Just recently I was asked for advice on how to give a bedroom a make-over without spending a fortune.
I thought to share these tips on the process with you. Please notice that I did call it a process, because that is what design/décor is all about. It can be a really fun and fulfilling process:
GET THE PICTURE: Let’s start by saying that you need to formulate a picture or image of what you want to achieve right from the start. Spend a bit of time paging through décor mags, blogs and shops. Let your imagination just run wild, because coming out of this first step, you will eventually get the colours, patterns and styles that settle well with you. If you are up for even more fun, then take all the images; put them together to make a mood board. Even more fun is finding ribbons, buttons, bits and bobs that tell the story of your colours. Mix them in with the images to give your mood board life.
COLOUR: Try to keep your basic colour palette of the room neutral – you will have plenty of time to throw in great big dollops of colour with the accessories. By the way- did you know that the trendsetters have indicated that WHITE IS THE NEW BLACK!! “What!” you say – yes I have noticed it as well. A big move to white walls and white furniture, but what makes it more appealing than before, is that into the white schemes, strong colour and texture is added. The white is your blank canvas so to speak.
ACCESSORIES: Make sure that you have at least two items /accessories that are strong in texture and colour, such as scatters, wooden furniture –maybe a headboard, or wood framed easy chair, with a funky patterned scatter on it. Preferably a geometric pattern.
BED: The Bed – needs layers of scatter cushions at the top and layers of bed throws at the foot. The mix of scatters should include different sizes; different fabrics /textures and different patterns. It is the blend of colours that will tie them together. The Headboard – Check out the retails outlets that sell inexpensive buttoned headboards – they are still very much out there.
GLAM: A luxurious full length mirror or print with an ornate frame adds that decadent detail. Definitely can have at least one seriously glam or decadent item, just for that hint of Hollywood.
MONEY: Make sure that you have set yourself a budget and stick with it. This is one of the first things you should do as a budget will give you a guideline as to what you can and can’t afford. Remember to be realistic.
GO SHOP: Ok, now for the best part – you have the picture of what your room is going to look like, it is time to step out to source and select your wares, paint, wallpaper, fabrics etc. Take the time to shop around for the best buy – don’t settle for the first thing you see! More Fun!!
An effortless way to add a little professional decorator pizzazz to your home is to create little décor arrangements or vignettes atop bare tables or shelves. Now, as we defined a couple of weeks ago, a vignette or tablescape is a “grouping or collection of bits and pieces purposefully arranged for display” – you can read the rest of our Décor Dictionary definition: here.
In all essence you are creating a scene or décor still life. A vignette gives your room a more refined appearance – it is an easy way to create a focal point and add interest to your space.
Here are six uncomplicated steps to creating a successful décor vignette…
One of the keys to a successful vignette is unity through a common theme or style. It is important to insure that the style of your tablescape does not veer too far away from your room style – a Shabby Chic-decorated space with a stark Contemporary vignette will look out of place. A vignette does not necessarily have to have a theme; however it is an excellent way to create a cohesive scene. For example: a nautical arrangement.
Vary the height, size, texture, and shape of the objects:
A successful vignette greatly depends on contrast and balance. Give your vignette height – play with a tall vase or a lamp. Mix in décor items – some small, some large; some skinny and tall, others that are short and tubby; round and square; shiny and natural – the interest is in the contradiction.
Create depth by layering:
Work from the back to the front of your table – bigger items at the back, smaller ones at the front. Use a larger object, such as a mirror or piece of art, as an anchor and arrange your collections around that. Don’t be afraid to overlap items – positioning a painting in front of a bigger mirror can be quite effective. Group items instead of placing them in linear lines – this creates the needed dimension.
For some reason odd numbered groupings have a greater visually impact than even numbered ones. Place décor items that share a similar shape, size or colour together in odd numbers – collections of threes work particularly well.
Add something of yourself to the vignette – it is no good replicating a vignette you saw in a magazine or on the net if it doesn’t speak of who you are. Use family photos in a variety of frames or include little keepsakes and mementos (such as grandpa’s old pocket watch). We collect things because we find them interesting or appealing. Why not include a small grouping of what you find beautiful, whether it is pieces of antique cutlery or a couple of ceramic birdies. Add what you love.
