Good design should enhance our experience of a space, and the way a room looks is almost the icing on the cake. As we work — and spend — to make the places we live in beautiful and functional, we sometimes make decor mistakes we come to regret. Unhappy choices nearly always stem from poor planning, rushed decisions, self-doubt or bad advice.
A huge reason many people don’t get around to tackling a decorating project is because they’re afraid to make a costly mistake. To give you the confidence to start your own dream design, I’ve put together a list of eight design and decorating bench marks for achieving a comfortable, well-thought-out home.
Find your style
Exploring daring design options can be daunting. Signs you should call for help are feeling immobilized by indecision and losing trust in your instincts. A good option here is to consider an interior designer or a decorator; they are trained professionals who will see your home with fresh eyes. Be reassured, a good one won’t impose his or her taste on you, but will steer you toward some options to clarify your vision for your home.
Choose the Art you love
Art should lift your spirits, provoke thought, take you places or create a reason to pause and enjoy. Art is personal, so seek out what reflects you. Collect artworks individually, not in job lots. They needn’t be museum-worthy; there’s a world of choice when it comes to quality prints, professional and family photographs, wall hangings, kids’ art, gifts from artistic friends and your own efforts.
Be Patient With Paint
Testing a paint color sometimes takes longer than applying the paint. Don’t begrudge this time, because patience pays off. Experts advise that you should always test on the intended walls in the intended room. The surface texture of a wall is different from that of a sample sheet. Apply two coats and always use a primer coat when working with strong colors, then do test patches on every wall that’s to be painted.
Balance Price and Quality
Interior design is all about balancing splurges and savings. “Splurge” statement pieces elevate the look, while “save” pieces fill out your design and rescue the budget and often secretly do a lot of the heavy lifting High-end furniture doesn’t automatically make a room beautiful, but keep in mind the adage that “something cheap is eventually expensive.” A poorly made, low-priced item will show its true colors sooner than you’d like, leaving you with a nonreturnable lemon. Always buy the best you can afford.
Get Lights Right
Don’t detract from a fabulous pendant light or chandelier with an awkward hanging height. It’s easy to get it wrong over a dining table: Allow a minimum of 32 inches between the light base and the tabletop, or it will visually intrude between diners. A general rule is about 5 feet between the light base and the floor.
Take a Wide View
Enjoy the vitality of a big, bold pattern. If you fall in love with a wallpaper, make it the touchstone for the room’s decor. This quiet room’s restrained palette, unfussy furniture and perspective bring the bold sweeps and curves of the wallpaper into focus. A striking wallpaper with a complex pattern makes a strong impact, but it also could throw off the balance in a room. Use the same pattern to see its dominant lines and colors, how it repeats and how it reacts to various light strengths and directions.
Research by Ronbir B