My friend emailed and asked about advice with choosing a paint color. I would consider three things:
1.Function-What is the function of the room? How often are you in the room? I always pick a neutral color for our family room, for example, because we are in that room the most. I want to be able to change the accent pieces frequently because I get bored with that room quickly. It is easier to have a neutral paint color that will match many different accent colors in "well-loved" rooms.
2.Mood-What type of mood are you trying to create? Warm and inviting. Cool and relaxing. Bright and cheerful. Playful. The color has a pretty powerful affect on mood.
3.Lighting-Look at paint swatches in the sunlight, especially yellows, reds and browns. (Bigger rooms with more windows are obviously more appropriate for darker colors.) Don't trust the neon lights in the store!
*Just for the record, I buy cheap paint. I know a decorator would frown on my paint choice. But I have fallen for Wal-Mart paint. I have used it in two rooms and loved the quality and finished product. Both my bedroom and family room are Wal-Mart's brand. Their paint costs around $11.50 per gallon. If you want higher quality, Behr has seasonal sales at Home Depot. For example, we bought $250 worth of paint when we built our last house. We shopped during July 4rth weekend and received a 50% rebate. We painted our entire house for $125. Also, check out the paint's website for coupons.
How to get started
Another friend asked me how to make a house look more like a home.
-I always decorate my kitchen and bedrooms first. Then I work my way down to the bathrooms. In this house, our playroom and bathrooms are the last rooms on my list that need a personal touch. With three little ones, it has taken me two years to paint and decorate the other rooms.
-Pick an inspiration for the room. I usually choose a painting, but it could also be a rug, clock, or anything you love. In my kitchen it was a platter. Draw out your accent colors from this piece.
-Buy your paint and paint first.
-Accent pieces may tell a story. On my mantel, there is symbolism in each item that I have chosen. Bundle of grass-gardening/outdoors/my husband's dreams, books-learning and reading, pitcher and bowls-family meals, etc. Or your decor may just represent things that you find interesting or lovely. If you have the time, enjoy the process and pick up little things here and there that have meaning. I love to go to thrift stores and yard sales for these types of items.
-Pictures- I include pictures of our family in almost every room. It is completely unnecessary, but it makes me happy.
-Creativity- If you enjoy creating your own artwork, don't be shy. It's frugal and "home-made" is in! Or you may like home-made, but not your own. Check out etsy.com.
-Remember that the center of a piece of art should be at eye-level. There is nothing worse than having to stoop or crane your neck to enjoy something that is meant to be a focal point.
-Display things with symmetry and balance in mind. But at the same time, don't try to be too matchy. If you are confused about how to display accent pieces, just look in a Cottage Living or Southern Living or any other interesting decorating magazine. There will be plenty of examples.
-This leads to my next suggestion...don't be afraid to look for inspiration in magazines or other blogs. Cut out and save the decorating ideas that you like in a folder or file. I began doing this when we were searching for our first home nine years ago. You will begin to see a common thread and your decorating style will be revealed. Then when you have the time to decorate a room you will have plenty of ideas from which to be inspired. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery! Many a wall in my house is a reproduction of someone else's creativity. You don't have to be an artist to have a home that you enjoy!
Some have asked for instructions for creating silhouettes. They really are easy. The hardest part for me was getting a good profile picture! The rest was simple. Look here for more information.