Planning and decorating your first home, whether it is a studio apartment, single family unit or town-house, can be both baffling and overwhelming. Your first home is often small and sometimes architecturally deprived. The important thing to remember is that any space can be transformed into your personal and unique space. First time decorators need not despair; just enjoy the adventure.†
Develop a theme
The first thing you want to do when putting your new space together is to decide what's the theme or look for the space. This is as good a time as any to to pull out those old magazine clippings you would have collected a couple of months ago with ideas of your favourite style. Island chic? Sleek and Modern? Traditional? Once you decided on a theme, you could use it in every room of your home to create flow and rhythm to the space, which also makes it seem larger. Remember not every item in a room has to be "matchy matchy". The odd accent piece adds character to your space, and it says something about the personality living there (you); in other words, personalize your space. You should avoid working with too many styles, patterns and colours all at once.
Develop a colour scheme
When deciding on a colour scheme, it is important to note that colour is the strongest element in setting the mood of any room. Is it an accent wall, or are you trying to minimise architectural faults? One of the easiest ways to select a colour scheme is to find a patterned fabric with the chosen colour scheme, or select three or four of your favourite colours and use them throughout the space. For example, if you like blue and white, you can create a living room that features a rich blue accent wall, and add a tint of the said colour or white to the rest of the room. Add blue and white accent pieces†with a pop of red throw cushions for effect and, add drapery panels in a similar colour to the accent wall. In the bedroom, you may want to tone it down by using more of it via the bedspread, drapery and pillows. Your kitchen can also carry the theme, perhaps by using a stripe or check custom shade or valance, and by introducing yellow as an accent colour in the form of a trim or banding on your treatments.
Unless you are filthy rich, your first house or apartment is not going to be a gigantic space. Keep the size of your rooms in mind when shopping for furniture and accessories. Chances are your living room is going to be small to medium. Do not waste space by purchasing a giant-screen TV, or an oversized living room set or ottoman. It will overpower the space, won't leave room for anything else, and will make the space feel crowded. In smaller rooms, one or two small pieces of furniture will work well, like a small sectional or living room set. Seating with a slightly curved design works well in small, boxy apartments and armless versions give a sense of open space. Always measure your door height and width, and in cases where your building has an elevator, check the size to be sure all your furniture will fit.
Even though you are trying to stay within your budget on your first attempt into decorating territory (it is possible), I recommend you find items of quality that are well-made and built to last. Garage sales are a great way to find quality pieces at half the price or less. If you purchase a new but poorly crafted table or upholstered piece just because it comes at a bargain price, it's really no bargain at all. It will show wear early, perhaps lasting only a few years at best, and then you will have to replace it. It's better to purchase a chipped but solid old table, and give it new life through a sanding and wax touch-up, or with a can of paint. A slightly worn cushioned chair can be taken to a professional who can re-upholster it with beautiful fabric you paid practically nothing for-and you will have a lovely, solid, good-as-new chair. If you absolutely must have that expenisve new couch, stay within your budget by purchasing it during a sale. The point is to be creative in your search for well-crafted furniture and accessories.
Make a list and stick to it
It's all too easy to become overwhelmed in the midst of a large store with so much stuff. Chances are you will purchase something you don't want, or decide to wait until later to buy something you saw, only to find it has already been snatched up by another savvy shopper. The trick is simple; make a list of all the items you plan to purchase, accompanied by any important room measurements and size requirements. Carry swatches of any fabrics you have chosen; keep paint colour chips in your hand bag. You never know when you are going to bump into the perfect table, chair or picture, so be prepared and have your lists with you at all times. Refer to your list often to keep you focused on the things you really need.
The 'more-than-one' rule
While you don't want your place to look overdone, cluttered and uncomfortable, certain accecssories have more decorative power when used in quantities. For instance, instead of one bookcase, arrange three small ones together against a wall for the look of a ready-made wall unit. Hanging a series of six or eight framed prints in paired rows makes for dramatic impact. Two identical potted floor plants on either side of your entry-way looks orderly and well planned. Four plush pillows on your bed appear more inviting than two thin ones.†
I hope the above tips have fired up your creative energies to transform your new homes. Should you need professional assistance, please do not hesitate to call us..................Enjoy!
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