Planning your dream home

Planning your dream home

A home decorating mess is much like baking a cake. The ingredients are all there, but it can still be a mess. Photo: Modccon Interiors

Just about everybody dreams of turning an okay, but not so perfect home into a dream home. As long as you know what you are getting into, all you need to do is avoid the pitfalls that unsuspecting home owners often face.

All you have to do is to keep the ‘worst’ decorating mistakes in mind when you are planning and carrying out your project. Don’t do it yourself, if you are not qualified.

There are plenty of projects in the “do-it-yourself” mould that you can handle, but when it comes to big remodelling jobs, you are better off letting a pro take care of it unless you are an experienced designer yourself. Amateurs could end up handling the projects in a sloppy manner. Even worse, you may find out half way through your job that you’ve messed something up big time and you need to hire a pro to fix it.

Then you’ll not only have to pay up for the cost of the job, but you’ll have to pay extra for your own mistakes.

Plan, plan, plan

At least 80 per cent of the success of your job depends on good planning. This means dealing with as much detail as possible up front.

Constantly plan and check the progress of work against your original plan every day. Small details can add up to big outcomes, which may not always be favourable.
A plan keeps you focused when there seems to be multiple activities going on at any given time.

Project management can be a fulltime job, so part of your planning is ensuring that you have sufficient time to dedicate it to the project management role. If you don’t know what a critical path is, then find out. This will be the defining thread of your project plan.
Time and materials planning is a big task, but not having the right materials in the right quantity at the right time may prove to be costly.

File all your records, and ensure that everything is organised. Remember that form should always follow function. Not only is it important to pick the finishes, but also to put the floor plan together.

You need to know where everything will go. Shortcuts will always cost you in the long run. If you’ve begun the process and things are not going according to plan, hiring a designer can get things back on track. If you can create a vision board, it will help you create the vision you want for your house.

Mistakes to be avoided

A home decorating mess is much like baking a cake. The ingredients are all there, but it can still be a mess.

The elements are all there, the sofa, artwork, chairs, but the result: a mess. When furniture is pushed against the wall, this visually means the chairs are too far apart. You may want to create a warm and friendly atmosphere. You can’t have a good friendly conversation if you have to shout across the room.

When planning your design, imagine the sofa and chairs talking to each other.
That will give you an idea about the correct placement of furniture.
Most standard rooms cannot handle an enormous sofa. It is much more practical and flexible to buy two smaller sofas. Choosing an impractical fabric further reduces the sofa’s flexibility.

Overhead lighting

Bright overhead lighting can make you feel like you’re on stage. Overhead lighting is harsh and unflattering.

Use soft white bulbs in lamps and remember that shaded lamps give you the best and most comfortable lighting.

It is recommended that you use dimmers to soften the effect. Warm centres of light draw people in and create intimacy. Think of your room as a boat. Don’t move all the cargo  on one side or you will overturn the ship. Visually too, the same principles apply. Too much on one side and your design sinks. Balance your room by creating a layout that spreads out the furniture and accessories to all four sides.

Clutter everywhere

Someone gives you something and you don’t know where to put it, so you just put it down somewhere.

The next thing you know, your home is filled with lots of knick knacks and you are drowning in ‘stuff’.

You should go through your décor at least once a year to purge and put away items that you no longer love. Just admit it, you rarely dust your fake plants and flowers. They just sit there and collect dust.

Ban the fake-faux silk and dried flowers. If you must have fake flowers and plants, spend some money and get some good quality ones.

Many people make the simple decorating mistake in their home of covering every bit of their wall space.

Avoid this decorating mistake by creating open areas of wall and floor for the eye to rest. Don’t purchase a piece of artwork that is the correct size just because you need something on the wall.

Leave the wall bare until you find something that you really like. You need to decorate to show your personality. Be unique. Don’t get what everyone else has.

Theme rooms

Avoid theme rooms. Take the Barbie theme, for instance. In some time soon, your child may be a fan of something else. Use removable décor for youngsters because their interests keep changing. Avoid fads in colour and décor. Colour is good, but a room that looks like a crayola box exploded in the middle, is not good. It exhausts the eye and creates anxiety for the viewer. Choosing a scheme with three colours at the most will allow the eye to rest. Anything large in your home should be neutral, accessories like throw pillows, curtains; area rugs can be more personal and colourful. Do not think that every piece of furniture should be set at an angle. However, if you room is small, this will make your room look even smaller and it can very well throw off the balance and this can make the room feel odd.

In kitchens, bathrooms: What not to do

The kitchen is the most important room in your house. Select the appropriate lighting for your kitchen space and proper ventilation to ensure offending odours and excessive heat are kept at bay.

The three biggest factors for consideration are countertops, flooring and cabinets. A good kitchen design is extremely important.

The easiest things are changing wall colour or having different flooring installed and completely neglecting the kitchen and bathroom. 

Everyone wants a beautiful bathroom, but it needs to be functional too. Take some time to think about your needs and plan accordingly. The things to keep in mind while planning a bathroom are improper installation, uncomfortable spacing, lack of storage space, choosing the wrong materials, inadequate lighting and improper ventilation.
When it comes to the dining room, it is important that the dining chairs should be selected not only to look good but to ensure that they are comfortable. They should be inviting, giving guests and family no reason to get up and move.

Designing the bedroom can be another challenge. With many things to consider, it is easy to make mistakes and much easier to take these mistakes for granted. If you want your design to work, it is important that you spend some time thinking about it, before you actually put it into action.

Uniform, package furniture

Another common decorating mistake is matching furniture. Just because you can find matching coffee tables, side tables in a package does not mean you have to buy it.
You can mix and match your furniture and still get a great balance.

What makes for good design is visual balance between the elements. When space is at a premium, avoiding simple mistakes can make all the difference.

(The author is a designer with Modccon Interiors)

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