Browsing through home magazines such as Ideal Home, House Beautiful and Real Homes is an ideal way of sourcing decorating ideas for your own home. Online photo galleries of kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms can be a source of inspiration. So can the decor in hotels or other people's homes where you've stayed in.
Collect swatches of materials and colour samples for each of the rooms you want to decorate. Think beyond just the colour of the room to the textures you want to have and the theme and feel you want to create, whether contemporary or traditional. Be inspired by the things around you: pebbles on a beach, the colour of the leaves in your garden or the urban decay of the city.
Design and planning
Room design tools
Room planning software is a great way of seeing what your room will look like before committing to anything. Floorplanner.com has a free basic account . You can sign up and begin designing the interior of your house. Ikea has a
user-friendly planning tool which you can log on to and plan your kitchen based on their units. Using a 3D room designer tool is an excellent way of trying lots of different room layouts without having to move heavy furniture.
Buy a few different paint samples, whether different colours or varying shades of just one colour. Paint your samples onto plain wallpaper so you can stick them onto the wall of the room you are decorating and move them about. Look at the colours at different times of the day to see it in different lights before making your choice and painting the whole room.
Prepare everything before you start work to minimise disruption. If you are painting a room, clear away furniture or at least move everything to the middle of the room and cover with a dustsheet. Protect the floor too. Wash and clean the walls with sugar soap and paint in the order of ceiling, walls and then woodwork, starting with an undercoat and finishing with at least one coat of emulsion.
If you do not want to redecorate the whole room, then add a feature wall. Wallpapering a chimney breast adds instant interest to a room. It is a quick and relatively cheap way of adding colour and pattern.
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