Design Lesson

Design Lesson: How to go all the way

Design Lesson: How to go all the way Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson

Design Lesson: How to go all the way

You study the pages of STYLE AT HOME, visit home shows and listen intently to television experts. You're ready. You're motivated. You even have the money saved. But like a diet that begins with enthusiasm and ends with "Oh, what’s the use?" often our decorating goals don't come to fruition because we run out of steam. Experts (well, only me really) call this "decoratus interruptus," or DI. It strikes randomly, and it can leave you wallowing in self-doubt. But by following the turnkey approach professional designers employ, it's possible to win the battle against DI. Start with the finish in mind; just as an athlete visualizes a win before a race, you need to envision your dream space from the outset. Here's a game plan that works:

1 Create a floor plan that shows an ideal furniture layout with exact sizes. That’s the only way to determine what pieces you need.

2 Have a lighting plan. Identify where you require table and floor lamps. Decide where decorative lighting like sconces and chandeliers should be placed.

3 Develop a colour and style scheme. One of my clients asked for a dramatic and neutral scheme that incorporated the table and chairs they owned. By creating a high-contrast environment (stone wall colour and black furniture) and adding oversize accessories, we were able to give them the drama they craved.

4 Select all carpets, and fabrics for drapery treatments and major items of furniture. Gather samples and swatches from each store and put them together in front of you. Consider the flow factor: Is anything jarring or weak? If so, make a switch. Get it right on paper so that it will be perfect in reality.

5 Request written estimates from all stores and suppliers. Confirm that there are sufficient funds in your budget. If not, scale back where you must. Allow an additional 20 to 30% for styling items like throws, vases, picture frames and lamps. These are the pieces that will give your room its finished appearance.

6 Keep your focus, right down to the finishing touches. By this stage in the planning, you've chosen approximately 80% of the elements you require to create a finished room. Now it’s time to select the remaining 20%: decorative accessories like mirrors, artwork, vases and so on. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we'll shop for these items later, when the room is done. Usually, that's when things start to fall apart and you're at risk of developing DI. Be as discerning when hunting for accessories as you were when deciding on bigger pieces like the sofa or chairs.

7 Purchase everything simultaneously. If you buy the living room sofa and then wait six months before shopping for the chairs, you'll already be dissatisfied with the sofa because it sat in a room that wasn’t prepared for it.

8 Hold off on delivery. Delay the receipt of your new furnishings until all electrical work, painting and wallpapering are done and carpeting is installed. Hang your window coverings just prior to furniture delivery.

9 Arrange for all furniture and accessories to arrive at your home the same day. Hire a moving company to pick up from each store the night before and deliver to you in the morning. You'll need a day to install even a single room, so start fresh. Experienced movers will place everything for you, including accessories.

10 Hang the mirrors and artwork in the afternoon, following furniture placement. For a mirror as large and heavy as the one shown in the dining room above, it's best to hire a professional installer.

11 Try to reserve final judgment on the room until every single chair, lamp and vase is in place. Often homeowners panic because something looks too big or too small; however, when viewed within the context of the room as a whole, the piece usually ends up being just right.
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Design Lesson

Design Lesson: How to go all the way