Decorating this weekend?
There’s something about the arrival of Spring that turns our thoughts to home and garden. Perhaps it’s more daylight hours, or the prospect of a few days off at Easter. Or maybe it’s the thought we might be able to open a window or door without adding an extra jumper. Whatever it is, our DIY stores and garden centres traditionally experience their highest volume of sales at this time of year.
Whilst everyone loves a surprise bargain, and there will no doubt be plenty on offer, when it comes to shopping for re-decorating or renovating your home, my advice is simple: plan before you buy.
Impulse purchases usually don’t provide the best starting point for a room design. That’s partly because the things we buy on impulse are often not the biggest or most costly items in the room. So we buy a cushion, a rug or an ornament for example, take it home and try to plan a room around it. Or – worst of all – we buy paint on offer, which looks like a nice colour in the DIY store, and then try matching everything else to it. Why’s that so bad? Well paint is probably the cheapest part of most rooms, the easiest to change, and has the widest range of colours imaginable. That’s why it’s far easier to pick a paint colour to go with a sofa or curtains, than the other way round.
So here are my tips for planning your room like a professional:
- Work out what exactly you want to have in the room when it’s done – what are you keeping, what do you want to replace? It doesn’t matter if you’re not doing it all in one go.
- Work out your budget. I always advise clients to set a budget no matter how much or little they have to spend. Asking ‘how much will a new living room / bedroom / kitchen cost me’ is the wrong question. Ask yourself instead ‘how much am I prepared to spend?’
- Itemise what you’re likely to spend – including labour where needed. If the numbers add up to more than you hoped decide where you can save and where you should spend. Prioritise comfort and durability – buying the cheapest sofa or bed for example may prove false economy if it’s really uncomfortable or just doesn’t last.
- Decide on an overall colour scheme. You should choose colour because you love it, not just because it’s ‘on trend’ (the trend will have changed in 6 months anyway). That said, if you’re shopping on the high street on a tight budget, it will be far easier to find what’s currently in fashion, and you may have to work a little harder if your chosen colours are not ‘in’ at the moment.
- Plan the order of the work. Don’t forget that re-decorating is the perfect time to think about whether you need extra lights, sockets or items like radiators moved.
With a little forward thinking, you’ll soon have a beautiful new room. Best of all, instead of it sitting half done for months (or longer) – because you have a plan you’ll know that it will get finished!