My Decorating Hints Part 1

I put together the following list in the hope that it would assist you in creating the designer finish you may be looking for. They are the basics/tools that we decorators/designers find help us a lot on a project. I hope that you too will find them useful.


Test drive a prospective new sofa. Sit, lie down, put your feet up. Testing before buying can avoid costly mistakes.

Make sure to measure doorways, staircases, hallways and elevators. You want to avoid being unable to get the sofa into your home!


Prices can vary greatly. It’s a good idea and can be veryworthwhile to get at least three different quotes. Understand that the lowest quote isn’t necessarily the best deal and they may not be quoting on exactly the same level of scope of work.

Plumbing and electrical fixtures should be CSA approved to ensure you get approval from the inspector.

Make regular visits and be available to make quick decisions and/or to deal with unforeseen changes. You also want to ensure that the work is progressing according to plan.

Check references and listen to your gut instincts.

Make sure you order things early. You will be surprised at the lead time required. To keep delays to a minimum, place orders two to three months before work is set to start.

A good thing: make sure you and your partner look at magazines & catalogues to determine your decorating style. You will be very glad you did this!


Colour is one of the best tools for a small space. Avoiding high contrast between walls and furniture will visually increase your space.

Furnishings in small spaces should be dual purpose, portable, functional, wall-hung, modular or built-in. Examples such as sofa beds or day-beds, tables with drop leaves or that fold, nesting tables, stacking or folding chairs, slipper-chairs, storage ottomans that allow for both extra seating and storage. A Parsons style table that can be used both for a dining table and a desk.

Using the wall space (think vertical), for built-in cabinets and shelves for storage and/or display. Furniture with legs instead of skirted, will increase the space visually and give a light and airy feeling.

Consider a custom built closet. It is a good way to use every bit of space you have available.

Consider using adjustable rods and shelves that will allow you to rearrange your closet according to your changing needs.

Sliding doors/pocket doors are a great option to regular doors; such as closet doors, bathroom doors, powder room doors.

Don’t select paint colours, fabrics or anything until you have taken them home and viewed them there at different times during the day. The fluorescent lighting in stores is generally not the lighting you have in your home and therefore the colours and textures will look totally different there. Take paint samples home and ask for fabric swatches. You will be glad you took the extra time to do so.

Hang you chandelier 30” above your dining table if you ceilings are 8’ high. For a higher ceiling, hang the fixture 3” higher for every additional foot.

Dining room lighting. Secondary lighting is a good idea. For instance, wall sconces and either lamps or candles on top of a buffet would look great. Don’t forget to use a dimmer switch for the chandelier and adding candlelight to the table provides a wonderful atmosphere.

A “baseboard” tip. To add height to existing baseboards, install a small 2” piece of moulding 1-2” above existing baseboard (thick end up, thin end down). Paint both mouldings and the wall space between them your chosen trim colour (a warm white would work well). This trick will give the impression of higher baseboards.

That garage sale find such as a side table can be renewed with spray paint and new hardware such as sexy crystal knobs for a bedroom or guest room.

Stay with your chosen colour scheme and decorating style throughout your home. By doing this you will create a home that is harmonious and has a sense of flow and rhythm.

Take your swatches and colour chips with you when you go out shopping. This will be of great help in keeping to both your colour scheme and decorating style.  Carrying a small retractable measure tape is a good thing, it will ensure what you are considering purchasing will fit.

Choose your flooring first and work up from there. It will make things much easier when choosing the rest of your furnishings. Trust me on this one.

Leave a Reply