Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Decorating on a Budget

So here i was dreaming of that HGTV makeover where a design dream team (my husband and i)  would crash the house, and within a few days, i'll get one of those magazine picture perfect house that i would completely fall in love with. But the reality is that i didnt want to pay much . So i set up a budget and decided to tackle one room at a time, and it worked.
Here is a step by step on how i managed to do it.

1) I prioritized what room i really wanted to start with.  We spend most of our time in the main floor, its the first room to see when you enter the house, and its where i entertain guests too. I didnt want them thinking "what kind of a designer is this!" .  Needless to say, that was my choice.

2) I set up a budget. I was working around  $2000 for the kitchen, living and dining room. I knew it wasnt going to be exact, but at least i wont crazily overspend
3) Know exactly what the function of the room is. The main floor was a combination of a TV room, formal living space and kids play area. So i wanted it to be cozy & comfy , have enough seatings for guests, and enough storage for a clutter& toys free room.

4) Create a plan on furniture re-arrangment. My space before was divided to an incomplete formal living room, a family room and dining room. It didnt work out because before we even moved into our new house, my husband and i made the mistake of buying a huge, expensive white leathered sectional ($ 4000) that turned out to be too bulky for the space.
In my new plan. i divided the space into three different zones , a piano zone , a living/family room and dining room.
Before : A boring Beige, Cluttery room

4) Decide on what furniture to keep and what furniture to re-use in another room or sell. I had to keep that expensive bulky couch, actually my whole space planning was around it. And although its white and the first instict would say kids and white furniture dont go hand in hand, but it actually does. Personally , i think its even better than the tanned suede furniture i had before because once anything spills, all i have to do is get some paper towel and voila ...all new. I also kept the dining furniture , a love seat and two rugs. Basically i had the main furniture and now i needed to add storage to hide all the toys behind and accesorize the space.

After : Still Beige, but definetly not boring anymore. Its still
missing a wall shelf for the entertainment center and a painting
over the piano.

5) After knowing what furniture im keeping, i decided on a color scheme and theme that will work with what i have. I had a modern sectional and the rest of the furniture was traditional , which means that im having an eclectic room, and since im working on a budget, i didnt re-paint the house as the house was a couple of years old, and i didnt add wall paper. The walls remained a tan color. My inspiration was the rug. It was a mix of tan, silver-blue, white and a little bit of black. There you go...that was my color scheme.

6) Time to buy some furniture. I  went to Ikea and bought a bookcase as a media center/storage and added mirrors to the back to give it some customed look . I also found a small blue arm chair that fits perfectly next to the fireplace , a few tables, ready made draperies , a mirror and couple of white dining chairs. I also bought backsplash for the kitchen and fireplace wall. My target was to get furniture on sale that fits my color scheme.

7)And for the finishing touch , accessories accessories and more accessories.

At the end,I went a little overbudget, but i wanted my house to look appealing with whatever little budget i had,  and thats what i got.

In a future post, i'll write about how i pulled all the design together, mixing my old furniture with the new ones, so make sure to visit my blog again for some more design talk.

After : Yup, still missing a base moulding

The Kitchen after adding backsplash

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Designing in Green and Purple

This summer, i decided to try gardening and add some colors to my boring brown front and backyard. I didnt know where to start except that the color scheme i had in mind was white and pink . I went to the plant nursery, bought some bushes and planted them in my frontyard. A week later, i was surprised by all the beautiful flowers that bloomed, and even more surprised that out of all these, my favourite was the unexpected (for me) bloom of the purple flowers on one of the bushes. Then i noticed that whenevcer i pass by any front yard, my eyes kept drawn to the purple flowers.
To start a design , you need an inspiration. This time a beautiful lavender plant is what inspired me. If nature decided that these color combination is beautiful, then it'll definitely look good in a room as well.
Here are a few pictures for inspiration on decorating with green and purple.

But first, this is an example of how green and purple can go horribly ..i mean HORRIBLY wrong. so unless you choose the right shades and design, please do not attept to try it at home.

If you have any ideas that you would like to share, please do .

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fear of Colors

People are different. Kids are even more different. Some kids are more different as other kids. So is their feeding habits, so is thier fears. Some kids fear clowns. Yes, Clowns. I thought all kids feared sharks, wasps, bees, but no, some of them even fear the clowns. I was a very unique kid with a very unique fear. You see, that was the fear of colors. Before studying design, i used to think of myself as such a great decorator, matching the same color all over the place, mostly tans and browns and then for my decorator moment, i would add a few small accents of the same color and all of them should be of the same shade. When i was chosing the paint color for my house , i looked at all those funny shades of colors and wondered what would they use them for. red???  purple ?? turqoise and oh ... yellow ? But then i realized a whole new world of colors. Colors shouldn't be feared of. They should be in every part of our life . Different colors sets different moods . Warm colors such as red , yellow and orange evokes emotions such as comfort , feeling of warmth or anger. Cool colors, like blue, purple and green are calming and refreshing. So, i decided to experiment with colors and overcome my fear.
 A client loved the color red but didnt know how to use it in decorating her space. I decided to choose a beautiful brick red paint as an accent to the longest wall in the living /dining room , and covered the rest of the walls with white paint. the main furniture pieces were neautrals , except for an arm chair, where the fabric choice was brown and red strips. And then i played around with red and blue accents. The space turned out to be beautiful and cozy. Not flashy like i would've imagined before. I was able to "tame" the bold choice of red paint with the softer colors in the rest of the room.

If you fear colors like i used to , try to experiment around. All it takes is a bucket of paint, some brushes,  a tape , and a few accessories like throw pillows , vase and small decorating items.
Start by chosing a color scheme for your entire house. My rule is to use a max of 5 colors and alternate these colors throughout the whole house to create a sense of unity.In each room choose one main color ,one main accent color and up to three smaller accent colors. And the best thing is that if you didnt like something, you can easily change it, so have no fear of the wheel color.
Now when i look back at pix and glance my old spaces, man how boring and lifeless they were. Thank you colors for bringing life to our lives.