How To: Decorate Tips

9 Dec

Amy Brinkerhouse, Durham, NC. says

” I have a lot ideas and would like to begin changing for the new year, but I have no guidance and I can’t afford a decorator; I so happened to find this site and wondered if you could help me? What can I do, what do I do first?”

Change is good, often we look around in our homes and it’s seems like you’ve been there forever!  Yes, it may be comfortable and it may show your own individuality, but where do you begin to change?  Where?  Where?

It’s sad when a person is in a room and there is no identifiable thing to talk about.  The first thing is to identify the things that makes you happy.  It could be a chair, a plant, paint color or dishes.  What ever it is and it is now in your room, KEEP them and incorporate them into your change.

So I am going to answer your question, two-fold.  For readers who have already decided what they are going change and….those who are starting from scratch?  Who are asking what’s next?  Some tips, so you are not completely lost.

Amy would love to have a decorator, but she’s on a budget.  It’s great to have a budget and stick to it!  So first, consider the changes to be done to the room as a project; with a name.  Once you consider it a project; it makes it official.  She will take it seriously when shopping and especially when watching those dollars.

  • Take your time to choose your color scheme, choose your paint, floor treatments, fabrics!  Set price points and don’t be afraid to lower your price and ask when the products usually go on sale.   Once you have decided, order everything at once.  Call them all in!  Why?  This forces you to factor in everything, before you make the call.  If it is out of budget, you will get a better idea of what costs should be lowered and rethink.
  • Get professionals!  Get referrals for painters, upholsterer and a licensed electrician.   Ask for references and licenses.  Once the information is provided, do your own homework; before hiring.  Check BBB and
  • Upholstering takes 4 – 6 weeks. DO NOT order too much fabric.  Only order what you need.  Do you know a yard of material is expensive!   I’ll say it again, ONLY ORDER WHAT YOU NEED; ask the ulphoster  the correct yardage measurements.  Define if you want piping, trim and or hems.  It’s important.  If you choose a pattern, you are going to spend more money – to match the material! hat is she talking about?> For example, if you have a stripe pattern.  All the lines are supposed to line up, it takes a lot of material to do that!  The same will be for a pattern; like circles.  So, if you can love a solid material, try it.  But, if you fall in love with a pattern, just remember the yardage will cost you a bit more.
  • New flooring, goes in first.  If it’s putting down a new floor, staining a floor, grouting a floor  or  even cleaning up the surfaces, it should be done before any painting, wall papering,etc.  <except carpet, after painting>
  • For the kitchen, installing of  new cabinets, shelves, etc.  should all be done before any painting.  Once the cabinets are up, then order the appliances, based on the layout.  Heights, widths, flooring and exhausts must be taken in consideration.  Measure, then measure and measure again.  If the appliances are ordered at one time, be sure that the seller gives you a deal.  Save your receipts, for if they are energy-efficient appliances; check for rebates.
  • New light fixtures, they should be hung after you paint!  Sconces,  chandeliers, etc.  If touch-ups are required, it can be done after installation.
  • Then the drapes and window treatments, go up, but measure carefully before purchasing.   Custom costs money, so you can either do two things – buy stock panels in 84″ or 95″ from a department store (e.g. JC Penney).  Or go to your local fabric store, buy the material and make them! (a panel is usually 54″x84″).
  • Add furniture, arrange chairs and the sofa.  If there is a focal point in the room, arrange it around it.   Arrange the furniture as many times you need, until you feel comfortable with the layout.  Sunlight can also affect your layout decision; so look at the arrangement during the day and then at night-time.
  • Lastly, accessorizing the room; this is the fun part.  Isolate the many colors which would work with your color scheme, especially those colors which pop.  The accessories should be of different heights, a mixture and something you feel completes the room.  Personalize with your photos or favorite works of art.

Remember, always get estimates for any project, measure 3x and keep asking questions.  Oh! Don’t be afraid to go over your ideas with friends; include them when shopping; it helps you to not second guess too much!

Be well – Letia



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