Most important of all – fiddle! Take a step back and review your newly created vignette. If it doesn’t sit well with you move items around, eliminate or add as you see fit. Playing forms a big part of decorating. Fiddle until it is just right! And remember… have fun!
According to Wikipedia a Boudoir is “a lady’s private sitting room or dressing room.” Others have added in the phrase “where she would retire to receive friends.”
The term derives from the French verb “bouder” meaning, “to be sulky.” Apparently, young ladies were sent to their “boudoirs” to go and sulk in private. Who would have thought of that association today?
More interesting though is to see how the interpretation of a Boudoir has recently come to denote a style of furnishing for the Bedroom that can traditionally be described as ornate, opulent and sensuous. The focus of which is strongly linked to the Renaissance and French inspired bedroom styles. And even more recently, it includes an opulent spin on the “French Country Cottage” style.
This is a very definite style and is all about ambience, ambience and even more ambience. At the mention of the word “boudoir,” images and descriptions of O.T.T. opulence, glamour, sensuality, intimacy and privacy, dark chocolate, red roses and the like come to mind. You get taken away to scenes from the movies “Moulin Rouge” and “Marie Antoinette”.
So, let’s take a closer look at how to create this decadent private romantic bedroom style, the sensuality of which will seduce all who enter into that chamber.
To achieve an effective boudoir style, lavish layering is essential. In order to add depth to the room, you would include various layers of textures, objects and tones – all of these add further character and dimension.
The Traditional Boudoir
A more “classical” boudoir would be along the Versailles / Moulin Rouge style, with the textures being found in plush, deep velvet fabrics, patterned and plain mixed together; rich silk fabrics (on the lampshades, scatters cushions and bed throws), not forgetting that deep pile damask wallpaper and toiles (non-negotiable). Remember – glamour is key.
The furniture – very much along the lines of the Louis XV style. It can be a chair in the corner, a deep-buttoned headboard, bedside pedestals and ottomans. This style has the slightly curved legs, otherwise known as “cabriole”. The finish on these pieces, either the ever popular gold gilt, dark stained wood or paint. Sheer decadence and opulence.
The last layers will be the accessories, decadent mirrors with ornate frames, glass, silver & mirrored ornaments, lamp bases, vases and all manner of collectables. Then of course, there are the candles – in varying sizes and colours. Naturally, fragranced candles will enhance your sensual ambience. Take the time to group your accessories together – clusters of small mirrors, prints and pictures and any of the above. Oh – never forget that trendy crystal chandelier!
The floor covering should the deep piled rugs, preferably of along the shaggy style. Your feet should feel embraced by the pile of the rug.
To create that intimate space for the classic style look at applying the deep red colour, rich burgundy, pink, purple, royal blue, grey and gold. For a more masculine touch work with black, silver, white and purple.
The French Country Boudoir
If you find the strong textures and tones of the classic boudoir style to overwhelming you can always opt for the ever popular fresh French Country Style. The sensuality and intimacy of this boudoir style is to be found in the romantic softness. The fabrics by contrast are soft, flimsy voiles, natural linens and silks alike, complimented by some country floral patterns.
The same French furniture style is used, but the finish is different. Paint techniqued to look slightly distressed or aged – tones of off-whites, very pale yellows and soft French blues and greys are ever popular.
The bed would be dressed with linen that draws you into its freshness, using neutral tones as complimentary. To add depth, introduce any soft colour with a faded appearance. Add a glimpse of glamour with a sensuous throw and scatter cushions, with a hint of “glitz”.
Maintain the natural essence of this style on the floor, applying natural textured rugs that are sensual in their ruggedness.
Go out there, style and create your prefect boudoir – achievable even on a budget – just shop around and let it evolve.
I love the demure yet moody colour palette of this gorgeous French boudoir bedroom.
