Monday, July 19, 2010

Transform a Room with Wallpaper - Don't be Afraid to Ask for Advice

Wallpaper can completely transform a room.

I recently visited a friend who had purchased an older home that had been renovated and painted throughout. It looked clean and crisp, but it lacked something. My friend got to work and "went to town" with wallpaper.

What a transformation. It reinforces my ideas on using pattern, texture and color. The rooms all took on a look or theme, the pattern gave the room depth and provided movement for the eye. New curtains were also added and highlighted the wallpaper.

She was stuck with one problem though, her existing sofa just didn't work in her new look living room. It was mustard yellow with rust and blue motifs. The fantastic wallpaper was colored red rust with a large silver vine type design. The curtains were silver, and there was a silver mirror over the fireplace. The wallpaper was used as a feature wall and when walking into the room it looked fantastic, but the room did not look right to her eye. (This is why she asked my advice, because she though it was the curtains, and said it was an expensive mistake, she would have to get new ones.)

I turned and looked around the room and instantly I felt uncomfortable, the room did not work as she had suggested, but the problem was not the curtains, it was the lack of balance in the room. She had placed all the color in one place. There was no sign of the red of the wallpaper anywhere else, it was left out floating in the room. So if you have done one of my ecourses, you can now guess my advice. I told her to place some red and silver around the room, especially on the sofa. Perhaps some cushions and a throw, with a red chair in the corner, a painting with red in it on the opposite wall, some silver candles on the coffee table. Spreading the color around subtly will then balance it and make the room feel more harmonious. It will make the sofa appear to disappear, and an area rug on the floor will ground the scheme and then the transformation is complete!

I think one of the hardest things when you tackle home decoration yourself is that when you finish you often feel disappointed with the outcome, then you don't know how to fix it. I see this time and time again, and like my friend, most of the time it is simple to fix, but that's because I have experience in this field and she has experience at other things. So she did the right thing, before tearing down the curtains which was her first instinct, she took advice from a professional. Now she knows, that she go it 95% right, a few little extra accessories and the job is finished! So don't be afraid to ask for advice if you don't have experience, paying for a designer or decorator for an hour of their time, will be a lot cheaper than living with a design that is not quite right, or trying to make drastic changes that cost you money.

Even if you are a designer or decorator, there are often times when you can't quite find the right answer, don't be afraid to ask a colleague for advice, the answer can often be right under your nose!

Oh, and sorry, I know this would have looked better if I had a photo, I forgot to take my camera!

For more information on types of wallpaper

For information on feature walls with wallpaper

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Accessories - The Key to Good Design

Accessories are the key to good design. Why? Because they are often the focal points of a room or what people's eyes first focus on in when entering a room. But who chooses them?

Interior decorating can be overlooked as a skill. Interior designers get precious about creating spaces, Architects about creating form and function. All of these features are vital with any interior, but there is still the finishing touches skill that is the icing on the cake of these designs, and the ability to do this with expertise requires enormous talent.

There is a lot of banter about in the design industry about qualifications, industry standards, and people passing themselves off as designers when they aren't. It is very difficult when a lot of countries don't have the design industry regulated. It can be frustrating for qualified individuals to compete in an industry with others passing themselves as something they are not. The only way to look at this without getting all puffed up about it is that they will not be able to complete the same standard of work as they don't have the required skills. So at the end of the day if they start a project that is to big for them, they will probably have to employ a qualified person to facilitae it and manage what they do have the skills in. There is only so much you can bluff your way through!

I also want to stick up for the interior decorators because I think they definately have their place in the design world. It is just as difficult for them, trying to earn a living in today's economic climate as it is for an interior designer or architect. I think if all three professions could work together at a task, then the end result would be fantastic. You would get the entire project complete with accessories!  Let's face it, interior designers have to know about so many trades, building codes, local body codes, industry codes etc when putting together documentation, that by the time it comes to the decorating, their brain has gone to mush and the creativity dried up, but if you now let the interior decorator take over the finishing touches with fresh eyes and burning passion for the fine detail, I think that those accessories will be the cherry on top of the project that we all desire!

I say this from experience, the building industry in New Zealand now has so much bureaucracy, that I feel by the time I have waded through all the paperwork to get a project underway, I have no energy left for the creative decorative side of the project. I would be more than happy to work alongside a passionate interior decorator to get the project finished.

The point I am really trying to get across is that we all have our own skills, we should by now know our strengths and weaknesses, know our abilities in the real world, and be willing to work within those boundaries, and be happy using other consultants to cover things that you either don't have the skills to do or don't have the energy!

Have fun out there!

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