Friday, August 12, 2011

Tips for Mistake-Free Decorating

Everybody makes mistakes, but when it comes to decorating your home, those mistakes can come with price tags attached. Choosing the wrong paint color, the wrong size or the wrong look can sabotage your decorating project and cause wasted time and money.

Some preliminary planning can help you avoid such mistakes that would necessitate the need to repaint, repurchase or rethink your whole decorating project. Here are a few basic suggestions for getting your look right the first time.

Choose The Right Color

It can be a daunting challenge to pick the right paint color from the literally thousands of choices that are available from major paint manufacturers. Fortunately, paint manufacturers are doing what they can to help you with color selection. Paint color chips are increasingly "going large," which means that you no longer have to squint at frustration at tiny squares of color. In many cases, manufacturers are offering large-format paint cards (some as large as 8-by-12 inches or even 18-by-24 inches) that can give you an accurate representation of the final color on the wall. Paint manufacturers also produce brochures that depict foolproof color combinations that will allow you to proceed with confidence in determining your home's color scheme.

In addition, an increasing number of manufacturers have paint sampler programs, which allows you to buy a small container of paint (in most cases ranging from 2-ounces to 16-ounces) so you can try out a color on a wall or on a sample board before committing to a full purchase.

Once you have devised a color scheme for your walls, you want to be sure that any items added to the room--furniture, fabrics, window coverings, wallpaper area rugs, accessories, etc.--will work well with your overall scheme. Many decorating stores schedule in-home appointments so that you can see samples of various products--i.e., window coverings, fabrics, carpet, etc.--in the actual room that you are decorating. This makes it easy for you to hold the colors up to your walls or furnishings to ensure that you are choosing the correct color.

When you're shopping for furniture or accessories, the best solution is to bring your colors with you. Bring your color cards or a small sample painted with your wall color so you can be assured that any new items you buy for the room will coordinate well with your overall color theme.

Measure Precisely

Always measure the dimensions of your room to ensure that you are buying the right quantities of paint, wood stain, wallpaper or other products for your decorating project. In the case of paint, this produces less waste so you don't have to worry about disposing of leftover paint. Less waste is not only kinder to your pocketbook, but also kinder to the environment. By having exact measurements, you can also ensure that a piece of furniture or accessory will fit a spot the way you planned.

When it comes to custom products such as window coverings, the best advice is to have a professional do the measuring. That way, any responsibility for an incorrect measurement does not fall on you but on the store from which you are buying the product. If you are spending the money on custom window coverings, you want them to fit your window precisely.

Shopping for furniture also requires precise measuring to ensure that the proportions and scale are correct for your room. It's not a bad idea to use graph paper to create a representation of your room to scale and then draw the items in where you would like them to fit. There are also products that allow you to move pre-cut furniture and architectural elements around with ease or software that does essentially the same thing.

When you hang wall art, make sure you do it once-not twice or more often. An excellent idea is to cut art paper or kraft paper into the dimensions of your artwork and lightly tape it to the wall to make sure you like the placement.

Have an Overall Plan

While you might view each room as its own separate entity, the truth is that your home needs to have a good flow from room to room. This is especially true if you have an open floor plan. It's a good ahead to walk around your home and become familiar with the various sight lines from different locations--sitting, standing and walking--and think about how various elements will play off of one another.

Your budget may not permit you to change every room in your house all at once, but it's a good idea to have a plan that will allow you to proceed logically as you move forward. That way, when you decide to re-decorate the family room a few months after decorating the living room, the styles and colors you choose will flow together as if they were planned that way from the start.

Lastly, keep in mind that hiring a professional interior designer will keep you from making costly mistakes. The expenditure you make by hiring a professional will ensure your home has a cohesive look that reflects your style and taste.

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