Welcome to week five of How to Create a Decorating Plan. This week, we’ll cover Step 5 – Decorating in Layers – Layer 3: Home Decor & Furnishings. Now that you have the bones of your room and furniture planned, decor and furnishings are where you can really express your creativity and personality. It’s where you can make each room unique and really tell your story.
In this blog post, we’ll look at
- Area Rugs
- Artwork & Mirrors
- Window Treatments
- Cushions & Throws
- Decorator Accessories
- Flowers & Foliage
Now I could write multiple blog posts on each topic, so this blog post will just be a brief summary of each. You will find more information on these topics throughout the blog and in the Resource Library.
Area rugs are a decorator’s best friend, particularly on hard floor surfaces such as floorboards and tiles.
Why Use Rugs?
- A rug helps to ground or anchor furniture
- Defines a space
- Protects the floors
- Absorbs noise
- Provides plush padding underfoot
Colour, Pattern & Texture
- A rug with a strong colour or contrast to the background (floor) can feel like an island floating in the middle of your room
- The stronger the colour or contrast the more visually demanding the rug is
- Is the pattern contrast bold or subdued?
- Is the colour a stand out feature or does it blend in – where does your eye go?
- Will you lose some of the rug pattern by placing furniture on top eg: coffee table?
- The tighter or more varied the pattern, the better it will hide marks
- Natural fibre (adds texture)
- Geometric- stripe, trellis, diamond, border
- Organic – damask, floral, vintage
- Themed – coastal, children’s pattern
When looking at different rug materials consider:
- Softness underfoot
- Stain resistance/cleaning
- Durability – how much foot traffic will the rug get?
- Fading – will the rug get sunlight?
Further Reading on Rugs
- How to Buy the Right Rug
- How to Choose the Right Size Rug for a Queen Bed
- How to Choose the Right Size Rug for a Living Room
- How to Clean an Outdoor Rug
Artwork & Mirrors
Wall art includes anything you hang on the walls – artwork, framed photos, paintings, drawings, prints, wall clocks, plaques and signs and decor such as boat oars or skis. Decorating the walls is important as it can create a sense of height and help your eye travel around the room.
When choosing artwork consider:
- What size and proportion will work – You usually want a piece of artwork or group of artworks hung together to take up ⅗ to ¾ of the width of the piece of furniture it is hung over.
- Buy artwork that speaks to you. What do you love? What makes you happy or feel something when you look at it?
- What colours/themes will work with the overall vision for your room?
- Landscape or Portrait orientation
- Still Life
- Mirrors increase both light and space
- Overmantel mirror balances and increases the impact of a fireplace
- Use a full length mirror for dressing
- How decorative do you want the mirror frame to be?
Further Reading on Artwork & Mirrors
- Canvas Artwork with Final Touch Decor
- How to Hang Boat Oars on the Wall
- On Trend – Botanical Artwork
- Print Your Photos
- When Life Becomes Art
- Family Photo Gallery Wall
- Choosing an Ensuite Mirror
Window treatments can take up a large visual space in the room. Like furniture they need to be the right balance between form and function.
About the Window
- How do the windows/doors open?
- What shape is the window?
- What size is it?
- Does it have room for stack backs either side?
- How much space is above the window?
- What’s immediately next to the window?
- What other windows are in the room or can be seen from the room?
- Are they matching windows?
- What sort of window frame is there?
Window Treatment Function
Go back to what you need to work in the room. Do you need:
- Light control – blockout, diffusion or none?
- Privacy – day or night, full or partial?
- View – does the window treatment need to be open to enjoy the view or help to hide the view?
- Ventilation – will the window treatment blow around when the windows are open? Does it need to open all the way or just some of the way?
- Insulation – do you need help hold heat in or block heat from coming in?
- Decorative only (not functioning)
Common Styles of Window Treatments
- Roller Blinds
- Roman Blinds
- Venetian Blinds
- Plantation Shutters
- Curtains (sheer & solid)
- Pelmets & Valances
Curtain Heading Styles
- Rod pocket, tie top
- Eyelet, Tab Top
- Pencil pleat, gather
- Pleat – Double pinch, triple pinch, goblet, box pleat, inverted box pleat
- Decorative pole
- Decorative pole with hidden track
- Track – single, double, ceiling mounted. Tracks should be hidden behind a pelmet.
Choosing the Right Window Treatment
- Decide which is the best treatment – function and form
- Choose colour, style, pattern
- Do you want the window covering to be a feature (focal point) of the room, or to blend in?
