elicits strong responses at both ends of the emotional spectrum. People either
love or hate getting busy with rollers, ladders, paste and paper. Then there’s
the subjective mire of what ‘decorative’ means. For some, it connotes flounces
and vivacity galore; for others, simplicity, wood and white.
choose to pretty, perfect or camouflage our homes is a profoundly personal
decision. It could be a tangible expression of something going on inside or a
declaration of how we wish to be perceived. The two are sometimes different.
Overlay the various winds of fashionable change, rights and apparent wrongs,
not to mention the individual likes and dislikes of family members, and it’s
not surprising that many find the process daunting. But, whether prompted by
need or desire, decorating is how you make your home your own, so whichever way
you choose to do it is right, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Beyond
questions of style, there are practical issues to consider, so herewith my personal technique dos and don’ts:
- Start with
the envelope of your home (walls, ceilings, floors) before buying new
furniture. It is important to determine where you feel big pieces should go,
but your foundation must come first.
your electrics to the point of obsession (and put in more sockets and switches
than you think you’ll need – you will need them), chase all of the wires into
the walls and re-plaster for a perfect finish. Then, and only then, consider
painting or papering. It takes a good-quality base to get a good-quality finish
(and there’s nothing worse than exposed cables or trunking!).
- Spend the
most you can afford on floors and kitchen countertops – two surfaces that
you’ll spend a long time looking at. Your floor, in particular, underpins your
scheme. Don’t go cheap; wait until you can get what you really want. In the
interim, depending on the finish, a good floor paint and rugs can conceal a
multitude of sins.
- On window
walls, if you go for color, paint the frame in the same shade so that you
‘frame’ the view. Unless your window casing is ornate, do not make a feature of
it. Likewise with doors: match the frames to the surround; it’s about planes of
color, not punctuated surfaces. The exception is cornicing, which should, I
believe, be the same color as the ceiling.
Your Home using gloss paint on the
ceiling. I’ve used it throughout my home and love the way it reflects light.
Don’t just default to white, either.
- Do put
tiles anywhere you please and mix materials with abandon. I’ve even used them
for headboards, combining marble off cuts with oversize ceramic tiles.
- Don’t be
afraid to use black. Gloss finishes (lacquer, paint or tiles) brighten, rather
than darken, as they bounce light around. When you combine noirish textures in
a space, the overall effect can be sophisticated and sleek, not gloomy.
- You cancollage various different runs of wallpaper together; no one says that you have
to use one print per wall. See it instead as vertical bands of pattern.
Anaglypta’s textured wall coverings for instant three-dimensional pattern that
you can color as you wish. If you want to go to town, choose Lincrusta, whose
super-thick, deeply embossed wall covering comes as panels and friezes. It’s
even been used in the White House!
- Choose your
lights last. Think of them as the jeweler of your home: they are your finishing