Where to start?

ann-marie-appletonThe thought of redecorating a home can either fill you with dread or joy depending on your budget or level of confidence.

So where should you start?

Most clients come to us with some sort of ideas already, but it helps to put a plan on paper – this helps focus the mind, creates a wish list and structure for the job in hand, as does keeping a scrapbook or a collection of images.

It helps to try to identify your style if you can, be it classic contemporary, shabby chic, cottagey, traditional, eclectic, Tuscan, Asian, Swedish, or it might be that you are wanting to combine two styles.

Start with what you have – very few clients decorate a room completely from scratch. Most of us have some flooring/furniture/accessories we either have to keep or want to keep and this can be a great time to really consider what you do have and whether you want to make it a focal point or camouflage it.

Some suggestions for key areas:


Break up the bed – superking beds in particular. Put a blanket or a throw at the bottom and decorative cushions/pillows at the top – otherwise it looks like a landing strip in the middle of the room! Consider a custom-made headboard – not only incredibly comfortable, but looks great as well. New bed linen offers an instant uplift.


If a new table and chairs is out of the question, consider either re-staining or polishing a timber table, or have existing chairs reupholstered in a new fabric – maybe new trim or stud work will revitalise them.


If the couch is still in a good condition but looks dated, get it recovered and add some new cushions. Don’t be too ‘matchy matchy’ though – source a couple of good armchairs in differing fabrics. Textured fabrics add much interest to a room as well; think wool, leather, velvet, silk, satin.

Forget about choosing the paint colour first – it’s relatively inexpensive and available in a million and one colours however, it is the quickest way to transform an interior and there are the positive mood enhancing qualities of colour, such as:

Red – warm, strong, stimulating
Blue – positive, calm, reflective
Green – harmonious, nature, balance
Yellow – confident, optimistic, creative.

Consider all the large elements in the room and find colours which co-operate, something which will make everything look better.

It could be a new wall colour to pull everything together for you.

Paint out a large poster board and move it around the room to see how the light affects it. Trust your eyes! If it works for you that’s all there is to it – you should be fine.

If in any doubt, find a good interior designer you think you could work with; they will tell your visual story for you, save you time, money and maybe your sanity!

Ann-Marie Appleton is the director of interior design company Frobisher Interiors. She holds a diploma in interior design and is a member of DINZ.

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