Further Reading on Window Treatments
- 4 Curtain Mistakes to Avoid
- Where to Get Affordable Custom Made Curtains
- Decorating with Ready Hang Curtains
- Where to Get Affordable Custom Made Blinds
- What You Need to Know About Plantation Shutters
Cushions & Throws
Cushions and throws are a great way to add colour, pattern and texture to your room. Mix and match or mix and clash colours and patterns to create a cushion collection and bring life to your room. Use cushions and thrown anywhere you sit or on a bed.
I’ve written a lot about cushions in the past (I’m slightly obsessed with them) so before you decide on a cushion or throw for your room, read these first:
- How Many Cushions for a 3 Seat Sofa
- How to Create a Neutral Cushion Collection
- Do You Have a Love Hate Relationship with Cushions?
- How to Choose the Right Cushion Insert
- Where to Buy Outdoor Cushions
- Cushion Styling Collection
- How to Make a Colourful Pom Pom Blanket
- Knitted Throws
Decorator accessories are all the little belongings we pick up or collect on our life journey. They can be special, personal, meaningful, practical, functional or just pretty to look at. Home decor should be collected and curated over time to truly reflect your personality and life journey. Periodically edit your pieces.
Decorator Accessories include:
- Ornaments, Figurines & Statues
- Coastal – shells, coral, driftwood, model yachts, sea fan
- Lanterns & Candles
- Decorative trays, boxes, plates and bowls
- Decorator or coffee table books and bookends
- Small clocks, photo frames and other personal or vintage items
Don’t buy all your decorator pieces at the same time so they all match. That will look like a display home not your real home. Buy what you really love even if that means you have to wait until you can find what you are looking for or until you can afford it.
Further Reading on Decorator Accessories
- Decorating with Blue & White China
- 7 Ways to Use Candles
- Decorating with Lanterns
- What to Put in Lanterns
- Design Crush: Glass Boxes
- Hi Lo Decorating
- Simple Ways to Decorate with Trays
- Decorating with Wire Baskets
Flowers & Foliage
Every home needs flowers or foliage to bring it to life. Flower arrangements, indoor plants, a single bloom or a wreath all work well in your home. They can be real or artificial. Flowers and foliage add a touch of nature or a natural element to the room. Something “organic”. Never underestimate the impact greenery adds to a room, even if that’s not a colour in the main decorating scheme.
Further Reading on Flowers & Foliage
- Beautiful Orchids in Your Home
- Flowers in Bottles
- 5 Favourite Indoor Plants
- Ginger Jar Vases
- How to Decorate with Faux Green Plants
- Decorating with a Beautiful Green Palm
Lighting is an important part of your home’s function. Lighting creates mood and atmosphere. We all need light at night.
Lighting can be:
- Fixed or moveable
- General, ambient, or focus (task lighting)
- Light fittings range from almost invisible downlights in the ceiling to real statement pendant lights and chandeliers.
- Lighting also includes free standing table and floor lamps.
- You need to know your decorating plan for your room before you can plan the lighting, as the furniture layout will determine where you need your lighting
- Lightbulbs come in a variety of shades, from bright white, to blueish, to yellowish. Choose the right colour bulb for your room. There is a great article and video to watch on Beacon Lighting’s Globe Finder
Further Reading on Lighting
- What is the Right Bedside Lamp Height
- Ensuite Wall Sconces
- How to Choose a Chandelier for Above the Dining Table
- Front Door Lights
- Decorating with Blue and White Lamps
- Design Trend – Glass Lamps
- Glass Pendant Lights for the Kitchen
- Custom Lampshades
- Modern Farmhouse Lighting
- Hamptons Style Outdoor Lighting
- How to String Fairy Lights Across the Ceiling
Decorating Plan – Step 5
Now that your floorplan, visionboard, action list and shopping list are full of ideas, actions and products, it’s time to finalise your plan so you can put it into action.
- Add your home decor and furnishing items to your Shopping List and Moodboard
- Look at your Action List. Prioritize it. Allocate time & $ to each item
- Put your shopping list in order, according to your needs and budget
- Make sure you are happy with your vision board – add some of your intended purchases to the moodboard to see how they work. Remember if they work together on the moodboard, they’ll work together in the room.
Next week, we’ll cover Step 6 – Styling & Pulling It Together. Have a think about what decorating styles you like. Make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter so you get access to the free resources and don’t miss a post.
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