DIY home decorating ideas abound on the television program of today, having gained in popularity over the past twenty years or so, with many of us learning new skills from leaflets freely available in all the big DIY superstores. Government legislation in the UK has precluded many DIY-ers, especially in the realms of electrical and plumbing work and, following the introduction of the HIP Packs into UK Conveyancing, where documentation has to be provided for all and any alterations to your property, DIY at its greatest popularity has slipped down a notch or two. However, even after those disastrous MDF makeover programs lost favor, people are still enthusiastic about DIY and not paying out for expensive labor costs unless it is absolutely necessary.
One way that is bound to increase the value of your property is revamping your bathroom, with new bath, handbasin and toilet, together with separate shower if you have the room available. If you are on a budget, replacing taps and showerheads and putting some attractive cabinets in the bathroom will achieve a dramatic effect without too much outlay. With any DIY project, I would be inclined to go for the easiest first – take a look at whether your curtains, floors and other fabrics need to be replaced. They might be looking a little worn and, in replacing these, it may not be necessary to go to major expenses associated with a full redecoration project.
Try changing your tired old carpet with more modern hardwood or laminate flooring. If your hardwood is looking tired, sanding and re-staining should give it a new lease of life and, to brighten it up further, give is a few coats of varnish. There are many other flooring options such as textured rubber, vinyl or tiles – in fact, on one of my DIY shopping trips I found the most attractive textured floor tiles which, when laid, resembled hardwood flooring so closely that I could only tell the difference when I was just a few inches away from the tiles. They weren’t especially costly – but they certainly looked it!
Some people assume that decorating needs to incorporate only the most expensive looks but some of my friends’ homes actually look lived-in – they have achieved that ‘tatty’ look where everything looks almost chaos but, in fact, as one of my friends admitted, it took quite a bit of ingenuity to achieve the look without going too far. I can see her point – she has gone for stripped down doors which she bought from a junkyard, stripped bare wood shelves inset into her alcoves and the walls are all finished in an off-white Artex-type finish to give them the rustic look. Thankfully, she left the ceilings alone and did not go for the mock-antique beams. She has an old rocking chair which she bought from an antique shop and children’s toys on view on the shelves [these are for accent only]. She admitted to me that the toys are simply there as interior décor focal points and that all the children’s toys are actually put away in their own rooms upstairs.
As I said, it works and, if you are careful about not over-doing the décor and going too far, the effect is fantastic. Her home is warm and friendly, spotlessly clean, but has that dog-eared tired look which you can only achieve if you work hard at it. My family room is much the same – the dogs make sure of that! No matter how many times I clear up in a day, there is always chewed-up paper and card on the floor, with a few strategic slippers, elaborately chewed, strewn about the place. Who needs interior decorators when they have dogs?
Your choice of flooring is limited only by your taste and budget. Rip up the old carpet and replace it with contemporary hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. If you already have hardwood, simply sanding and re-staining it or giving it a clear finish may give your rooms the lift they need. Other flooring replacements that can transform a room include tile, vinyl, linoleum, or textured rubber.
(ARA) – So many of us find ourselves in the same decorating boat – a home filled with a few family heirlooms, flea market or tag sale finds, and maybe even one or two treasures from a successful dumpster dive. You love them all, but how do you combine high and low design pieces to create a unified and polished look for your home?
First says Marjorie Marcellus, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of California – San Francisco, forget about the cost of a piece. “A successful interior is not determined by the cost of its components. For a space to work, it needs to have balance and harmony,” says Marcellus. Finishes and home furnishings should relate to each other as part of an overall design scheme, but “that doesn’t mean they have to match, be of the same era, same price or quality,” she explains.
For example, says Marcellus, “I placed an expensive slab of marble onto a salvage-yard industrial black metal stand and then added four black bargain stools from Pottery Barn.” The similar finishes of the materials made it work. The result? “A custom kitchen table for my client’s urban loft. Topped with a delicate antique vase, fresh wild flowers and colorful cloth napkins from IKEA, the outcome was unexpected and delightful,” says Marcellus.
Suzanne Wilkins, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of New York City, is another proponent of mixing both high and low design elements. A basic rule of thumb, says Wilkins, is to avoid having a less expensive item next to a more expensive similar item.
“Too many similarities invite comparison, and may make the less expensive things look cheap,” she says. Instead, pair precious things with inexpensive finds by following two rules of thumb: keep it simple and clean lined, or keep it funky. According to Wilkins, simple clean lines naturally look expensive, and we associate clean lines with a more modern and expensive look.
On the other hand, she says, funky items can often stand alone and speak for themselves. But use them sparingly. For example, a nice grouping of African masks can add a lot of texture and color and can be found inexpensively in flea markets. To make it work, don’t use more than three or four or in more than one location, says Wilkins.
Dan Noyes, chairman of the Interior Design department at The Art Institutes International, Minnesota, loves to combine modern pieces with weathered antiques, “to create a wonderful gypsy chic look.” Whether high end or low end, an antique’s patina and unique character flaws can set it apart from a great, modern piece of furniture, he says.
Furniture pieces themselves can combine the best of both high and low end design features says John Gambell, chairman of the Interior Design department of The Art Institute of New England. For a stylish-looking dining or end table, Gambell suggests taking a simple and inexpensive parsons-styled table (Ikea is a good source) and add a made-to-order stone top of either slate or marble. ” A small ‘reveal’ between the base and the top wood appear to make the top float,” says Gambell.
A few final words of wisdom about mixing high and low end design from the experts: When shopping at stores like Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn, pick a few pieces from each instead of outfitting an entire room with one look. “Mix it up,” says Wilkins. And remember, be patient and shop around. What makes a room look rich and expensive, no matter what the budget, is time.
Home Decorating Ideas offers quick cheap tips on how to decorate your house. Includes tips on decorating the office, living room, bedroom, kitchen and more.