This plays in with budget. What to keep; furniture that has good lines & scale, upholstery with classic design, neutral furnishings, art that is meaningful, a rug you can’t afford to replace. Remember, paint & fabric can transform ANYTHING.
This is how I start. Some start with rugs or art, I like love fabrics.
Once you have established your style & direction, it is time to get your fabric samples. If you already have art, a rug or existing furniture, bring it with you; bring a photo, roll it up, just get it there. An amazing resource for help is your local fabric stores.
If you have a Calico Corners, go! And get lots of samples. They are so helpful and usually have years of experience. Even if you don’t have a store nearby you can order swatches online. Oh & ask about sales! I also use Ballard’s, they will ship you any quantity of samples for $5.00.
7. Trust Your Gut
Stay true to you & what you love. You will have lots of choices but if you can rely on first instincts & your gut, then you will be able to make clearer, more heartfelt choices.
8. Time to Create a Color Palette
The fun part! You can do this a few ways, you can go to your local paint stores and collect samples, which I love to do or you can useChip It, a tool from Sherman Williams, who my friend Jeanne shared in one of her online classes, see below. If you prefer a different paint brand, you can always have it color matched. Depending on what your inspiration piece is, mine would be a fabric, you may have a piece of art, or an image from the Internet, you would upload an image to their site(easy I promise) and viola.
At this point you have a clear direction, yay! You may have pictures, images that you printed, lots of fabric samples, paint swatches, sketches(even if they aren’t perfect, it is a good to have), etc….keep them organized. Like I mentioned before, for every room, I have a zip up binder, it is worth the few dollars, trust me, it will keep you from gearing off track, not that I would know anything about that:).
10. Fill In The Furniture Gaps
This sounds like a small thing, but we ALL know it is not. Having a direction from your fabrics, art, rug, paints and pieces you already have will help you through this part.
My advice is, stick with places you feel comfortable buying from, make sure it is comfortable & functional, don’t be afraid to look on Craigslist, shop thrift stores, tag & estate sales, outlet stores, and yes, IKEA. I have gotten some sweet deals, that saved me $$$. Last bit of advice stay neutral with larger pieces & use lots of texture!
11. Build It/ Alter It When You Can
Even if YOU aren’t handy, chances are you know someone who is, lucky them:). There are so many resources online, especially through Pintrest, you can find tutorials & plans for just about anything. This will save you tons & give you an original custom look.
My brother-in-law was enlisted for some big time
help for this project.
This was 10 bucks!
12. Pick Fabrics To Go Where
There are so many ways to divide your fabric choices. Once I have picked my fabrics, which usually all work together in color & scale, I usually pick the boldest fabric(my signature fabric) to go on a few pieces, such as small chairs, ottomans, benches, pillows or cushions, then I add the other fabrics in here & there. I personally like geometrics, soft prints, stripes or textured solids for drapes or larger pieces. You don’t need to use a lot of custom fabric to give a custom look, even if you just do a few pillows & an ottoman that will do it. Pick & choose wisely because it can get pricey. Tip, your drapery fabric can end up costing a lot because of yardage, shop around, sometimes you can find an alternative that won’t break your budget.
13. Start Sewing or Find Local Workroom
Sewing yourself will save you tons of money. If you can’t sew then find a local workroom. Ask your friends & family for references. You might surprised that you can afford it.
14. Decorate Your Walls
Give your room a custom one of a kind look is by making art yourself, yup, you don’t have to be Picasso to create something beautiful & meaningful for your walls, check HEREfor some ideas.Etsy is also a great source for art, usually prints are very affordable. Don’t overlook things in your own home, such as your children & grandchildren’s artwork, old letters, vintage property surveys, maps and maybe some family sketches. These would look beautiful framed.
15. Add Accessories & Textures
Your in the home stretch, yay! This should be fun, remember layering the details and giving your room a collected look takes time, don’t rush. Buy & add things that you love, that have meaning. Last tip, shop everywhere….
This has been my humble experience in creating spaces that are loved and lived in, with custom touches that don’t have the high dollar expense. You can also find & follow more of my DIY Projects HERE on my Pintrest. Also, be sure not to miss a post by following me HERE on Facebook.
Please email me anytime with questions. I always love hearing from you!
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