I’m going to share with you an insider secret to decorating. For everyone out there who is a DIY-er and not planning on hiring a decorator anytime soon, this secret will help you work your way through a remodel the same way the pros do.
Have you ever backed yourself into a corner while decorating a room? Not literally, although that’s happened to me a time or two either with tiling or painting. I mean, have you ever picked a color you love, added some furniture and accents, then found that nothing really “works” together?
That’s because you broke the cardinal rule of decoration. There is an order to picking out the pieces you’ll use to decorate a room. Generally speaking, you want to pick the most distinctive and (hardest to find) pieces first.
Here’s how most of my clients want to approach a redecorating project:
- Wall Color
I’m here to tell you this is exactly the wrong way to go about it! There are about a million colors available to paint your walls. Let that be the last thing you do. I know it’s tempting to see a picture on Pinterest or visit a friend’s house, and want to run home and put their lovely wall color on your own walls. But unless you plan on using all the same pieces of art and furniture that they do (which, let’s face it, seems a bit stalker-y) then you’ll end up in trouble trying to match your stuff to your fabulous new wall color.
Instead, focus on finding that one piece that really speaks to you. Maybe it’s the colors, or the way it makes you feel, or the memories attached to it. Once you have this irreplaceable item in mind, then you can pick every other ingredient of the room based on how well it goes with your beloved piece.
That’s where we get into decorating with art. Art can be anything you want it to be. Your Great Aunt Matilda’s quilt hung on the wall. An African mask collection. A painting done by your kindergartner (like in my living room). Or a great piece that you bought at auction that one time you were travelling by train along the coast in Amalfi. Oh wait, that was a daydream. Anyway, pick your art first and everything else will fall into place.
To illustrate this concept (pardon the pun), I’ve chosen an art piece and decorated a whole room around it. This is a piece from the paintings section of Invaluable.com, an online auction house and great source for all kinds of art. It spoke to me because it’s different from the colorful pieces I usually gravitate towards. I thought it might make for an interesting decorating challenge.
From this one piece, I then went on to find a rug (usually the next hardest thing to find), curtains, then furniture pieces, then a few fun accessories.
Finally it’s time for the wall color. Since the room is so monochromatic, I decided to go for something with a little more color. This is Guilford Green by Benjamin Moore. It’s green enough to be a color, and gray enough to not overpower the subtle tones of the room.