You’ve moved into your new home, unpacked the boxes, arranged and rearranged the furniture, hung a few things on the walls. Hmmm. You know, or think you know how you want your rooms to feel but can’t get from the builder white walls and your old stuff to that wonderful comfy inviting look you got when you were in the model of the home you purchased?
Just Moved to a New Home? Decorate Like a Pro with These Easy Steps – by Designer Maxwell L. Alexander, MA, BFA
Before you panic and true anxiety sets in know there are more easy solutions at your fingertips than ever before. There are decorator magazines, home decorating shows, web sites, retailers, great books with very good instructions. Visiting model homes again will help. “Okay, “ you say, “I see them, I buy them, I visit them, I like them, but how do I do it? I don’t know where to begin.”
Start with one room you love in a magazine or model home. We’ll call it your dream room. If you can go to the model home to feel and study the space or the room you will get the best results. Ask if you may take pictures in the models too. This will help when you get home and when you shop. Take a tape measure and a spiral notebook with you to make notes and draw sketches. I like the ones with plastic tabs and pockets inside.
Let’s start decorating by seeing what we like.
Are all the walls the same color and the ceiling too? What color(s) is the room? Write this down. Is there a chair rail or decorative molding at the ceiling, wall covering or faux painting? What is on the floor? Is there tile, wood, carpet, area rugs? What color and texture and pattern? Is the area rug braided or a Persian rug or a contemporary design diagonally placed partly under one of the chairs and sofa?
What style is the furniture? Is it all a matching set? Do all the woods match? Maybe the sofa and club chairs are the same style and wood finish but the chairs have a patterned upholstery and the sofa is a solid or striped fabric. Write this down.
How is the furniture arranged? Does the sofa sit in the middle of the room separating the conversation area from the game table, or is all the furniture pushed up against the walls? Draw a little floor plan so you don’t forget when you get home.
The windows. Are there blinds, shutters, a valence or draperies? Are the rods large or small, wood or metal with huge finials? Make a note of it. If there are panels at each side of the window, do they go all the way to the floor? What color are they? Do they match the walls or are they the same fabric as the toss pillows on the sofa? Is it the drapery hold back that catches your eye? You will have to consider the exposure and privacy out your own windows when you make your final window treatment selection.
The pizzazz is the accessories. This is often what many people love most about the model homes or magazine pictures that inspire them. The details, the little things we all love to collect and buy when we shop. This is what pulls the room together and gives it your personality. In the room you love, what kind of lamps are there? Is there a place to store the things you will need to put away? Are there several things grouped on the coffee table? What sizes are they? Is there something pretty tall, a large round platter set on a stand and a box all grouped together? If there are photographs on the end tables, how big are they and how does the frame style work with everything else in the room?
What is on the walls? Is there one large picture over the sofa or is there an arrangement of black and white photos in different size frames? What color is the matting and how much space from the photo to the frame? Details, details, details. Draw a sketch of the picture arrangement and the sizes in your notebook.
Congratulations. You have just completed the first step to decorating your own home.
You know what you want, how it goes together and what it will look like. You don’t have to break the bank now to create your room. You probably already have the furniture pieces and accessories. You may already have the lamps and area rug as well. You may just have to recreate and rearrange.
Get started. Go to the paint store and select the paint chips you think best match your dream room. Grab several samples, color can be deceiving and they can look different depending on the light. Take them back to the model home and see which ones match the best. Buy the paint and paint the room.
Your window treatment. If you copy your dream room exactly make sure you have the right privacy and exposure considerations covered. This is where a lot of people go astray. They think they like shutters and buy them. Then they don’t like them and also wonder how their dream room went wrong. Your dream room may have been more airy with a shade and drapery panels on large wood poles. The wrong blinds, shutters or draperies and hardware can be a costly mistake that you probably won’t change.
Arrange your furniture for conversation, TV watching, family fun, reading, eating or homework keeping in mind your dream room. Was all the furniture lined up on one side of the room? Your sofa may be the wrong color and your chairs may need to be redone. That doesn’t mean you have to buy all new; consider slipcovers. You can buy them or make them. Be sure your accessories are things you want around you and are of a grand enough scale for your space. Voila! You’re on your way to decorating confidence and living in the home that makes you and your family happy.
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