The key to successful decorating lies not only in the colours or decorating style you choose, but also in the forward planning
Before you start choosing colours and buying furniture, there are a few fundamental issues you need to address, regardless of whether your decorating project is focused on a small space or large, just one room or the whole house. As with all things in life, it’s a matter of first things first.
The first step, of course, is to work out just how much money you have to spend (or are prepared to spend). The next is to add a little extra to account for all those unexpected hitches you will inevitably encounter along the way, such as a hike in the price of paint or an extra day’s wages for the carpenter. To help you come up with a realistic figure, it helps to ask yourself just how long you intend to stay in the house or apartment. If you’re there for the long haul you might decide to go all out, but if that’s not the case, you might elect to spend just as much as it will take to make the place comfortable before the time comes to move on.
If you view your decorating project as a means of adding value to the property, which, if done well, can certainly be the case, always remember that one person’s dream decorating scheme might be another’s nightmare. If you decide to knock down walls or paint the whole place pink, you might actually be doing yourself a disservice because a new owner may expect something off the sale price in order to repair your decorating fancies.
Other basic issues to consider before embarking on your great decorating adventure include: children (are you planning a family or to add to the one you already have, and if so, how will a baby or toddler affect the decorating notions you have in mind); entertaining (will walls, floors and furnishings need to withstand frequent parties); hobbies (is there flexibility in your new scheme to allow different family members to undertake different hobbies in the same space); storage (is there enough space allocated to stow everything that you’ve got and are likely to accumulate); and daily routine (will your decorating plans facilitate ease of movement around the home and encourage social interaction between family members).
After examining these questions it is time to get down to the key decorating issues of selecting a style which you can work towards, choosing colours and patterns to suit, and working out how you can integrate existing items (like favourite art works, lounge suites, built-in fireplaces) into your new décor. Each of these issues is so important and so all-encompassing that we’ve devoted whole chapters to them.
Of course, having ventured this far down the path there are two more ‘back to basics’ issues you really need to deal with before rushing out to the paint shop. First, is your house or apartment structurally sound enough for the decorating plans you have in mind and, second, how can you best realise your decorating dreams within the confines of the existing walls and the given space. If repairs are needed, or structural changes likely, these need to be dealt with before the decorating begins.