Folk is said to be the hottest style for 2009 so forget about the winter chills and start preparing for summer right now with these fresh, floaty and bright ideas for folk decorating.
Chances are the walls of your home are a neutral white or cream color, and this is the best possible base for folk decorating. This is because folk decorating is all about natural products and traditional designs, which are reinterpreted for modern living. These traditional floral fabrics and handmade items are then the stars of the show against their white backdrop.
And there is no need to clear out your whole home to begin again from scratch with this decorating style either. Natural products are a feature of folk decorating and so your wooden dining table and chairs will be right at home, and you can add a calico table runner or paper doilies to bring it in line with the rest of your folk style.
This could be a handmade woollen throw rug draped over the back of your couch, in rich chocolate, red, pink, blue and green colors to pick up the pastel tones of the floral fabrics you have hung from the windows, and the cottage flowers you are displaying in a simple glass vase.
The feel for folk decorating is very bohemian and relaxed, so don’t stress out about matching your designs and colors. Simply have a look through op shops for colored ceramic plates and bowls, and select brightly colored and patterned throw cushions to liven up your couch.
If you are still living in the family home, you may not technically still be ‘living at home’ you may be renting the house you grew up in because your parents have kept it as an investment property when they upgraded homes, or you may be renting your grandparent’s place for the same reason.
Regardless you want to make the space your own, rather than feeling like you really are still ‘living at home’ in the worse sense of the phrase. Well the simplest start you can make on making your home your own is to move the furniture around. Your home may be furnished with your parent’s furniture, your own pieces or a mix of both, but now is the time to move that buffet which you always told your mother would look better under the window, as well as add in fabrics and colors which suit your personal style.
An almost equally affordable way to change the look of your home is to repaint, and make sure you commit to one color for each room as this will give you a lot more furniture placement and decoration options than designating one ‘feature’ wall. While you may still have to check with your ‘landlords’ with regards to your paint color choices, a dramatic difference can still be achieved with only a subtle color change.
Now you can change the purpose of the rooms. Maybe there is a better view from the study so why not make that your new bedroom? Or perhaps you’d rather turn the formal dining room – who uses that?! – into a home office.
There is often a generic belief in decorating that to make a space look bigger you should paint it white. However, while an entirely white house or individual room will look lighter, it will also be very boring. While white may seem like the perfect base for any color of furniture, wall art and flooring you can think of, it can harshly reflect these color choices and show them off in stark relief against their pale backwash.
However, instead of choosing a shade of white, cream or off white, take the opportunity if you are decorating a small space to use color to its full advantage. Nothing is really going to make your postage stamp of a living room appear to be the size of a cinema theatre, so make the space interesting instead.
Take a chance and use color where you wouldn’t normally, paint the whole room a single bold color, instead of committing to only one wall. If you’re not sure that bold colors are really you, then choose a more subtle color like a pale blue or soft green which still give a feeling of airiness – which is what you would have been going for with the white – but also bring with them atmosphere and personality.
However, a small space will still feel dank and imposing if you have poor lighting. While you may not be able to replace the strip of fluorescent lighting due to budget or renting restraints, just don’t use it. Instead light up the areas you really want to see and add warm table lamps to create reading nooks or place a floor lamp behind your sofa where it won’t take up extra space, nor will it create annoying overhead reflections on the TV.
If you are renovating or redecorating your home, then now is the time to create more wall storage. But don’t think that storage is only about functionality because your storage can be just as artful as the rest of your home.
Now you already know that effective storage is important to allow the artistic and creative elements of your home decoration shine through. So if possible build storage in everywhere, in every room and make it floor to ceiling, and wall to wall. This will give everything a neater and more streamlined appearance, and allow you to show off only what you want to, and hide away everything else.
Another storage trick when decorating is to suspend as many of your storage solutions as possible because if you can see the floor, the space appears larger. For example, attach a suspended storage unit along one wall of your dining room, at waist height, which can act as a buffet. You can even choose a storage system with glass doors to show off all of your best crockery and glassware subtly, as it is out of direct lines of sight.
Open shelving is also very chic when you are looking to redecorate and best of all, it’s cheap! This means you can make a feature out of just about anything if it’s carefully arranged. Add a skinny, free standing shelving system in the bathroom which is the same height as the basin to store your towels. They already match the room and this frees up precious space in your linen press.
There are some truly terrible rental apartments out there and you could be stuck with any combination of orange kitchen benches, brown carpets and cupboards, carved wooden shelving, not to mention smoke stains from when no one though twice about lighting up inside. And if you’re really unlucky you’re stuck with all of the above!
But don’t worry because we have a bit of decorating advice to get you through the rest of the term of your lease. Firstly think plain and simple decorating choices. There is probably already enough dramatic color choices in your apartment, so don’t just go and add the colors which appeal to you, without regard for what’s already there.
This means choosing plain floor rugs for example, and the biggest you can find to cover as much carpet as possible. Also choose plain colored, sheer curtains to let in as much light as possible to counteract the dark colors of the house. However, just because your curtains are sheer, doesn’t mean they can’t be a tasteful cream, gold or silver color to add a little style.
Still making over the curtains, if your horrid 1970s kitchen has a curtained pelmet over the window, you can change this fabric too. Match it to the color of your other curtains to ensure the change looks deliberate.
Most importantly though, give the whole place a good scrub. Smoke stains and alike should come off of the walls, and you may be surprised to find that the tiles in the kitchen are actually white not the brown you thought they were when you moved in.
