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THE NEW YEAR is dawning and you
may be planning to renew your décor and
you do not know where to start. Here are
a few tips to make the process simpler
and increase your chances for success.
Yes. You read that right. Ask yourself
what you want to achieve in the space.
How do you want the space to look?
How do you want it to feel? Who will be
using the room? How will the room be
used? What is you decorating style?
What style of rooms appeals to you
most? What styles of room or furnish-
ings or accessories you absolutely hate?
Now WRITE IT ALL DOWN. This
process will assist you in clarifying what
you really want to achieve. It is critical
that you BE HONEST TO YOURSELF. If
you lie to yourself and look for what you
think the Joneses want to see or what
some decorating magazine say is trendy,
the room will not be yours. You must
know what you absolutely adore. Not
necessarily what things, but what look.
How do you want to feel in the space?
Take some time to write a few words
(three to five will do) that describe your
Examine the space
What is this room meant to be? An eat-
in kitchen for three children and two
adults? A master bedroom spa--like re-
treat? A man cave? A worship room? Do
an inventory of the space. What furni-
ture and accessories are in the room?
What are the predominant colours?
What is the condition of the items? How
do you feel about the items? What is re-
quired to make this room both functional
and stylish? Be clear about it and write it
Measure your space and furnishings.
Register the location and size of win-
dows, doors, switches, electrical outlets
and built-ins. Does your room work for
you? What about the traffic flow? Are
the furnishings well positioned, well pro-
portioned and in scale with the room?
Examine the wall art; is it appropriate for
the function, is it to scale, is it positioned
appropriately? What about rugs; do you
have any, and if you do, is it large
enough? Does the space transition well
from adjacent rooms/spaces?
What can be done to improve the flow,
function and aesthetics? Ensure that the
space functions as it is intended. Form
should follow function. Your bedroom
should be relaxing, your living room suit-
able for entertaining and your family
room a perfect hangout for all. If you hold
large parties, do not try to have seating
for all guests every day. Instead have
enough your everyday needs and use
multipurpose furniture to reduce the
number of pieces in the room. For in-
stance, an ottoman can be used for stor-
age, a footrest, for a coffee or end table.
Traffic flow should not be impeded by
furniture placement. Establish your focal
Find your inspiration
Take photos, read magazines, browse
the Internet. This is not about what all
the design gurus or your friends say. This
is your say. Begin a scrapbook, virtual or
actual, with notes about what you love
or dislike. Discover your decorating style.
Explore the colour palettes you prefer.
Ensure you get to your personal aes-
thetic --- not fad or what is popular or de-
termined as appropriate by anyone else.
If your space is being shared by others,
take their design style into consideration.
Make a list of your needs first and
Determine what you already own and
can be reused, repurposed or renewed.
De-clutter the space and purge or donate
anything that does not fit into your plan.
Prioritise and establish a schedule of all
the services and works needed. Pay at-
tention to the required sequence of
things. For instance, window treatments
will be installed after painting but most
likely ordered well before.
Establish a budget
Many of us have some limit in our minds
as to what we are willing to spend on an
item or service. Establish what you are
willing to spend for every item you would
have deemed important in the stages
preceding. You can have a unique, beau-
tiful décor at any budget point.
Time to Shop
Variables like product availability, con-
tractor availability and unforeseen condi-
tions can compromise the budget and
project. But your budget and schedule
roadmap and your design plans should
keep you on track. They will act almost
like your decorating manifesto --- what
you plan to do, how you plan to do it,
when you plan to do it and why. Some-
times you may be required to substitute
because of availability or budget. Be
guided by your style, function and inspi-
| INTERIORS |
By Ann Moore-Spencer
'Successful design emanates a feeling, not just a look. Nuance is employed to fine-tune
the whole to the personality of the individual. In the best instances, the effect is a mag-
ical aesthetic harmony that is not initially surprising, at least not jolting.'
Barry Darr Dixon
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