No-fail designer secrets to refresh a tired room from start to finish.
1. GET INSPIRED
Put your imagination to work when thinking about your decorating project. Inspiration can come from anywhere—from magazines to nature walks—and it’s easy to corral your ideas with sites like Pinterest. Start by collecting images and creating a strong theme that speaks to you.
2. DETERMINE YOUR STYLE
Every aesthetic has its own signature elements, so when you’ve assembled your inspiration board, take a look for any commonalities. Is everything yellow? Are all the shapes feminine? Maybe there’s a lot of traditional woods and patterns. Use any similarities to zero in on the look you like. Just remember to remain flexible. Design projects always—always—involve compromise.
3. SET YOUR BUDGET
Whatever you decide to spend, spend it wisely. It’s
a designer rule of thumb to reserve the big bucks for substantial items that you love and will keep for a long time—well made furniture, for example, lasts a lifetime—and use any discretionary cash for trendy accent pieces that you can switch out periodically. In addition, if your plan includes structural changes to your room or home, make sure you set aside enough funds to hire professional tradespeople.
4. MAKE A PLAN
Any reno project will be more successful if at least some of the major steps are planned in advance. If you need to put some money aside before you start, move pieces out of certain rooms, arrange for quotes with contractors, investigate and decide on products that may need to be specially ordered—all these considerations should be taken into account when building your timeline. Then, add in a few weeks of extra time for the inevitable unexpected delays.
5. PICK YOUR PALETTE
Amalgamating all the disparate pieces of a room’s refresh often relies heavily on unifying everything using colour. So although you may be tempted to start slapping your favourite shade of paint on the walls, hold off until you’ve considered all the components that need to be incorporated.
Designers often advise using a palette made up of three shades in varied proportions: the main colour that would go on the walls (60%), a contrasting colour to accentuate a feature (30%) and a complementary or highlighting colour for accents (10%).
USING PALE SHADES
Canadians are drawn to whites and pale neutrals, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, but these light shades are not all created equal. To get it right, think about the existing light in the room; if any windows are north-facing, for example, chances are the light is cool, so a white with a blue undertone will work. Spaces with warm light can benefit from a white with a yellow undertone.
USING DARK SHADES
Charcoal, ebony, chocolate, ink, midnight—luscious dark colours can make a room feel luxurious and dramatic and, contrary to popular belief, they don’t make a space feel smaller. The key to using a bold shade is to start small (in a powder room, perhaps), and not overdo it. Dark rooms can seem quite formal, so incorporate layers of natural textures to lighten things up.
6. PLAY UP THE PERSONAL
No one wants to live in a showroom, and unless your home reflects who you are, it’s just not complete. Adding character is essential to creating comfort and style, and it’s easy and inexpensive to do it. Below are just a few of our favourite methods of injecting some individuality.
The most effective yet inexpensive way to turn a blank wall into a stunning showpiece is with an array of framed keepsakes. Whether it’s with a display of family photographs, vacation snaps, greeting cards, concert tickets, items of clothing, mixed-media artwork or an arrangement incorporating all of the above, celebrating your personal history immediately signals that your house is, in fact, a happy home. Your display doesn’t need to be too finicky. Various subjects, a rainbow of colours, different frames—or no frames at all—are all okay to highlight the items that are meaningful to you.
Love a fabric but reupholstering your old sofa isn’t in the budget? Purchase just a small piece and make a toss cushion instead. Utilizing fabrics and organic fibres is a great option to add interest to a room without breaking the bank. Monochromatic and neutral rooms, especially, need subtle layers of textures and patterns to add interest and keep the eye moving. It’s a no-fail trick that designers have employed successfully for years.
We firmly believe that every home needs at least one substantial bookcase, especially if it holds more than just your favourite reads. Make your bookshelves the highlight of the room by decorating them as you would other surfaces in your home. Work with odd numbers, stack your books both horizontally and vertically, incorporate photographs and mementoes and voilà!