Designer Howard Slatkin’s New York apartment. The guest room features a French Empire lit de voyage (portable bed) festooned with silk. An 18th-century Venetian lace coverlet and Louis XVI bedside table and armchair with embroidered period upholstery is in keeping with the sensibility of a chinchilla throw at the foot of the bed. | via http://www.atticmag.com/2010/08/extreme-decorating/
“I am wanting to remodel my flat and I have all these ideas floating in my head about what I want but cant string it all together. Help! How do I know if I am doing the right thing with the space? I’m going for the whole exposed brick and concrete, wood and modern look but I don’t know were to start… can you suggest some tips?”
Décor Diva says:
Firstly – thank you for writing in and giving me the opportunity of being able to give you some input into your flat remodelling project. I am grateful for your expression of trust in us.
It sounds like you are feeling very overwhelmed right now. You are not alone, Chris. Boy, do I know that feeling well! Been there, done that and got the T-shirt. You are probably feeling like you have a huge elephant standing in front of you right now. You know you have to eat it, but where to begin? Ear, trunk, tail, right leg, left leg? While this elephant is standing there, casting this look at you that makes you feel more of a fool, waiting for you to get going, all you want to do is take your knife and fork and go back to doing what you do best.
Whilst I was going through one such a spell, a wise lady told me that I have to stop and discover exactly what this elephant of mine looked like! Did it, in fact, have three legs or four? Did it have a rough or wrinkled skin? It took me a while to realise what she was saying – listen, stop the panic and just define what you have in front of you. When I began to do that, I actually discovered that what I perceived to be this huge elephant was, in fact, a completely manageable baby elephant. One that I could embrace and enjoy.
In your case, I assume that a large part of your dilemma is that you have this jumble of images in your head. Your very first step in defining your remodelled flat would be to take those images out of your head and put them in front of you. You can do this by creating a moodboard. This means that you have to take the time to “do the laps.” Put a bit of time and work into crystallising your dream flat.
In brief, the recipe for the moodboard is this:
Define and own your style. In your case, it sounds like Modern Industrial style or Manhattan loft style living.
Collect images. Grab as many magazines as you can that will reflect this style you want to embrace. Tear out all the images that APPEAL to you. This should include images of wall finishes, floor finishes, kitchen finishes, window treatments, furniture styles, light fittings, art, rugs, accessories, paint colours, general colours, bathroom finishes and layouts.
Browse the net. Include into your research images that which you can pull from the internet. Sites like Tumblr, Pinterest, and interior blogs like Freshome, Contemporist, and other blogs are excellent sources for valuable images and content. Once again when you do your research, be specific in each category. Take it one category at a time. Be specific and relative in the wording of your search. Try not to get distracted. Stay focused on your specific requirement.
Once you are done, pop these pictures that you collected into a scrapbook, plastic sleeves, or boxes that are marked per category. Be specific. When you feel that you have enough images to work with, it might do to begin that process of elimination. Spend time with your collection of categorized images and just remove those that have lost their appeal. Focus on the images that speak to you intuitively and those that correlate with your research material.
Remember that this is all ABOUT YOU AND YOUR STYLE. You need not necessarily be a total purist to the style. If you see something that really tugs at your intuition and it is not necessarily in accordance with the style genre, then include that.
Budget. While you are going about the business of doing this research and development, you should be tackling the matter of your budget at the same time. This is not a step that you want to miss. It forms the scope you can operate within. Again, I would suggest you break it down into categories and make a list of the various items you will need to spend money on. Then, next to each item, put a do-able monetary figure.
In doing it you will be able to set your priorities and map out which tasks to tackle, over what period of time.
Moodboard. Thereafter, it is time to get down and dirty so to speak. Haul out a big board, some scissors and some glue. You can include things like buttons, ribbons, shells, bits ‘n bobs, drift wood, cement bits, decorative paper or such resource material to add depth and texture to enhance the mood of the board. Let your imagination run riot. Then begin the fun bit of placing all these materials, so as to form an overall picture /vision of where you would like to go. Once you are okay with what is in front of you, you can firm up and glue down.
Measure, measure, measure. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to measure. It is imperative to know how much space is available to work with – I have had many a friend and client stuff oversized furniture into a too small a room because they did not space plan. Measure your room – draw a little plan with the basic dimensions on it. Then, when you go out to shop for furniture be sure to jot down the size of each furniture piece. Go home and see how the proposed items will fit into your room plan. Do this BEFORE you buy anything!
