Decorating isn’t always easy – in fact, it can be the most stressful part of owning or renting a home. Without a doubt, you’ll spend hours in the hardware store trying to nail down the perfect color paint for the lounge, or hunting for the perfect bathroom tiles. While it’s all very time-consuming, all your effort won’t have gone to waste – it’s all worth it in the end. The perfect home is within your grasp.
In our best effort to take away the strain of decorating, we’ve come up with eight ways to easily improve your home. While you might be doing some of the below already, there’s always something you can improve!
- Light and neutral – that’s what it’s all about
People often peddle the same lines when we talk about keeping a home neutral – that it’s boring. Well in the world of plain colors they come under three categories: passive, active and neutral. Neutral is defined as unbiased, or impartial, and so can be a useful way to improve your home without having to change too much.
Neutral comes in a variety of colors:
Just think of any general earthy tone that goes with anything and you’re on the right road to neutral. Workable as consistent general backgrounds, these tones are incredibly versatile, bending around whatever is the trend of the moment. If you find yourself updating furniture on a bi-yearly basis then neutral is certainly the way to go.
- Pave the way to your home with a great front door
Your front door is the portal to your home. It sets the expectations for guests, who will certainly judge if you have a sloppy entranceway. Of course, the expectations of your guests, family, and friends might not be high up on your list, but every little helps in the long-run – and if that doesn’t convince you, improving your front door will surely add value to your home.
In regard to design, if you’re currently living in a larger, older house then you’ll be better off with a solid oak, cherry, walnut, pine or maple door. There are also loads of soft-wood choices – which look a little more modern – such as western hemlock and pine. Wood is generally the most popular choice for homes.
Then you have Fiberglass-composite doors, which are maintenance free and extremely tough. Mimicking the style of wooden doors, they can be stained in a faux-cherry, oak or walnut design. These look more modern than wooden doors in a sense, but are also more durable and as such come with longer warranties. If you’re looking or a durable door, go for fiberglass.
- Take advantage of the sun
Okay, you can decorate in the sun, but it’s easy to forget the big ball of heat that floats around in the sky will not only make your room feel awesome, but the health benefits it will bring are unparalleled.
The sun is your number one when it comes to natural lighting. To ensure it finds its way into your home we recommend you make the following changes to décor in and around your home:
- Trim down any trees or bushes
- Clean your windows
- Use frosted glass in bathrooms and rooms you want a little more privacy
- Install skylights in loft conversions
- Take advantage of solar tubes
It’s not all about Windows though. You should always remember to open curtains and blinds in the morning, while you can always use mirrors in larger rooms to reflect natural light.
- Use artwork to add character
We’re not saying you should head to the closest gallery and splash a load of cash on Picasso’s greatest works, but scaling artwork will certainly add some much-needed character and class to any room in your house (apart from the bathroom).
Just be careful not to hang artwork to high, or on a slant, as there’s nothing worse than badly placed art. A general rule of thumb is that any art should be placed at eye level – anywhere between 5ft 6 and 5ft 10. Of course, you can’t account for everybody, but work within these parameters and you’ll be fin.
You should always consider the size of the wall you’re operating with. If it’s rather big, consider one large piece, or smaller group of individual pictures. In regards to spacing them out, pictures shouldn’t be separated more than four inches apart.
- Spice up dull rooms with rugs – but make sure you’re using them right
Rugs are often difficult to get right. With the perfect one you’ll finish off any space perfectly – choose a bad one and you’re looking for trouble, making a room feel unfinished and awkward. Rugs can also be very expensive, but there are some very reasonable ones available, so you can play around.
One of the main elements of any good rug is its color. If you’ve already got a specific pattern or theme going on in your living room, then it’s best to stick with it. Remember when we told you to keep things neutral at the beginning of this article – this is why. With a neutral room you can bring in almost any style of rug (mind, apart from something that’s garishly yellow). If you’re looking at introducing a colorful or adventurous rug then we suggest for you to choose your rug first and then buy your furniture later.
Then you need to think about texture. A room with many textures feels layered and warm – perfect for that cozy feeling in the evening. One way to do this is by paying attention to the texture of your rug. Don’t just fall into the trap of buying looped wool. Why not opt for soft velvet, sisal, or pile? Explore your options and find what works for your room.
- Update those outdated finishes instead of replacing
There’s nothing worse than having to replace a whole kitchen or bathroom. It’s expensive, time-consuming and damaging to the family routine. By updating any current furnishing you save time, effort and ultimately money. Take, for example, a classic 1980s chandelier made of brass. A quick coat of satin-nickel or hammered bronze spray paint and you’ve got a whole new light fixture.
You can even update old work surfaces with a lick of pain – even Formica countertops. You’ll find a bunch of counter-coating paints in stores nowadays that can even mimic stone, transforming one of the ugliest parts of 1970s interior design into something somewhat palatable.
It even comes down to the crockery you have displayed. Get rid of mismatched plates, cracked cups and odd bits of cutlery – it’ll make your home look more organized and easier to the eye.
- Jazz up bedrooms with simple touches
Bedrooms are generally lower priority than other rooms in the house due to them being relatively private. While it’s always advised to prioritize your kitchen, lounge, and bathroom before anything else, there’s no excuse in not styling your bedroom once settled.
If you’re looking for some quick fixes you should concentrate on curtains, lampshades, and bedding. The three should match ideally, so if you’ve got your eye on a set of curtains, buy those first and everything else later. Another method of adding a new lease of life to your room is by taking advantage of customizable bedding found at visionbedding.com. It’s a great way of adding your own personal touch without breaking the bank. Otherwise, your lampshade should be neutral, allow light to pass through easily and should match the design of your bedroom.
- Design your rooms logically
Just imagine the perfect office – rows of desks logically aligned, with one corner set for photocopying and another for relaxing. Symmetry and keeping things in order is one of the many ways to make a room relaxing and appealing to the eye. When it comes to your lounge there are two schools of thought to how you should align your furniture: the h-shape and u-shape. Essentially, they describe how you sofa should complement your chairs and so forth.
For example, take the standard lounge with a large sofa, two chairs, and a coffee table. Position the chair horizontally with the coffee table a couple of feet in front; from there you should place a chair on either side of the coffee table, with each chair facing towards the table. This is the u-shaped position.
Then you have the h-shaped position; place your sofa in a vertical position and position your two chairs perpendicularly, six feet apart, facing the sofa and ensure there is a gap of two feet between the two chairs; then place your coffee table in the center of the square that you’ve created. This is the h-shape format, as when it’s looked at from above it forms an ‘H’ shape.
Of course, it all depends on personal preference and how you like to operate your furniture, but by keeping things positioned in a logical and orderly manner, you and your guests will potentially feel more relaxed at home.