When you are throwing a party or hosting a celebration at your place you want to set the right mood for the event so that it really does feel exciting. However, at the same time you don’t want your house to look as though a party supplies truck has crashed into it, as your home and your life there has its own style already and you can make the most of that when you host a party, rather than just covering every surface with balloons and glitter.
Plus your house is already full of furniture and accessories too, so when you add in a lot of party decorations you lose a lot of entertaining space. Instead, why not consider simply enhancing what you already have. For example, why not string fairy lights across your ceiling to create a lighted pathway from the front door, but from above – it doesn’t take up any space at all but adds perfect mood lighting.
And why not decorate with streamers instead of balloons as they too take up much less space and can be a lot classier. Why not suspend a row of streamers from the underside of your kitchen’s breakfast bar, and hang a matching row of streamers across doorways or windows for a fluttery and fun display.
And don’t forget that most events have built in decorations. A birthday celebration will undoubtedly have an intricately decorated cake, while at Christmas time, you often don’t need much more decoration than a fully laden Christmas tree.
If you are looking to furnish a newly decorated room then you are probably wondering how you can get away with buying everything you need, when you should be considering saving more and spending less.
Well the solution is actually that you don’t really need all of the furniture you think you do anyway. Whether your space is big or small – but particularly if it is small – do not simply buy furniture to fill the space, it has to have a purpose. That may sound obvious but there are plenty of large lamps and funky footstools out there which you can do without, making way for a more spacious living area.
For example, don’t go stocking up on coffee tables, instead choose several side tables which can slide subtly next to the sofa when not in use, allowing for more space in front of the couch. You can even choose side tables which can act as stools when you need more seating.
A trick with your sofa is to look for one with legs will make it seem as though you have more floor area, and choosing a low line sofa will make the entire room seem larger. And with all of this money you have saved on not adding furniture you don’t need, enhance the space further by cleverly using mirrors. For example, mirror the wall behind your bed as a bed head is another piece of furniture you can pass on. This opens up the entire room because a mirror running the width of a double, queen or even king sized bed creates a lot of reflective space and light, without taking up any space of its own.
When it comes to refreshing the furniture in your home, there are two main ways you can go about it. The path you take depends on your budget, how much time you spend at home, and how much of an impact you want to make – on your decorating style, on your visitors and on the planet itself.
If you are on a budget, or living in a small place, your first home or a rented apartment, or are simply not motivated by keeping up with the Jones’ then you may choose the first option. In this case look for second hand furniture to give your home its own unique style. You may have to do some searching but a funky and affordable second hand piece of furniture is worth the effort.
You can also take the time to fix up broken furniture items you already have, instead of immediately replacing them when they get a bit worn – a new sofa cover, a few stitches in a drooping curtain or quick sand and polish for the table are easy refreshments.
But if you have a brand new house, a new job ($$) or you simply want your family to have the best then you fall into the second category and your refreshing furniture options are therefore almost endless. For example, if you invest in just a few solid pieces of furniture for your home you will be able to easily set your decorating tone and style, not to mention you have started a furniture collection whose quality you know will last.
There are also very stylish sofas available with removable covers so that with the change of the seasons you can change the whole look of your home, because you’ve invested in good quality furniture to begin with.
It may not necessarily have been something which your mother could have taught you – she going straight from her parent’s place, into married life. However, with more time, money and freedom on your side you have the opportunity to make the most of your time as a bachelorette and decorate your home accordingly.
But as we’ve pointed out, you’re treading new water in this area, show how exactly do you decorate a bachelorette pad? Any way you like! That’s right, regardless of the size of your flat, home, apartment, loft, it is your space to decorate as you like, the most important thing is to make it chic and stylish, but comfortable and homey.
Since you are paying the rent or mortgage on your own, your bachelorette pad may be on the small side, but make up for that by filling it with big style – this means things like a top of the line hi-fi system, or a sleek and funky TV, which should by the way always be in your living room, TVs in the bedroom should be reserved for married couples.
And make sure you indulge in the decorating accessories you love – if candles are your thing cover every surface, if you prefer flowers place vases everywhere. When it comes to your furniture choices, make sure you choose two matching bed side tables to balance the room, and don’t be afraid to indulge in a king sized bed either.
Your other furniture choices are up to you – if you want to recline on cushions instead of couches then scatter them around your lounge room, if you prefer a vintage theme hang floating sheer curtains instead of boring old blinds.
Probably the biggest tragedy in home decorating is the fact that people either think that it’s too hard to have a stylish designer home, or too expensive. Or both. While it is easy to go out and spend a lot of time and money on expensive items to decorate your home, and even on hiring experts to do the designing for you, the decorating is then not really about you is it?
And that is the most important thing to remember when decorating your home, whether you are choosing wall art or carpet – is it really you? The easiest way to decorate your home in a way which speaks to your true personality is to use things which are already part of your home and your life.
But how do you turn the ordinary pieces of your life into art for your home? You turn them into vignettes, that’s how. Vignettes are little collections of objects, clustered together to make an eye catching display. The best thing is a vignette can be made up of just about anything and each item can tell its own story, as well as contribute to the tale of the other objects too.
You may choose to display objects all of a certain colour, with a splash of a contrasting colour in your favourite piece of the display. Or you may decide to create a vignette which tells a story, for example a collection of sea shells from a recent beach holiday, or souvenirs from a memorable overseas trip.