Decorating & Design - Design Lesson

Design Lesson: How to go all the way

Design expert Kimberley Seldon gives her 11 steps for conquering decorating goals.

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.

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