Monday, March 14, 2011

Don’t Wait for a Mate, Feather Your Nest Now! Part 1

Copyright 2006 Melissa Galt Hey, it’s the new millennium and you’ve been working hard at your career for a number of years, but you haven’t taken the time to really make yourself a home. Why not? Don’t wait for a better half, a mate, or a spouse--just do it for you. And don’t wait till you buy a house, an apartment, condo, even a tent. All qualify as home spaces worthy of decorating. If you live there, it counts. You deserve it! You’ll also get to entertain in style rather than always complaining that your place isn’t done or ready. (Didn’t think anybody heard that, did you?!) Get going now on making your home the haven you have dreamed of. The best part is it is all for you, and you can do it any way you want! Design and decorating is a valuable process of self discovery, and it is through working on your home’s interiors that you will really find yourself, establish your priorities, and create the lifestyle you want. In part 1 of this 2 part series you’ll learn the first 5 simple, yet valuable steps for creating a comfortable, inviting nest for yourself. 1. Create a road map. Tour each room in your house and make a list of the pieces you think you will need to complete each space. This list is general. For example, in a bedroom you might have listed: a king sized bed, two nightstands, a dresser, an armoire (for TV), artwork, greenery and lamps. This is just a guideline of what you will need. Don’t get bogged down in details and how each piece will look. That comes later. Do this for each room, including the bathrooms, and be sure to note any changes you want to make in finishes like tile, countertops, hardware and such. 2. Establish an idea file. Go through current design and decorating publications and catalogues (online print outs are good too) and tear out pictures of rooms you like the feeling of, pieces of furniture you like, and even rugs and artwork you enjoy. In the case of individual pieces, be sure to circle the pieces in question, as when you return to the file, you may forget what it is you liked. File these by room either in a three ring binder with dividers for each room or an accordion file with a separate pocket for each space. Don’t save entire magazines-- it takes up too much room and much too much time to go back through to find what you liked. Be sure to review your wish files regularly as you are likely to change your mind a few times, and the next favorite can always be right around the corner. Don’t worry about being “all over the board.” In the next step you’ll want to consider getting some professional guidance, and the right expert will be able to find the common theme in your files. 3. Now it’s time to investigate some professional expertise. Unless this is truly your talent and you have the time, it will save you both time and money to hire a designer or decorator for at least a consultation to guide and direct you in the process of furnishing your home. Designers all work differently, so ask--don’t assume. Many will do consultations. Be sure it is someone you are comfortable with, have reviewed their portfolio and checked references. They are there to work with you, educate you in the options available, and make professional recommendations. They should never intimidate or insult you. The best places to find such a professional are by referral from friends, an online web search reviewing their websites, or contacting a favorite you saw published. A designer or decorator can also help you establish a realistic spending plan and steer you to appropriate resources if you want to embark on this process solo. Remember this is moveable money and flexible investment. If you buy it right the first time, you won’t waste time and money on a replacement later. It moves with you, so you aren’t doing this all over again, unless you want to! 4. With some of the critical homework behind you, you are ready to start the process of decorating your home. In each room start either at the top with artwork as inspiration or at the bottom with a rug as “artwork for the floor.” It is much simpler to start at either the top or bottom of a room than in the middle. This is not an Oreo cookie, but your house! The artwork or rug will act as a guideline on the colors and mood you are creating. You are the constant, so generally speaking there will be a consistency and continuity in your selections. Remember a pro can always be part of the process in guiding, translating, and delivering your vision. 5. Select major pieces of furniture. In a bedroom this is the bed, dresser and armoire. In a great room it is the sofa and chairs. Upholstery always comes first in these spaces, and in a bedroom that means the bedding. If you keep your main pieces simpler and quieter (not boring) you are less likely to tire of them, and they will not get dated as quickly. In other words, on a sofa, a textured chenille fabric in a loden green, or muted taupe, or even rich persimmon will age better than a vivid plaid, or cheerful large floral. Confine your patterns and vivid visuals to accent pieces that you can change out. Some of you men out there are going to be inclined to go leather all the way. Don’t! One piece is enough. It is an important consideration and part of your plan to mix your materials. Get a balance of soft vs. hard, slick vs. textured, shiny vs. matte finish, smooth vs. nubby. The more texture, the less dirt, wear and soil will show. Go for timeless and classic, and you can update seasonally. Be open to a variety of textiles, cotton prints, linens, chenilles, tapestries, damasks, leather and woven fabrics. Variety will also make it look like you have created this over time, creating a collected feeling instead of the room in a box look. In these first 5 steps we’ve laid the groundwork for creating a unique home that you’ll feel proud to entertain in and that you’ll feel comfortable relaxing in when it’s just you at home. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re living in a rented apartment or if you own your own house, your own personal space is a reflection of who you are. In part 2 of this series, we’ll cover the final 5 steps you need to take so that you can make where ever you live feel like home.

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