Do It Yourself Home Interior Design -- Ten Steps to Success

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Interior design can often be a very daunting task. There are so many things to consider. What colors do I use? How do I place the furniture? What pictures go where? Does this stuff even go together? Is this setup “politically correct”; are my friends going to laugh at this? As you see interior design can be a very confusing and a downright frustrating experience. This is why so many people out there are making a living in the interior decorating field.

Interior designers are rather expensive, and if you’re willing to put in a little time and effort, they are not necessary. If you have the guts it do-it-yourself, I can give you the simple steps to follow for decorating any room, and you will have success!

1. First of all you need a plan. Decorating a room without a plan is like making brownies without a recipe (or a box)! You need to decide what the purpose of the room will be and what kind of mood you want to create. Is your room a cozy, comfortable living room or a sophisticated, formal dining room? Once you decide these basic things, it is time to move on to step two.

2. The next step is planning your budget. By deciding how much you can and are willing to spend on your room upfront, you are sure to not spend more than you intended or leave a room half done. Once you have an overall amount, you need to decide what aspect of the room you want to devote the most towards. Do you need new flooring, or is furniture your main concern? Maybe you are content with your flooring and furniture and just want to focus on walls and accessories. You decide.

3. After determining your budget and deciding what is most important to you, decide on a color scheme and list out what you need. Things to think about are flooring, furniture, paint or wallpaper, linens and drapes, wall coverings (pictures, mirrors, etc.) and accessories (candles, trinkets, plants). After listing out what you need, it’s time to go shopping!

4. Once you have all your necessary products it is time to assemble your room. I always start with my walls first. If you are going to replace your flooring, this is great because you don’t have to worry about dripping paint on anything! If you are not going to be replacing your floors, make sure that you cover them with a painter’s plastic.

You have many options in paint types. The three basic types are, flat, semi-gloss, and glossy. Glossy is the easiest to clean, so that, of course, is what I would recommend. If you like the look of flat paint better, I would go with a semi-gloss because that is still also relatively easy to clean. There are many decorative options you have with paint as well. You can experiment with fuax finishes and painted on boarders and wall scenes.

Another option is wall paper, I would advise against it because it can be costly and it is hard to apply, and even more of a problem to take off. There are so many options with paint, I would stick to that.

5. The next step is to lay your flooring. This can be anything from hardwood floors, tile, linoleum, carpet, or simply a few area rugs.

Hardwood and tile floors can be expensive and hard to install, but there are some alternatives. If you like the look of hardwood, there are many options that you can use besides installing a traditional hardwood. There are many different types of snap together wood floors. These are easy to install and inexpensive.

If you prefer the look of tile, there are now many options in laminate flooring that replicate tile. You can get laminate tiles that look like ceramic for as low as 48 cents a square foot! They are also extremely easy to install. They have an adhesive backing, and are easy to cut and fit in any space.

6. When your walls are dried and your floor is laid, it is time to arrange your furniture. Once again, go back to considering the use of the room. Do you want to open the room up and have a lot of floor space, or do you want to create a close, cozy feel. Place your largest piece of furniture first and then fill in with smaller pieces. Just keep adjusting until you get it right. Don’t be afraid to bring your furniture away from the wall and experiment with different angles. In my experience I’m always remodeling, even if it’s just the same furniture, I like the new feeling.

7. The next layer is your linens and drapes. These could include table clothes, sheets and comforters, or throw blankets and accent pillows, depending on your room. If you have a brightly colored wall or an intricate design on your walls, it is best to stick with neutral colors in basic patterns. If your walls are neutral, then go wild with colors and patterns. It is always nice to use complementary colors, or to pick one bold color and then accent with a softer color. Make sure that you don’t over do it with one pattern. If you want to use a lot of patterned pieces, pick different patterns that are in similar color families.

8. After you have your linens and drapes in place, it is time to place your wall hangings. If you are trying to open up a room and make it appear bigger, use lots of mirrors. This reflects light and gives the illusion of more space. If you have a lot of wall space to cover, it is best to choose a few large pieces and hang them. This keeps your wall space from becoming cluttered, while making sure that they don’t appear bare. Again, you don’t have to stay with traditional pictures. Experiment with hanging different things on your walls; quilts, flags, antique wheels, old license plates, antique signs. Again, be creative! You might be surprised, and if you don’t like something, you can always take it down.

9. You are almost done! It is time to add a few accessories to shelves, tables, and mantle pieces. Simple and inexpensive things are candles and family pictures. Also display collectables and any decorative pieces that you might find. Old books make great additions to shelves and tables!

10. The last step is to add a few plants. If you are not a plant expert, don’t worry. There are a lot of hearty plants out there that don’t require a lot of work. Research how much light and water they need and pick plants that will work for you. If you don’t want the hassle of live plants, there are some very nice looking fake plants you can purchase. These will only require an occasional dusting!

Now that your room is finished, sit back and relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you are still unsure of how to decorate your room, or what to use visit for a more in depth, step by step guide.


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