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Designer Tips

Paint Tips
Do-It-Yourself Aesthetic Tips

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Use cool colours in a room that receives a lot of direct sunlight for balance; for a room that doesn't receive much light, select a warm colour.

When selecting from small swatches, remember that they will look quite different when applied to large areas. Also, keep in mind that a paint swatch will look darker when painted on the wall.

Consider using metallic paints with halogen lighting to add sparkle to a room.

As a general rule, have lower colours be darker than higher colours. If you want to give your scheme a sense of foundation and grounding, for example, select a dark flooring.

Always visualize your design ideas in the appropriate context, and in three dimensions. View the samples as you would see them when your home is finished: look at wallpaper vertically against a wall; look at a carpet swatch on the floor and not on a table.

If you are using a chair rail in a room, is is easier on the eye if the colour below is darker than the colour above, it grounds the scheme.

Always visualize your ideas in 3D, and view the samples as you would see them, for example view the carpet on the floor, not a table, the wallpaper - hold it up against the wall don't look at it on the table horizontally.

If you want your space to have a certain theme, or look as though it comes from a certain time period/ cultural context, make certain that you have done adequate research. See that the appropriate fabrics, wallpapers, furniture, lights, etc. can be properly sourced and installed.

Use patterns more than once in a room for a sense of presence and continuity. If you intend to use numerous patterns, make sure there is some unifying element that ties them together: a color or design, for example.

Select one dominant colour, two at most, and use other colours as complements and accents.
If you select a monochromatic scheme, i.e. a design with only one colour, use items with texture to avoid a flat, uninteresting space.

Always remember balance! Avoid grouping colours or patterns in one area only: distribute them around the room in varying proportions.

We perceive cool colours to recede from us and warm colours to advance. Dark colours may seem heavy and enclosing, while light colors make the space appear larger and more spacious. Use colours appropriately to fit the tone of your room.

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For a quick and easy way to decorating a bare wall or corner, try spotlighting flowers on a small table or stand.

Use separate switching and dimmers to keep your lighting possibilities as flexible as possible.

Be careful if you decide to colour one wall to feature it: it may alter the perception of depth or width in the room which can be a disaster if it was not intentionally planned.

Don't put valuable art in direct sunlight or near a fireplace or heater, as it will cause discoloration and warp frames.

Think about the long term when purchasing furniture. It's much easier to change your accessories than large, expensive items like a sofa. If, for example, you use bright bold upholstery fabric today, you may not enjoy it so much a year from now.

If you have artwork you wish to highlight, lighting it properly is very important. Installing specialist lighting enhances this focal point and creates a wonderful piece discussion starter.

If you are installing fluorescent lighting, remember that it comes in a variety of colour temperatures. Make sure that the one you choose is appropriate for the context by checking with your supplier.

Try moving furniture and accessories around from season to season. You can alter cushions and covers to create different looks and feelings.

Keep convenience in mind. For example, lever door handles can be moved by leaning on them while knobs cannot require a grip; this makes it much easier to open the door if your arms are full.

Balance your lighting layout with natural light sources by using windows or reflective surfaces.

If you are going to use tiles, remember that porcelain tiles have the colour the whole way through: as such, they usually wear better than a coloured glaze tile that only has surface colouring.

We must emphasize that any final colour you select for a wall will look different than the little colour chip sample. Request, if possible, a large sample and view it in the desired space, or obtain test pots to try the paint directly on the wall.

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When choosing cupboards or shelves, the top shelf should always be at a maximum of 2 metres or six feet so that you can safely reach it.

When considering a side board, chest of drawers or a kitchen bench, always allow space for your toes to slip underneath the unit when standing against it.

Envision your home 5, 10, 20 years from now, and plan ahead. You may not be able to build an additional room, ensuite, etc. at the moment, but you just might renovate in the future. By installing the appropriate plumbing and wiring now, you'll avoid disruption when you start additional work.

For windows, while double-glazing will increase thermal insulation significantly, it will not do much for sound insulation. Use double windows with a distance of at least 100mm or 4 inches between the windows and seal all openings.

To avoid rushed last minute decisions that may cost you extra money, select and purchase as many of the fittings and fixtures as you can at the beginning.

Take photos, if possible, of the space you are going to work with. They provide a terrific source of reference for design planning, matching furniture and fabrics, and will save you time and effort. When you are explaining what fabric you have and what new fabric you want, for example, you can simply show the space in which you plan to install them.

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Paint Tips
Custom painting is recommended only after the 1st year anniversary of move-in

Select high quality paint products. It's best to start right rather than find out you have to repaint your house and disrupt your life later. If you are uncertain of what you're purchasing, ask an expert to describe the various products and specifications and determine the one that's best for your home.

Textured paint is only really appropriate for ceilings that require major work. It is thick and lumpy and reflects the light in multiple directions, successfully hiding imperfections. You may even consider creating patterns in the paint using specialist rollers. It is not recommended for walls as it is abrasive and tends to catch dust.

When considering colour, always use a test pot before you buy paint. Apply it in a space where you can simulate the correct lighting conditions. Remember that it can be costly and time consuming to repaint because the product from the tin looked different from the sample paint chip!

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Do-It-Yourself Aesthetic Tips
Do you have items of furniture, artwork, carpets, or other objects that must be a part of your design scheme? Use things that you already have around you that you love as a starting point and work from there.

Are there any colours that you intensely like or dislike? Keep these in mind as you decide on your scheme. Also, remember that your family may not share your tastes. Paint some large pieces of card and prop them against a wall: you will get accustomed to them, and you'll be able to figure out which ones work or don't work in your space.

Are there any outdoor features that you would like to view or hide from view? If you will be looking out at a concrete wall, for example, perhaps it would be appropriate to use shutters as decoration or drape some fabric across your window. The opposite is also true: why cover a window if you have a great view of the lake?

Does your family have similar tastes? It's often obvious what you like: you might always select similar things in magazines or gravitate to particular forms of furniture when shopping. Try and determine the style that best suits all you, both aesthetically as well as practically. You can do this by perusing magazines together, picking out what you like and finding a common underlying theme.

Do you want the furniture and fixtures to be the central focus or the space itself? What is the primary function of your house? Is it a place to live, or is it a work of art? Consider keeping one room as the central focus for guests to display your artwork and your sense on style, and keep the rest a fashionable and functional place to live.

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