- Start with a Plan
- How to Create a Plan
- Preparing to Paint
- Painting Tips
- Home Decorating Tips
- Common Decorating Mistakes
If you are new to home decorating, then it can seem like a daunting task. You may be reading is guide for decorating tips and tricks because you are new to decorating, or you may be reading because you want to learn more from an expert’s opinion. Either way you are in the right place!
We have written this guide so that you can see where the best place to start is in terms of home decorating, and where to go from there. This includes coming up with a plan so you can map out your budget, what you are going to buy/upcycle and where it is all going to go.
A big part of decorating is painting. It can make a real difference to your home so we have included a guide for painting including what you’ll need, how to prep, and some tips for you to get you started.
We have also included some general tips for home decorating to hopefully give you some inspiration if you are struggling on where to start. Along with tips we have pinpointed some common mistakes that people make so that you can read them and avoid disappointment later. We also give some advice on how to avoid these mistakes so that you can think about them when planning rather than realising too late.
Hopefully, this decorating tips and tricks guide will give you inspiration and help you get one step closer to your dream home. Happy decorating!
Start with a Plan
Whether you are only decorating one room or giving your entire home a makeover, it is so easy to get overwhelmed with the vast amount of information and decorating tips and tricks that are online. Therefore, it is a good idea to decide on a plan beforehand. Planning will allow you to achieve everything that you want to achieve, and will help you to not get overwhelmed with all the tasks that you may have.
Everyone plans differently. Some like to draw each room out with colours and labels, others like to simply write out a list. It does not matter what way you plan, what matters is that you have an idea of what you want before you get started. This allows you to prepare the rooms, make the correct purchases, and think over your decisions rather than going all in without thought. You want to plan to avoid getting the wrong items or realising halfway through that you actually hate the shade ‘Oatmeal’ and much prefer ‘Water Chestnut’.
How to Create a Plan
We can help you with your planning as this decorating tips and tricks guide is not only about getting stuck in but is about coming up with the perfect plan too. Here are some tips on how to create a decorating plan.
- Write down ideas when you are inspired
Keeping a notebook or journal dedicated to your decorating plan will help you to gather ideas together when you are feeling inspired. For example, if you are at a restaurant or store and notice a certain piece of furniture or wall decoration then you can take a picture or make a note of it to write in your notebook or journal when you get home.
You can fill the book with fabric pieces, wallpaper samples, pictures, and colours that you like to create a scrapbook of ideas. Eventually you will have a book filled with potential items and wall colours that you can then look through to start making some decisions for your dream room (or rooms).
- Research the ideas
Now you have all the ideas in your notebook it is time to actually research them to see how possible they are. Maybe while looking at your ideas you notice that you have furniture that you could transform with a DIY. Maybe you decide that instead of repainting every wall, you just want to paint a feature wall.
Researching your ideas will help you to make more solid decisions that could end up saving you time and money rather than just going and buying then later realising you have changed your mind. Researching also helps you to figure out what to buy that is in your budget…
A crucial part of your decorating plan is deciding on your budget. This goes with researching your ideas as you of course need to know your budget to then decide on what to buy and how much to spend on each aspect of the decorating.
If you are on a tight budget, then you may want to think about what you own and if you can reuse or DIY certain items. You could use different fabrics to transform items of furniture you already own, try and upcycle something old into something new, or even something simple like using a lick of paint to dramatically change the look of an item.
- Decide where everything will go
After you have researched and budgeted you can create your plan of where each item is going to go. You may have an idea of this already based on the thoughts that you already have had, however when you know exactly what you are going to buy, you can decide where they are going to go.
When items start to arrive (or when you have completed any DIY projects), you can place them in the desired positions right away as you have planned it all out. This means that you are not spending hours deciding where to put thing, wasting time that could be spent painting or fixing shelves or whatever else is on your ‘to-do’ list.
When you have a plan of where to place items, it is easier to move them around if you change your mind. When items arrive, they may look differently than you thought meaning you may change your mind on where you want it. With a plan, you can look at the areas where the item could go and then swap things around stress free as you will know the areas that are taken with other items, and where there is free space.
This would not be a helpful decorating tips and tricks guide if we did not give advice on painting. Painting is the easiest way to transform a room as there is so much choice that can dramatically change the style of a room.
Saying that, there is more to painting than just choosing a colour that you like. Painting and decorating is a profession, therefore it should not be assumed that painting to a good standard is simple to do. This is why as part of our decorating tips and tricks guide, we have some advice on what supplies you will need, how to prepare to paint, general painting tips, and the common mistakes to avoid.
Before you start painting you are going to need to gather all of your supplies and paints so that you are ready to prep’ the wall before painting. To help you out we have written a handy list in this decorating tips and tricks guide so that you can get everything you need together.
