For the past few months I’ve been working on several decorating projects with both new and previous clients. One of these jobs involved helping a client find new fabric to reupholster her living room furniture. Other clients purchased all new furniture –– their first time doing so in a couple of decades –– along with flooring for a new condo. The third client was a condo developer with a new studio suite that needed to be styled and furnished so potential buyers could visualize how they could live in the 400 sq. ft. space.
The common theme among these clients was a blank space (or fresh palette, in the case of the reupholstering job), and what they needed help with was finding their decorating starting line. Where do you start when you have a whole room that needs to be furnished and decorated? Most people will begin by going to the paint store and looking at paint chips to find their new wall colour, which they feel will help them in choosing their flooring or new furniture. After they have looked at 50 tiny paint samples and painted five or more sample colours on the walls (as in the picture below), they will call a colour consultant such as myself to come to their home because they are unsure which colour would best go with their yet-to-be-selected flooring or sofa or drapes (which usually is the reason why they are changing the wall colour in the first place).
So my question is, why let the paint colour, which will be the least expensive cost of the decorating budget, dictate what the flooring, drapes or sofa fabric colours will be? All of these big ticket décor items are going to have a longer lifetime in your home, which also means that they will more than likely eat up most of the decorating budget. It’s these items that need to be selected first before you dash off to the paint store to pick out possible paint colours.
My guess for why people think choosing a paint colour is the starting point is that the walls are the “outside” of a room. Rationally that’s how we work, from the outside to the inside –– with our dinner forks, our donuts, and our redecorating. But I’m here to tell you that where you should really start is the inside. Your inside…
Tap into your artistic “eye”. That means finding out what decorating styles you are instinctually attracted to. You may not know why you like a particular design, you just feel it. So allow your instincts to guide you. Start by going through décor magazines and tearing out photos of rooms that you’re drawn to, even if you don’t know why; just go with your gut reaction. Make a pile of these photos and when you’re done, go through all of them again. If it helps, circle the items that you really like about a room. You will start to see your design style in the highlighted items.
Now you’re on your way to creating your dream design “visual board”. These photos will also help a design professional or sales associate see what your style is, which in turn will help them serve you more efficiently. You can also do the same thing digitally on websites like Pinterest.
Finally, with your completed visual board, you will have a clearer vision of your design concept, so you can start shopping. You’ll be more focused on what you’re looking for because you’ve already found it in print! There’s less of a chance you’ll be distracted by trendy items that you might see featured in the stores or showrooms when you have a design plan that you really want to follow. You’ve found your starting line, now go get the look you want for your home!
If you are struggling to find your starting line in your decorating project, why not hire a professional?
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A fresh update for a client’s master bedroom.