Flick through the pages of any glossy interiors magazine and you’ll be bombarded with images of immaculately decorated room after immaculately decorated room. They can make decorating a house seem easy and effortless, but when you have to undertake your own project, things can get decidedly less simple. From styles to colours, furniture, accessories and lighting, what started out as a straightforward scheme can rapidly become very complicated—and expensive. To avoid this, read Inside Out’s guide to decoration planning and budgeting for your dream interior.
Don’t wing it
Diving into a decorating project without planning is a recipe for failure. Instead, start making lists. Write down all the things you currently own, all the items you need and a wish list of what you’d love to own in the future. Once you’ve done that, you can start budgeting.
Stick to the budget
It’s obvious advice, but it’s easy to get over excited and spend money you don’t have. Shop around for deals and don’t let a sales person in a showroom pressure you into spending money you don’t have. Make sure you invest in the right items. Spending more money makes sense for key pieces like a sofa or bed—save your cost cutting for accessories. A cheap lamp or vase will go unnoticed if the main components of your room are good quality.
See also: Tips to Improve your Home on a Budget
Measure, measure, measure
Make sure you measure the dimensions of your rooms, hallways and doors, before buying furniture. What looks good in a large showroom may not translate to a cosy living room—or even fit inside it! Better yet, sketch out a floor plan so you can work out what will fit where.
Break it down
Unless you’re an experienced professional, most of us will find it difficult to plan an all-encompassing transformation of a home. It makes more sense to break down the project into smaller parts, taking it room by room. That way, if the whole house is a mess then at least you’ll have one finished room that you can retreat to.
Decide what you like
Scouring magazines, websites (and nosily exploring your friend’s houses) is par for the course when planning, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by ideas. Save all your favourite ideas in a scrap book (or embrace Pinterest) and once you’ve collected enough images sit down and compare them. Identifying the common denominators of what you like in terms of colours, materials and styles will help you form a vision for your home.
Be prepared to compromise
If you want to stay within your budget you will (unless your budget is astronomical) have to compromise. High-end materials don’t just cost more, they often have expensive postal costs, and bigger installation fees. Make sure you carefully cost all the materials that you would like to use in your project.
Decorating: the dos and don’ts
Do avoid white
If you have children or pets, white carpets or upholstery are not your friends. Also, make sure you test all the fabrics you want to use for durability when it comes to staining and wear and tear.
Do test your colours properly
When testing paint colours paint big patches on the wall, so you can really see if the colour suits the room.
Don’t rely too much on symmetry
It can make a room feel static. Asymmetry adds visual interest to a space. The same goes for matching colours and styles. Anything too ‘matchy matchy’ will make a room look like a catalogue. Blend different hues, styles and materials together.
Don’t go overboard with pillows
If you have to spend 15 minutes every night putting away pillows before you go to bed then you’ve gone too far.
See also: Which Wood is Best for your Home?