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,
Always remember balance! Avoid grouping colours or patterns
in one area only: distribute them around the room in varying
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
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For a quick and easy way to decorating a bare
wall or corner, try spotlighting flowers on a small table
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
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
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
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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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 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
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