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Some basic decisions have to be made at this stage, but the budget and the circumstances will determine whether you are starting from scratch ,or  changing rooms.

Starting from scratch we will deal with one room here as an example.



If contractors are to be involved in this process then more information on how to use them can be found in managing contractors.

Lets start from with the assumption that you have taken into account the users and the uses of the room (see remit) and that  the room is now ready to decorate and furnish

But what to buy first?

Bearing in mind the constraints of course, try to form a picture of yourself in the finished room. Imagine how you want to feel in it. Is it cosy? Is it relaxed? Is it safe, serene, stimulated cheerful outgoing? If you can imagine how you want to feel in the room, then when you head out to find the different pieces to build it up, hopefully you will see something that inspires that feeling

Maybe you can see the colours.

If so then it is always a good idea to start with the items that cost a lot of money. The flooring can be a good place to start.  Donít buy yet. Get samples of your choice and several shades around and about it. Carry them everywhere.

Now you need to fall in love with something. It can be the sofa or a table or a fabric.

Lets say for example you fall for a fabric. Looking at it helps you to see this room . Visualize how it will look. What fabric treatment it lends itself to. A picture is building up already and there should be a style emerging as the elements come together.

Donít buy the fabric yet. Add the sample or samples to the pack and move onto the sofas say. Always measure furniture so that you can place it on your floor plan later to see if itís practical.













When you have put all the elements together one by one you can fine tune it. Would that combination look better on the lighter carpet? Would that sofa be better in that fabric?

Once these decisions are made, and this should be exciting and fun, you can then order the goods.

Overhead lighting and wall lighting should have been taken into account in the early stages under contractors, but table lamps and pictures and mirrors and ornaments are now the icing on the cake.

When you move these items into place the room is finally how you envisioned.

"Iíd like to say here that if you love something to bits, it can be a picture or an ornament or a special piece of furniture, this can be as good a starting point as any."

Many a room has been worked up from something like this.


Changing rooms is about working with or around existing elements

Assuming that this means you are changing only some aspects of a room and are working  around an existing situation:

It could be the carpet that has to stay, or the furniture. It could be that you want them to stay.

Maybe you just want to freshen up the colour, or change the sofa, or the curtains.

Which ever of these scenarios apply, the hints given in from scratch will help.


The difference here is that you start with an item or elements that canít change and so you are up and running already.

Take the elements you have and clear away in your mind the elements that can go.

Try and bring it back to only what will be there in the end and work the room up again from there.

Look at our style and treatment pages if youíre fed up with the look. If you want to change the mood think colours.

Always remember the floor plan and measuring and always carry with you whatever you can to match up against. You can even pick up carpet fluff if you have to and stick it on some cellotape to keep it safe. Carry about a cushion or a tie back or a paint colour. You may seem eccentric but who cares.


The Remit | The Look | Measuring | Managing the Budget | Managing the Project | Managing the Contractors