For many people, decorating is fun. A way to express their creativity in a way few other pursuits allow. But for many more, decorating is a chore. It can seem overwhelming and intimidating, and they simply don’t know where to begin the process. For me, I’ve *usually* tried to let my house tell me what it wants. Sounds strange, I know, but if you live in the house a while before making any major decisions, you’ll eventually get to know what will work best and what style you’re going for. Have I always done that? Nooooooo, and I’ve paid the price, especially with our weekend log cabin. But hey, if I did it right the first time, then I wouldn’t be having the fun of redoing it! 😉
Some people respond better to visuals and enjoy browing retail stores, while others enjoy asking the experts for help or researching books or online. Each of us has to determine what method of help we’re most comfortable with and JUST GO FOR IT! Here are some ideas, tips and resources to help point you in the right direction.
Even if you don’t live in a large city with numerous designer showrooms, you can find professional room displays in many department stores as well as retailers, but sometimes the most fun and interesting places to shop are the smaller not-so-well-known stores. You can see one of my favorite places to shop here and here. While browsing, take note of the spaces that pull you in. Are you drawn to casual, livable spaces, or do you prefer a more formal, elegant style? Are you more drawn to the timeless look of this dining room…
or do the cleaner lines of this space appeal to you a bit more?
Maybe neither one are quite your cup of tea, and that’s ok. These are only two styles among many that are possible. The point is, when you find something that you like, ask yourself what it is you specifically like and see if you can incorporate that in your own home.
When looking in stores, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a designer or knowledgeable sales associate who has some time to share their expertise. Don’t be shy. Talk to them about your project and don’t be surprised if you get some great tips.
If you have a Home Depot or Lowes nearby, then you might know they offer free or low-cost workshops. Among some of the offerings are tile workshops, how to hang wallpaper or faux finishing.
Currently, Fisherman is enrolled in a 9 week workshop at BOCES learning all sorts of skills such as tiling, fixing toilets, sinks, etc. Last year, he enrolled in a heat and a/c workshop that probably saved us twice the cost of the class this past summer when our central a/c stopped working and he was able to troubleshoot and fix it. There are other reasons besides saving money to learn these skills. If you live in an area that is remote and professional help is difficult to get, it’s practically a necessity. For me, I’m on the lookout for an upholstery class. There have been times when I’ve seen an interesting chair at a great price but I didn’t want to spend the money it would take to pay someone to reupholster it. Knowing how to reupholster is a worthwhile skill to have for any diy’er.
For me, mixing and matching fabrics has always been a challenge, partly because I want everything! I love fabrics, and my idea of a good time is browsing fabric stores. I’m weird that way.
This room is a great example of using different fabric patterns with a successful end result. If you’re like me and feel a bit insecure about combining fabrics, talk to employees who work at fabric stores. For them, it’s second nature. Pick their brain. There are also loads of fabric resources on line and you can get lost for hours just looking at all the beautiful colors and patterns. Some of my favs can be seen here. Can’t sew? Not a problem. Two words you should burn into your brain…FUSIBLE WEB. 😉
Do I need to remind you there are literally tens of thousands of blogs, websites and message boards with a variety of resources and information to help? Not sure where to begin? Just do a Google search for ‘diy websites’, ‘home decorating blogs’, or whatever it is you’re looking for. No doubt you’ll find more than enough to get you going on your next project. Check out this link from houzz for a tongue in cheek post about decorating. It keeps everything in perspective and reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously, but it also reminds us that as my grandmother used to say, ‘cheap is dear’.
This list is only the beginning. There are countless other resources available to you such as your local library, magazines, craft stores, kitchen and bath showrooms, etc. And if you’re looking to save some money for a project, consider bartering or finding a college student who is looking for a job. And if all else fails, have a party! Invite some friends to help you paint. That’s where cooking skills come in handy ;).
I’ll be sharing some more decorating tips such as where to find bargains, must-haves for the different rooms in your home and some repurposing ideas that will help you put your stamp on your space. Let me know in the comment section if you have any specific questions or if there is a topic you would like included.