A new home is a blank canvas – full of promise, potential and possibilities. During the years when I was a young renter saving for my first apartment, I would spend hours poring over books and magazine, collecting ideas to make my future house, the perfect home.
When the day finally arrived and the settlement was fast approaching, all my wonderful musings coalesced – the time had arrived to put dreams into action. Armed with magazine clippings, colour swatches and enthusiasm, I began to build my dream interior.
In a perfect world, decorating would begin prior to filling a house with furniture, pictures and personal items, before the clutter and mayhem of life takes over. Having free access to windows, walls and floors gives you the space and freedom to theme your home from the front door to the back laundry.
Begin as the professionals do; with a colour board. This is the planning phase for gathering and matching paint sample cards, selecting luxurious curtain fabric swatches and complementary flooring ideas, to build the ‘story’ of how the finished product will look. Include ideas on wall art and consider the light in each room; both natural and artificial.
Work with the style and architecture of the home. Trying to make it something it is not, can result in a ‘dated’ look. An example of this may be the overuse of Victorian decor within a contemporary design.
Eyes to the world
If you are moving into a new home, it is advisable to begin you transformation with window treatments. Why? Because an empty house can be an invitation to vandals. Aside from privacy considerations, you don’t want any personal items on display from the street!
Once your colour scheme and style has been settled, decide the type of window treatments you will be requiring for each room:
- Classic swag curtains
- Roman blinds
- Pinch-pleat or rod and pocket
Unique homes begin with personalised window treatments with quality curtain fabric and plenty of it! Statement prints and textiles spell luxury. Build a theme throughout the home, complementing blinds in bathrooms and kitchens with opulent curtains and drapes in living and sleep zones.
Most new homes can be described as stark. Whether you live in Buckingham Palace or a caravan, a room is simply four walls. It is what you do within those walls which will dictate the splendour of the home.
Take a holistic approach to the entire home, by choosing paint colours which will blend and complement each other between rooms. Alternatively, select a base colour and use feature walls to highlight each room.
When selecting colours, consider the how the light in each room will affect the final result:
- Fluorescent light gives off a blue tone, which can make a room look cold
- Incandescent bulbs give off a yellow glow – making warmer colours more intense but causing cooler tones like blues and greens to become dulled
- Halogen bulbs mostly give off white light but can have a slight cooling effect on colours.
Nothing compares to wallpaper’s ability to create a stunning focal point or feature wall. There is a wallpaper to suit every taste – cityscapes, the vintage elegance of art nouveau, eye catching geometric shapes or themed paper to match the use of a room – there is no limit to its power to add energy and vitality to a space.
Wallpaper is the ultimate vehicle for imprinting a personal stamp, whether in a child’s bedroom, family room or simply to delineate zones. Far more adaptable than in the past, contemporary examples can be used to create an array of effects including:
- Wainscoting and panelling
- Feature walls
- Textured effects
There is nothing so alluring on a floor as natural timber. Unfortunately for most people, the cost is prohibitive. However, a concession is that there are alternatives ranging in quality from vinyl and laminate floating floors, wood veneer, engineered wood, bamboo and cork through to the luxury of hardwoods like Oak, Maple and Cherry.
Laminate flooring provides a wonderful opportunity to truly personalise your floors. By using simulated photographic images of wood, stone or other material sealed to the top of laminate, it provides a similar effect for a fraction of the cost.
Adding personality to a home is simple; cater to your own tastes. It is not up to me to tell you what that looks like. Dress your home with the unique belongings that you have collected along life’s journey – the photos, memories and ephemera which have made you the person you are today.
Personal style is something that no TV show or home decorator guide can provide. It is also the single piece of the decor puzzle which no-one else can copy or replicate and which will make a new home uniquely your own.