Category Archives: How To

Bedroom Makeover Without Breaking The Bank

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:

1GET 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.

2COLOUR:   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.

3ACCESSORIES:  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.

4BED: 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.

5GLAM:   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.

6

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.

7GO 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!!

 ALWAYS HAVE FUN DOING YOUR DÉCOR.  CHEERS

6 Steps To Creating A Perfect Vignette

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…

{please click images to enlarge}

1Stick to a style or theme: 

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.

2Vary 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.

3Create 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.

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4

Group objects in odd numbers:

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.

5Get personal:

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.

6Fiddle:

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!

{please click images to enlarge}

Décor Diva: The Secret To A Decadent Boudoir Bedroom

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.

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (5)

{The Grosvenor Hotel launched its opulent ‘Courtesan’s Boudoir’. The Parisian-inspired Suite has been tenderly created in homage to one of the grand railway hotel’s most infamous visitors – the scandalous courtesan, Miss Cora Pearl.}

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (7)

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (8)

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (9)

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (3)

{Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9}

Ask Décor Diva: Where Do I Start With My Interior Project?

Chris writes:

“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 an 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, lefty 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:

I love this moodboard by Decor8’s Holly Becker. It’s illustrates how uncomplicated and fun creating a moodboard can be. {image: thorsten becker}

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 necessary 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.  The 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.

A lovely moodboard Holly Becker of Decor8 put together for Anthropologie. {image: will / bright bazaar}

Measure, measure, measure. I cannot emphasizes 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!

{image: nullplus via istock}

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.

Yours in service of interiors,

Love, Rose  x x x

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