Before you start, however, there’s a lot to consider in terms of both how you use the space and exactly what you have to work with.
Issues of your available time and budget, as well as the layout and structure of your home, will benefit from your consideration of the mistakes made by many who have gone before you.
Leaping before you look
Take your time when making decisions – particularly for big-ticket furniture items and key decorating decisions. Wall paint, flooring and architraves should all be consistent with the style you’re working towards. Bringing in second hand or borrowed furniture such as sofas and dining tables are a great way to save on your budget until you’re sure what you want. Next, be prepared to wait for it.
Not testing paint colours
Painting your interior spaces is one of the easiest ways to transform and make them your own - laying the foundation for your style story. The selection of wall paint and trim colours should include a process of trial and error of painting substantial test patches throughout your home. Even where you use the same colour everywhere, it will register differently according to the amount and quality of natural light each room receives. Narrow your options with small swatches, then paint an area of at least 30cmx30cm in each of your shortlisted colours in a range of areas.
Thinking too small
Rather than looking at each room in isolation, think like an interior designer and consider your home as a whole where decorating is concerned. Borrow elements from a shared palette across all spaces to present a cohesive look that runs room-to-room. This way, both your budget and ideas will be stretched further.
Arranging furniture only on the walls
Maximise the entire space available in each room and play with less conventional layouts, using a combination of furniture grouped away from, rather than along the walls. A narrow table behind the sofa can create a division, a dining table adjacent to the kitchen may work in the centre of the space. Use rugs, lighting and artwork to demarcate each zone.
Buying everything from the same shop
This is possibly one of the easiest traps to fall into. Seeing a furniture arrangement on the floor in a furniture showroom and buying the lot is just how retailers want you to think! Use these displays to cultivate your own ideas and make choices from a variety of sources – including upcycling items you already own, seeking out statement pieces from vintage stores or commissioning a maker to create your own idea of perfection.
Fighting the true style of your home
Ideally, your choice of home will reflect your own style to some degree but if renovation is on the cards and you’re a long way from home Toto, sometimes working with an eclectic mix of styles is a better approach than having everything competing visually. If you’re looking for a longer term solution, paint can be your friend in the interim by bridging the gap between classic and contemporary – painting everything in a forgiving shade of white works wonders to calm the decorative chaos.
Not working with what you have
If you feel like you’re constantly competing with your home to achieve the look you’re after, enlist the help of a professional for a different view on things. An interior designer can help you take a step back from the process and see your home's potential through fresh eyes to make the most of what you have in front of you.
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