Thursday, May 27, 2010

6 Tips for Redesigning a Room (from a mildly obsessed decorator)

Today is the final "design fever" day, and I thought I would close with some tips on redesigning a room.

And just what qualifies me to give tips? you might ask. No, I do not have a degree in interior-design. I have not been on HGTV's Design Star. I've never even known a decorator. BUT...

...I have redesigned every room in my house at least THREE times over! So I think that makes me sorta an expert (or insane, if you ask Craig).

Before jumping into the tips, I thought I would refresh your memory as to what my office looked like before last weekend. Right away you can see that it was a cluttered mess.
The walls were brown. The sofa was frumpy. The accessories had run a-muck. And the layout wasn't open.
Now here is a shot from one angle of the recent redesign. I physically breathe in a sigh of relief when I see the difference. So, how did I get from the dark, dumpy mess above to this? Well, let me tell you:

1. First, I started with a clean slate.
I removed everything but the basic furnishings. I took down the pictures, cleared everything off the desk & table tops, removed the throw pillows and blankets, took away the frames & boxes & trinkets & knick knacks & candles. I pulled down the curtains and cleared off the shelves. And then I pushed the furniture into the middle of room so that I could...

2. Use paint to set the tone.
After the room was cleared, the next step was to paint. Nothing, in my opinion, refreshes a room like a fresh coat in a new color. Plus all of that climbing and stretching to reach tall corners and low baseboards is a good workout.

A word on colors...when I first moved into this house I painted every room a different color to suit my mood. Since then, however, I've slowly but surely narrowed down my palette to about a half-dozen choices. And 90% of them coordinate really well. So basically what I'm saying is don't resurrect your fondness for Rainbow Bright when painting. Unless, of course, you like repainting every year.

3. The next thing I do after painting is to lay a color/style foundation with fabric. As in pillows, rugs, blankets, etc. Because I can sew, I skip the stores and just make slipcovers for all of my accessories myself (probably each pillow in my house has at least 3 covers that I rotate depending on the time of year). And when I get tired of them (which I frequently do), I just switch them out for a new design.

4. Once I've picked my color/style, I start putting the room back together. This is the point when I usually rearrange things to make the room function better if it hasn't been.

Take, for instance, my office. I used to leave my sewing table open and under the window because that is where the electrical outlet is. But thanks to my hubby's suggestion, I picked up a packet of furniture gliders from the store so that I can move the table over to the outlet only when I need to sew. Now when it's not in use, I just fold it up and move it to a corner, opening up a HUGE space along the wall and window.

5. Then I bring the accessories/knickknacks back in WITH CAUTION. In other words, I usually leave out at least of half of what was in the room originally.

So, for instance, though I liked the votive candles on my table, the pictures, the cute little boxes that I keep beads in, the garden pot full of paintbrushes, the corkboards tacked with notes, etc. etc., I didn't bring any of it back into the room. And a week later, I can't say I miss any of it. It's amazing how much clutter we collect, isn't it!

6. Finally, I add the finishing touches--like the pearl chandelier, the floor-length sheer curtains, the faux-wood wall decals, and the grapefruit-scented fragrance decanter on my desk. And I sit back and enjoy...

...for about a season
...until I decide I want to change it again.

What do y'all think of my final design? I think it's a HUGE improvement, but would love your thoughts. Post 'em below!


  1. wow, what a beautiful transformation! it's so bright and cheery now. LOVE those pillows!! and that light fixture is so neat -- did you make it?

  2. Yes indeed--I did make the light fixture: Christmas tree garland, embroidery hoops and some fishing line!

  3. I think it's super cute! You did a great job Steph :)


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