- Drop sheets; enough to cover floors and any furniture too large to remove from the room
- A stepladder
- A good selection of high-quality brushes in a variety of sizes
- Paint rollers
- 2 paint trays to enable fast colour changes
- Sanding paper and block
- Masking tape
- Primer: this is to cover any existing colour
- Interior paint: this is your main colour
- Gloss, satin or eggshell; for doors, skirting and frames
You should also think about the needs of your household before buying certain finishes of paints. For example, families with children or pets may want to consider easy clean paint options to avoid messes that will ruin the paint.
Preparing to Paint
Preparation is the key to a professional paint job so if you skip the prep it will be obvious in the result. There are a few things to think about before you start painting so make sure that you are fully ready before starting.
- Free up some space
Working around appliances, shelving, art on the wall and other furniture will only slow you down. Remove any objects that may be in your way and try your best to either move large pieces of furniture into the centre of the room, pull them out of the way, or take them out of the room.
Another tip is to cover furniture up with a drop sheet to avoid paint splatting ruining them. Cover carpets too so that you can freely paint without worrying that your carpets are going to be stained. Keep the sheets in place by using masking tape to line the edges of the flooring as you do not want it slipping while you are working.
- Fix before you paint
Check the walls that you are wanting to paint to see if there are any cracks or holes. Using filler to patch up the wall will make the surface smoother, creating a better surface for the paint to be applied to. When the filler is dry you can use sandpaper to create the smooth finish that you desire.
- Tape up
We have mentioned taping a sheet to the floor to protect it, but you are also going to want to tape around anything that you cannot remove but may get in your way while painting. This includes any light fixtures or switches, handles and skirting boards to make sure that the paint only goes where it is supposed to. If you miss this step you could end up trying to remove paint from areas where it should not be, which is a waste of time considering you can protect those areas with tape.
- Dress the part
Getting paint on yourself is pretty much unavoidable. It may only be a little on your hands, or it could get all over your clothes. Therefore, you want to be prepared be either wearing paint overalls/coveralls or old clothing that you do not mind getting paint all over. Wearing clothes that you do not mind getting slightly ruined will save the heartache of getting paint on your favourite jumper.
The same goes for your shoes. We recommend either getting a cheap pair of slip on shoes or covering your shoes up to stop paint from splatting on them. It is also a good idea to wear some sort of eye protection, especially if you are painting the ceiling as you definitely do not want any paint to get in or near your eyes.
- Prepare your paint station
An organised paint and equipment area will help you to save time as when you start painting you will know where everything is and do not have to go across the room multiple times trying to find a certain colour or paintbrush. Gathering all your items in a neat pile will help you to get the job done quicker as you can just grab what you need when you need it.
You may need to prime the wall or apply an undercoat, depending on the colour that you are going for and whether the wall has been painted before. For example, if you are painting over a dark colour then you will need to use a couple coats of primer to make sure that your new colour covers the wall properly, without any of the old colour coming through.
Our first tip is take your time! Rushing yourself will not help the process and can result in streaks and uneven areas. Set out a day that you will dedicate to painting to make sure that it is done right.
We recommend that you paint the ceilings first. This is because they can be the hardest area to paint because of the height and the awkwardness of the positions. Start off with the edges of the ceiling where it meets the walls with an angled brush because this is the trickiest part to get right.
After the ceiling dries you can go to the walls, starting the edges and around the windows first again then going from the top down so that you can fix any mishaps as you go. Make sure that you paint a couple coats of both the ceiling and the walls to get the best colour possible.
Home Decorating Tips
Now we know about all about painting we should move on to other decorating tips and tricks that you may be interested to know about. These are some general tips that may inspire you or help you to decide what you want to decorate.
- Neutral colours
A general tip is to keep communal areas neutral unless you have a clear vision or style that you want to stick to. This is because areas such as entrance hallways, living areas and dining areas have a lot of furniture in and can be a hassle to paint and repaint if you change your mind.
Neutral colours also stop jarring transitions into rooms and help to give you the most amount of flexibility when to comes to choosing decorative pieces as you do not need to worry about clashing colours.
- Make sure furniture pieces ‘talk’ to each other
By this, we mean arranging your furniture in living spaces so that they invite conversation, for example putting your sofa opposite armchairs. This gives the room an inviting look as there is an obvious cosy area that people can sit in and all be together.
- Let the sunshine
In areas such as the kitchen you want a nice amount of natural light to help with your electric bills, to boost your mood, and to increase the amount of vitamin D that you get. A kitchen with natural light is not only aesthetically pleasing but also has several benefits that you may want to consider when thinking about what curtains, blinds or drapes you want.
One of our decorating tips and tricks here is that if you want natural light to shine through without the window being totally see through is investing in sheer drapes, or lightweight cotton/linen drapes. They will allow the light to come through and will also look great too!