Source. Now that you have a more defined vision of the finishes and mood you want to create, it is time to set out and source the items. You may not get the exact stuff or finish, but go for something similar. Visit your local hardware store for paint swatches; your local retail décor outlet; your local tiling outlet, a fabric house or two or whatever finishes you need to pull in. Always remember to refer back to your budget.
And action! Then when you have all your ducks in a row, go out and DO IT!
I know that this sounds like a tedious and lengthy process, but I can assure you that it is well worth it. Plus it is so exciting!! If you are like the Hare in The Hare and The Tortoise tale, (like I am) then you will be keen to move on out of the starters blocks as quickly as you can. But like the Tortoise, I can assure you that slowly-but-surely is the way to get there. Otherwise, I can almost assure you that your dilemma will continue to reel around in your mind. And that Big Ole Elephant will become a permanent resident.
BE FOCUSED, BE SPECIFIC AND ENJOY THE JOURNEY BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IT IS.
Michelle recently contacted The Design Tabloid to ask our resident Décor Diva some advice…
“We have just bought a new house and have a lot of great ideas for decorating (especially from your site!) but the guest bathroom has stumped us! It is huge…with only a toilet and small basin. I would really appreciate your creative ideas! We are open to colour / patterns / anything…it just needs to be budget friendly as we are spending money on other more important aspects of the house! My hubby is a graphic designer and this guest toilet is between the living areas of the house and his design studio and clients /guests will use it.”
Décor Diva says:
In essence, this bathroom dilemma has two primary issues that need to be resolved. One – it is a large, sparsely furnished space that needs to be transformed into something visually “smaller” and more intimate. And two – the necessity to change this drab, blank canvas of a room into a showpiece that pops. Both these issues can be resolved by addressing the same key aspects.
The majority of South Africans still think about bathrooms in a very traditional way – a little room, tiled from floor to ceiling, with some nice towels and a couple of collected seashells as decoration. It should be clean and functional – nothing more… How very sad! Bathrooms, especially guest bathrooms, have awesome feature room potential! It is the perfect little space for a dramatic, over-the-top statement that will make your guests and clients go – “Wow!”
The truth is – we spend a lot of idle time in bathrooms, so why not give us something interesting to stare at while there…
As your husband is a graphic designer and potential clients will often use the loo, I suggest giving him a little more creative reign than usual. View the bathroom as blank billboard space – an extension of his portfolio. There are a multitude of ways he can incorporate some of his work into the bathroom – framed illustrations maybe, or a collection of funky vintage logos.
The basin wall is an excellent space to create a gallery wall – a collection of framed art, prints, photos or funky graphics. The net is filled with awesome images and tutorials illustrating how to put together an attractive feature wall. I’m also loving the current trend of having multiple mirror in various shapes and size on one wall. Speaking of mirrors – do a little secondhand / craft market shopping and see if you can find a nice big ornate vintage mirror for above the basin. Paint the mirror frame in a bright bold colour to turn it into a gorgeous statement piece.
Now, making a large room look cosy is all about décor and visual tricks you can use to create an illusion of a smaller, more intimate space. Walls can be painted in darker, deeper, and bolder colours as they absorb light and make a room look warmer and smaller. Wallpaper is also a great option for this space – something edgy and different (check out Design Kist or Cara Saven). OR, if your husband is feeling especially industrious, he can design something himself that can easily be converted into wallpaper.
Another aspect to consider is furniture. “Whaaat, furniture in the bathroom?” you may ask. Yup, I guess in today’s smaller, contemporary, integrated homes it is not something that we see often. However, in big older houses it was quite a common thing (think Cape Dutch bigger and older).
An underused shelving unit or glass-front cabinet from a living room or bedroom can find new purpose in a bathroom. Stack folded towels and linen along the shelves and display decorative accessories & books. Another cool piece is one of those tiered ladder shelf units (I know @Home has some: here).Otherwise, you can add a funky chair or a sleek little bench seat to the area next to the basin. Include a round side table between the bench seat and the toilet – stack it with books or comics for some good on-the-loo reads.
