One of the questions I often hear from people wishing to redecorate in their home is “where do I start?” Deciding to redo a room is one thing, but the actual process of doing it is quite another. However, don’t fret, help is at hand! There are a number of ways to approach redecorating, whether it is a complete room overhaul you’re embarking on or a straightforward refresh job. Here I hope to impart some useful tips to get you started down the right track…
Consider your colour scheme
Choosing the base colour of your room scheme is the first step in deciding how to redecorate. Most of us have a particular colour that strongly appeals to us, so opt for something you love as you are more likely to use varying tones of it throughout your home, thus creating a more harmonious, linked up overall feel. Do consider the views out of the room into the hallway, landing or an adjoining room, as it creates a better ‘flow’ to the space if the colour palette is of a similar or complementary tone. Moving from a duck egg painted living room into a deep mustard yellow hallway will only serve to make your home feel disjointed and incohesive. The whole space needs to appear connected and flowing therefore it is important to think of the home in its entirety when decorating. Perhaps the colour you opt for is based on an existing carpet or piece of furnishing that you cannot change and therefore must incorporate into the design. Similarly, you may own a painting that is a real statement piece in a living room – pick one or two colours from it and use them to build up the interior decor scheme.
Once you have decided on your main base colour, check which other colours go with it best. You could consider a tonal scheme, whereby you use varying tones of one colour or more than one colour but all in the same tone, which works equally well. For a harmonious, restful scheme, choose colours that are adjacent or near to one another on the colour wheel, such as greens and blues or pinks and purples. If you want to create an impact, opt for a contrasting colour scheme, choosing colours opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as red and blue or green and pink. This choice of scheme can quickly become tiresome however, so consider where you would use it carefully!
Incorporate neutral colours (i.e. those which don’t appear on the colour wheel such as grey, black and white), to balance out the overall scheme. Think a charcoal grey sofa with teal and mustard cushions or a white and birch chair against an orange wall. Whatever floats your boat!
When choosing a paint colour, paint the sample onto non absorbent white paper or card and move it around the room at different times of the day as the shade will alter as the light changes. Also, be aware of the aspect of a room – a north facing bedroom will feel colder if painted blue, just as a south facing kitchen will need to feel light and airy, so keep to colours on the cooler side of the colour wheel here. White paint won’t always make a dingy room feel brighter; make the space into a cosy nook with a rich cosy colour such as deep teal or burgundy (try this one) for added impact.
Image source: TTAB
What’s your style?
You probably already have a pretty much defined home decor style that naturally appeals to you. Some prefer classic, traditional decor to a minimalist, more contemporary look; others love a playful, eclectic feel to their home, whilst someone else may choose an industrial, edgy design. Consider styles that appeal most to you (see next section on ‘get inspired’), whilst also taking into account the type of house you live in. Is it a 1950s semi? A grand old Edwardian terrace? A cottage by the sea? These factors will help dictate the best style for your home. Many paint manufacturers now produce beautiful period colour ranges that may help you choose something along the right track for your particular home. Try Little Greene for a colour guide to each era or the Dulux Heritage range.
As above with choosing the overall decor colour, you may have a piece of furniture or soft furnishing that you want to incorporate into your decor – a beloved Oriental rug picked up on your travels might be used to build up a Moroccan scheme with white washed walls, mosaic tiles and bejewelled, brightly coloured cushions and throws. Or you are the proud owner of a vintage yellow Egg chair which would look at home as the centrepiece in a midcentury modern scheme with teak woods and geometric pattern. The important point to note here is not to be tempted to include several different styles throughout your home, even if they all appeal to you individually. A shabby chic living room next to a Japanese inspired dining area, whilst perhaps appealing in their own ways, will look awful next door to each other!
Here, accents of yellow can be seen continuing into the room beyond the kitchen. I love how this gives a degree of uniformity to the space.
Image source: NY Mag
Ok so we know what our colour scheme is going to be and we have an idea what styles we like. Now to get some real decor inspiration and let those creative juices flow! Tear pages from homes and interiors glossies, Sunday style supplements, homeware catalogues and newspapers. Browse online sources of inspiration such as Pinterest, interior design blogs and web sites. Keep a record of the ideas that appeal to you, be it in a file on your computer, an online pinboard or a stash of torn out pages and cuttings in a folder at home, and soon you will notice a particular look emerging that will define the direction you want to go in.
It is a good idea to gather up wallpaper samples, fabric swatches and paint testers as well so that you build up a really solid ideas base. Many retailers offer online fabric swatch services for free and if you bat your eyelashes in your local homeware store, you might even nab some wallpaper samples for free too! Mood boards aren’t solely the domain of the professional interior designer; don’t be afraid to arrange collections of your clippings and fabric samples onto a board and play about with different combinations. Always paint the back of the board in your chosen main wall colour, then arrange samples in the proportions and placements they would appear in real life; for example, a picture of your sofa at the bottom, a strip of curtain fabric down one side, a patch of feature paint on the other side, etc. This gives you a better idea of the overall effect and what works with what. Have fun with it!
Work with existing features
Our homes have innumerable quirks and original features that, if properly taken account of and blended into a room design, can really benefit the end result and may even become the focal point of a room scheme. Make a note of any existing architectural or design features that you wish to incorporate into your new scheme or that you have no choice but to include, for example, a ceiling beam or unusually shaped window. Older properties may have features such as picture rails, cornicing and ceiling mouldings intact and in good order. Keep these painted white for an understated, subtle look, whilst retaining an air of old school elegance. A modern chandelier or light fitting can look spectacular hanging from a traditional ceiling rose. This marriage of old and new is super effective, preventing the whole look from becoming too archaic and breathing new life into an old design. If you have original tiled or parquet flooring concealed below dated carpets, these can easily be given a new lease of life and become a fabulous feature of a room. A dated, yellowing pine fire surround needn’t be replaced by something new – paint it a deep, moody shade of blueish black or grey for a chic yet cosy effect that looks amazing against a pale grey or soft pink wall and really sets off any original tiling on the inset. For a more coastal, New England or Scandinavian vibe, paint it white or the lightest of greys.
This Edwardian surround has been painted pure white as a stunning contrast to the slate grey wall behind. I love the splash of turquoise which lifts the whole decor scheme.
Image source: Angel in the North
The exposed wooden beams in this gorgeous little cottage act as a feature in their own right, adding to the quaint, cosy ambience.. I just want to curl up in that leather armchair! I also like the way ta roman blind has been used in preference to curtains to let maximum light into the otherwise small space. That, along with the cool colour palette, gives it an airy feel.
Image source: Modern Country Style Blogspot
Wood panelling, when left in its original state, can make a space feel smaller, dark and confined. Paint it a light neutral colour for instant vibrant appeal, or if you have dated tongue ‘n’ groove panelling in a bathroom, it too can be freshened up with a lick of paint, again keeping to more neutral, chalky hues – off white, dove grey, palest blue – for a clean, crisp look.
Image source: http://www.wealdentimes.co.uk/
It’s important to plan redecorating jobs thoroughly and take time to think carefully about the look and feel you want to achieve, as well as any factors that might affect it. Rushing into a decor project can result in costly mistakes and wasted time and energy. Enjoy the planning process, keep the momentum going when you begin to decorate and soon enough you’ll be able to sit back, chill and soak in the gorgeousness of your new room!
Are you planning any interiors projects at the moment?