We asked Lynne Charest, president of The Tasteful Girlfriend, to give us advice for couples planning their home.
She says “Buy the professonal services of a decorator by the hour! That small investment can have a huge return by saving you big dollars in making mistakes. That’s how we work with couples on a budget. In just a few hours we can give them a colour layout, furniture placement and what to shop for that can transform their space. At the other end of the scale, we take on major renovations that can take months to complete.”
- Decorating starts with pulling pictures from magazines that inspire you.
- It includes being realistic about your lifestyle and your budget, then furnishing accordingly.
- Put your money on base building finishes if you’re updating an old home.That is, flooring, tiles, baseboards of substance, door frames, doors, hardware, a quality updated kitchen and quality plumbing fixtures. These are the items that add value to your home.
- Avoid over-furnishing a room. Shop with room measurements in hand. Bring along photos of pieces you already have for that room. Do not overbuy.
- Paint or stain an outdated piece of furniture to fit into the new scheme. Your Aunt Adele’s old dresser may make a beautiful bathroom vanity.
- Don’t buy all new. Reuse!
- Save money on window coverings if side panels are sufficient.
- Always use a lined drape with fabric that will withstand sunshine.
- Do not choose your paint colours until you have chosen your furniture, linens and base building finishes.
- Have a flow of colour throughout the house. Use dark colour sparingly – for a powder room or an accent wall.
- Use mirrors to bring in light or to add dimension.
- Avoid clutter.
- Don’t hang artwork too high. Be minimal. A cluster of art may be enough.
- Avoid arranging furniture around the perimeter of the room. Pull out some pieces and float them.
- Lighting is super important. Feature what is important with good lighting.
How to use a decorator
- If you’re on a tight budget, use a decorator that offers an houry rate. Just a conversation may be all you need.
- Get prices upfront for the decorator’s services.
- For a major reno, get billed by the week so it doesn’t unknowingly add up.
- Be specific about what advice you need. Do you want just a few hours for colour and furniture-placement advice? Do you want the decorator to go shopping with you? Do you want detailed colour sketches? Do you want a major renovation?