Last thing, instead of using the traditional (and oudoos) bathroom mat set – you know, the small mat in front of the toilet and another in front of the basin – buy a gorgeous big rug to ‘ground’, balance and add warmth to your space. Your bathroom is the perfect size to accommodate a bigger rug and since no bathing or showering is involved you won’t have to worry about water damage. The Kilim type rugs are super trendy right know.
Below find some inspirational image I sourced from around the net. They are in various interior styles but the principles are sound – you can just ‘translate’ it into your preferred style…
Hope this put you on the right path to an awesome guest bathroom! Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Love, Rose x x x
Click on the images below to be redirected to the relevant image sources:
It was only a few years ago that I discovered that January is the international goal setting month of the year. Or so it seemed then and still seems this year. Almost all types of business blogs and others seem to focus on getting your goals for the years sorted, and then chunking it down to smaller bite size pieces. I even got introduced to the South Africa’s “Fairy Godmother”, Donna McCallum, last year when listening to our local talk radio show. And this year was no exception for the re-appearance of the Fairy Godmother and her magic wand that she waves over you to motivate you into reaching your goals.
So, I am not exactly the Fairy Godmother, but I rather fancy the idea of waving my magic wand in your direction, to inspire you to re-visit your interior spaces, with a view to setting some goals that will usher in some fresh elements to office or home.
Marica and I so often have these awesomely interesting discussions around interiors and I have wished that it could be more public so that many others could draw the benefit of these as well. One of the topics that we touched on in length last year was the fact that we get so accustomed to living with stuff, that we don’t even begin to notice that the curtains are fading, or that the clutter is growing on the desk, or that our décor is beginning to date, developing a rather stale appearance.
So, let’s join that “IT’S A GOAL” mob and set a few goals re: the interior design and décor of your space right now – it is January after all.
Goals should apparently be SMART: (My response to that is: of course they are smart – they originate from me and that makes them smart).
Seriously though, that acronym looks like this:
S – SPECIFIC
M – MEASURABLE
A – ATTAINABLE
R – RELEVANT
T – TIME – BOUND
1. The “research” phase: – get into the décor mags and those online décor blogs, just so that you can see what is out there in terms of trends, colour, style and what the retailers have to offer. Remember – the objective is to keep your décor fresh and vibrant.
2. Grab hold of a pen and a notebook. Then take a slow stroll through your house or office. Do it room by room – slowly.
3. Stop and take a long look around the room. Remember to view the room through new and creative “lens” and particularly with a view to bringing in “freshness”.
4. Note all the things that have bugged you terribly in the past and which have become the things that are put off being done. That then becomes the “priority list” items on the “TO DO LIST“. Then note all the things that would be on your “wish list”.
5. Don’t make it an unattainable and unrealistic wish list – rather focus on that which you know could be easy to do and that which would not break the bank to buy.
6. After you have covered each room, chunk it down even further (this I have discovered is a well worn cliché in the “goal setting” scenario).
As an example: After having been through my house, I instinctively know that my bedroom is the one room that needs the most refreshing work done in it.
7. Next step after chunking down do a short list of “TO DO GOALS” – set out a list of no more than four actions that need to be achieved. E.g. – “paint 2 walls a contrasting colour. And – freshen scatters with new fabrics.”
8. Thereafter; chunk those actions down into the real “stuff to get” list. E.g. – select paint colour, – chunk it down further, asking questions like, WHO (will paint) WHERE (to buy paint) and WHAT (colour paint). In terms of say scatters; WHAT (fabrics & patterns) WHERE (will I buy); etc. STICK WITH THE LISTS – IT HOLDS YOU ACCOUNTABLE AND RE-INFORCES THE ACTIONS.
9. Now that you know exactly what it is you need to do and also to buy, SET YOURSELF A BUDGET. Put a figure next to each line item and try to stay within those confines. This alleviates emotional and impulse spending
10. LASTLY – set yourself a realistic time frame in which to perform and complete this task. I would recommend no longer than three months. Just to circumvent boredom. Long term goals are different animals, but that does not exclude them.
These tips are not foolproof by any means, but I reckon that it is a step in the SMART direction.