Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •June 4, 2016
There are a few things that really drive decorators and designers crazy. But the good news: the minute we walk into your house, we can spot them and help you correct them quickly. Today, I am sharing my short list with you and guess what? Many of these can be corrected before you finish reading this article and you don’t even have to get in your car to drive up and down 41 looking for more “stuff” to bring into your house!
So, if you’re happy with your home sweet home but it doesn’t seem quite right, read on and maybe the one little tweak that you need is listed below.
Be realistic about a budget.
I've never been into a client’s home that I couldn’t improve. As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I have seen it all. Realistic budget. No budget. Tiny budget. I base my decorating on affordable solutions for home décor and I’ve had lots of practice of making a home look great without wrecking your finances.
It’s important to keep in mind that reality home shows are not a home interior professional’s friend. They give the impression that a designing couple can breeze through your home, redo it from the inside to the outside, all for a song. Quick, beautiful, cheap, fast. It’s just not so and what they do not include are the behind the scene costs and a realistic, honest budget.
So having said that, whatever your budget, be realistic and honest with yourself. A lot of my tips below are free or require little $$. Others may be something to work toward (phase two, as I say!). The more realistic you are, the happier you will be with your home.
No plan? Then it doesn’t matter where you are going.
Now that you have a budget nailed down, take some time to get your thoughts organized and develop a plan. This is key to a happy outcome. What are the priorities? What can you do without spending a lot? Do you need a total redo or will a good design plan help to sort out where to begin? Do you need the professional help of a designer or can you do it yourself with a plan? No plan? The result will be a house filled with rooms that all have a different look.
Please: Say goodbye to these. Now.
Refrigerator magnets. Fake flowers. A lot of junk on top of kitchen cabinets. Enough said about this.
Pull furniture away from the walls.
Get rid of the uncomfortable conversation area and create some space. A U-shaped arrangement is best. Sofa and two chairs or two sofas. We realize the sized of the space dictates placement. Give it a fresh look.
Declutter. Declutter. Declutter.
I know, I talk about this all the time. But you have to do it over and over. Things have a way of accumulating when you aren’t looking. And without this key element, you may as well not try to make a change. You will just be rearranging the clutter.
Create a palette: don’t just throw color around.
If you get the color palette right, everything else falls into place. This is my most popular service and the one that homeowners have the most difficulty establishing. And here’s why: it’s not all about putting paint on the wall. It is about creating a color scheme for the entire home and carrying the color throughout in fabric, accessories, window treatments, pillows, etc. This is definitely the tricky part of decorating. The fun part and the most important after your budget and your plan. So spend some time on this one.
Decorating: it’s all about you.
It’s not about your neighbors, your relatives who come to visit each year, your bridge club or a friend who has a daughter who is a decorator in another state. We hear these sources of input all the time! Filter out the noise and keep in mind this is your home and your opinion is the only one that counts.
Curate your own art gallery.
Take a fresh look at your art work. I like to select a space on a wall and make it look like a museum gallery. Place everything on the floor. With painter’s tape, mark off the area you wish to cover on the wall. The best height for your key pieces: eye level. This is usually 57-58 inches from the floor. Once you have the arrangement, you are ready to create your gallery.
Paint your entry door on both sides.
If you don’t have the time or budget for anything else, give your home a lift and do this one. And here is a tip: paint both sides of the door for a professional design look. My advice: if you love a color but are afraid that it just will not work in your home, use it on the door.
Don’t fear wall coverings!
For a long time, we focused on paint and textures for walls. It seems that wallpaper (as it was called) went by the wayside. But it’s back and it’s fabulous. Textures, sheens, feathers. Take a fresh look and at least try it for a powder room or an accent wall.
Don’t love it? Paint it or pass it on.
Have an antique that you no longer love? Like an armoire or chest? Paint it! What good is it if you no longer want it in your home? Our tastes all change and color can change everything. Otherwise, pass it on and let someone else love it.
Think about white.
It looks beautiful in magazines. White walls. White sofas and chairs. Gorgeous and carefully styled. Do you have the lifestyle for all white? Will you be able to accent with beautiful artwork and accessories to carry it off? If the answer is yes, go for it! If not, rethink this commitment.
Come into the light!
We can never have enough and right now your home is likely lacking in this area. Because all of us seem to overlook this important element in our homes. Check all four corners of your rooms for proper lighting. Remember: we need overhead, task and ambient lighting. Make sure you use dimmers and if this is not possible, plugin adapters work fine. Chandeliers, floor lamps, mirrors and glass doors also reflect light.
Decorative painting. Ugh.
This was a trend that has (thankfully) passed on. I am not speaking of the beautiful treatments for recessed ceilings. Rather the unfortunate fad of things like sponge painting, globing things like wadded up paper on the wall, stenciling and other horrors. When it comes to wall treatments: a good quality paint in a beautiful color and finish or the most outrageous wall covering you can afford on an accent wall.
Say goodbye to your unicorn collection.
We all have collections that made sense at one time. But time is the problem. It may be time to say goodbye. If it’s not a priceless collection or one that you absolutely love, it may have outlived its value. So when you are doing your decluttering, you may want to say goodbye and let someone else love it.
Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. Her @home article appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog