Sunday, January 26, 2014

5 Tips for Decorating a Blank Slate

Working with a blank slate can be fun, but daunting! Getting started is usually the hardest part. With a little inspiration from artwork, fabric, paint color, or a piece of furniture, a great space can be created. Here are a few tips that always help me out when I am designing a space.

Neutral paint colors. Photo from

1. Paint: Paint is single-handedly the best and most inexpensive way to freshen up a boring space. When selecting paint I always start at a paint center of some sort, whether it's Lowe's, The Home Depot, or a specialty paint store. Keep in mind color swatches will always look different in the space, therefore you should select several different options and try them out before painting. Test the samples in several different locations around the room and leave them up for a few days to see how light affects the color. When I was choosing paint for my house, I got several samples and the one that looked great in the store ended up looking like a dirty diaper was smeared across my walls! If you are painting several rooms that are adjacent to each other, make sure you select colors that are in the same tonal family to ensure they blend well, same goes for your white or trim color. Paint centers will have whites that correspond to the all the different color families, if you select a cool palette you wouldn't want to chose a white with warm undertones. Lastly make sure you chose the correct sheen. My rule of thumb is that flat paint only goes on the ceiling, high gloss is for trim, woodwork, and bathrooms, and eggshell or satin goes on the walls.

2. Big Impact: Besides paint, woodwork can make a huge impact for not a lot of money and believe it or not you can do it yourself. Unless you live in a super modern space, woodwork is a must! Dress your naked windows with a window sill, and some casing and you will not believe the transformation. Stay tuned and I will show you step by step instructions on how to dress your naked windows.

3. Artwork: I used to be a strong believer that artwork had to match the space, until my sister informed me that artwork is artwork and it will look good no mater what, so don't be afraid to put up your favorite piece. It doesn't have to be expensive, in fact artwork can be anything from found objects to homemade posters. These days my favorite type of artwork comes from my kids and if you frame it correctly it can look like a million bucks! If you are framing a simple black and white image, wrap fabric around the mat to spice it up a bit. I recently framed an old door knocker and used fabric to add a pop of color.

4. Fabric: I think we can all agree that fabric plays a big part in changing a room's feel. The more fabric and textures you have in a space the more interesting it becomes. Have fun with your space and don't be afraid to mix and match patterns. Yes, that means you can mix strips and polka-dots! Switching out pillows can be a great way to add lots of pattern without overwhelming the space.

Don't be afraid to mix and match patterns!

5. Furniture: Before you run out and buy new furniture, look around your house, that old dresser that you thought about tossing out could become the new focal point in your room. With a little elbow grease and a few coats of paint, an old piece of furniture can be revitalized to look new again! When redoing a dresser, for instance, think about ways you can personalize it to the space. If you like the look of the wood but don't want to re-stain the entire thing, paint the bottom white and re-stain the top. By using an accent color to paint the sides of the dresser you can really customize it to your space. This is a great way to add color in an unexpected way and if you ever want to move the dresser into another room all you have to do is re-paint the sides and voila, you have a new dresser that is custom to the space!

Like I said in the beginning, getting started is usually the hardest part, but if you pick one thing and build from there you can create a unique space. Just remember to have fun and be creative, because after all that's what design is all about!

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