- Hang at least one mirror in each room
It is no secret that mirrors can make a room feel bigger, but they are also good for bouncing light throughout the room. Not only are mirrors good for these purposes but they can also be beautiful decorative pieces. Mirrors come in a large variety of shapes and sizes with different colours and materials for the frames. This means that if you are looking for a decorative piece that you also want to have a function, a mirror is a great way to achieve both.
- Place rugs under furniture
A statement rug is a great decorative item that can really give character to a room. They can also be functional too! Places furniture legs onto a rug is a great way to section the room, for example putting the rug underneath the sofa, armchairs, and coffee table. This creates a nice social area that has a decorative item that gives more than colour to a room, but comfort too.
One of our best decorating tips and tricks is to make sure you measure up for your rugs as a rug that is too small will make all other pieces look out of scale and can ruin the look of a room.
You may not think of decluttering as part of decorating but by removing anything that does not belong where it is or does not add anything to the room will make a real difference. Making space by removing clutter means that you can add any decorative or functional pieces that may not have fit in the room previously.
Less is also more. Make sure that you declutter to stop your home from looking too busy as too many items (whether that be clutter or decorative pieces) will take focus away from the items that you want on display.
Common Decorating Mistakes
Making your decorating dreams come true can be so much fun, however, there are certain mistakes that can easily happen that can be avoided before it is too late! As part of our decorating tips and tricks we of course must inform you of these common mistakes so that you do not make them yourself!
If you are reading this ‘too late’ then do not worry! There is a solution to each mistake so do not stress, we will help you and let you know how to avoid mistakes in the future.
- Not considering fire hazards
In the exciting process of ordering and choosing decorative pieces it is easy to forget about any potential fire hazards. For example, you want to be sure that any long drapes are not covering heaters or radiators as certain materials can be flammable.
How to avoid this: Double check what you are buying and where you are thinking of putting it next time so that you can avoid the disappoint of realising too late by creating a dangerous situation.
- Not seeing fabrics or paint colours in person
Ordering online is so simple and you can easily fall in love with what you see online. The danger of this, however, is that the colours of fabrics, paints, wallpaper e.c.t can look quite different in person to how they do online. This can be disastrous if you have bought something big like a fabric sofa that arrives looking completely different to how you thought. If you plan around a certain piece, then it can throw your whole plan off!
How to avoid this: Always check the colours and fabrics beforehand whether that means ordering a sample or going in store to see. If you already have had items delivered and cannot return them then have a look at how you can incorporate the colour into your room, maybe try layering patterns and other colours. Get creative! We are sure that it is not the end of the world and believe that you can work around it!
- Not checking for plug sockets and outlets
When planning your decor, try to consider where the plug sockets are in each room. The last thing you want is to have the perfect plan but when it comes to it you cannot plug in your signature lamp. There are certain rooms that revolve around something that needs to be plugged in, for example your TV which needs to be in an optimised position by the plug sockets.
How to avoid this: The simple fix for this is to account for the number of plug sockets and where their position is in the room when designing and planning. You do not want to have extension cords plugged into extension cords (not pretty and very dangerous!) so plan ahead to avoid disappointment.
- Not measuring to scale
Another mistake is not measuring certain items to scale. If you do not measure, then you could end up with a comically large chandelier or painting of a daisy field. You want to be sure that anything you buy will look well in proportion to the room that it is going in. Items that are too big will not only look funny but will make the room feel claustrophobic and items that are too small will make the whole scale of the room look off.
How to avoid this: Measuring your spaces for art or ceiling height will help you when making purchases as you will clearly be able to see what is going to be too big, too small, and the perfect fit. This avoids the hassle of having to return any big items and then having to buy another.
- Not thinking about empty space
As we said, less is more. When choosing pieces to put on a shelf, on coffee tables, bedside tables e.c.t you want to be sure that the space is not too full of items. This is because spaces can easily look too busy with too much going on which can take your eyes away from the key pieces that you want to show off.
How to avoid this: Do not over-fill spaces but choose your favourites to go on display. Not only will the space look better but it requires less cleaning and dusting for you too (just a little bonus there!). The best thing about these items is that you can move and rotate them whenever you please, remember it is all about what you like!
To summarise, make your space your own by following our decorating tips and tricks! Whether you are painting, doing a house makeover or just de-cluttering and moving items around there are so many ways to refresh your home in terms of decorating.
Decorating is all about personal taste but there are of course things to think about in terms of safety and design. By reading the common mistakes that others make you can figure out the best way to decorate for you, all while staying safe and avoiding headaches in the long run.
Hopefully, we have given you some ideas on where to start and what makes good decorations but remember that it is your home so make your own choices that will make your spaces happy.