Month: March 2016

Affordable DIY home decorating ideas

Moved into a new house and need some home decorating ideas? Want to refresh your current home and not sure where to start? Decorating is a chance to personalize your space to suit your needs and your taste. Read on for tips on how to do it on a budget.

If you’re not sure where to start, but know you want to do it yourself, consider your budget first. How much you have to spend on décor will determine how much you can tackle.

Next, decide which room is the highest priority. Try not to bite off more than you can chew. You may want to start in the space you spend the most time in such as the bedroom or living room. Here are a few DIY home decorating ideas that will fit into any budget.

Change up the paint

This is possibly the easiest and often most impactful change you can make for your home décor. Before heading to the hardware store to pick paint, take a measurement of the area you want to cover so you’ll know how much paint you need to buy. (The store clerk will help you calculate this.)

If you’re having trouble deciding on a colour, bring a few sample paint strips home to consider against the walls. You can also buy a small can of custom colour paint to test. Keep in mind that most paint darkens slightly as it dries. You may require more than one coat, so consider that when purchasing your paint. If you have kids who are old enough to help, this can be a fun family project.

Choose different textiles

Rugs, curtains and throw pillows offer warmth and can help make a room feel complete. Use textiles to add a splash of colour. There are hundreds of fabrics used in home textiles and finished soft products, offering you a wide variety of price points.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Textiles can be easily replaced, so this is a safe place to play with the latest home décor colour trends. If you have access to a sewing machine, even better! Use it to create window treatments or new pillow covers for existing throws.

Decorate the walls with small accents

The walls of your home are a great place to showcase your passions. This can include photos of family, friends, places you’ve visited, artwork by your kids or just pictures that inspire you.

Framing can easily cost hundreds of dollars with a professional framer. But you can achieve a similar look with less expensive, store-bought versions. Search home décor magazines or websites for ideas on framing and hanging, including family photographs hung in varying size and style frames look great in stairwells. For a larger impact, have your favourite photograph professionally blown up to poster size and hang it on a feature wall.

Shadow boxes are deep frames that can display three-dimensional objects, instead of a flat image. Use shadow boxes to display personal mementos like baby’s first shoes, collections or medals.

Making your house a home through these home decor ideas can be fun. You – and your wallet – will feel the positive effects of doing it yourself.

5 furniture arrangement tips for a perfect room layout

When you’re decorating a room, basic rules can help you make the most of your space. Use these five basic pointers to place your furniture in its ideal arrangement.

1. Avoid doors and windows

It’s important to take the room’s architecture into consideration when decorating. If there are windows, arrange furniture without blocking them.

You can place a low-backed sofa in front of a window, but avoid placing high shelves and other big objects in the way of incoming natural light.
It’s also important to make sure that nothing is standing in the way of entrances or doorways.

2. Make the most of small spaces

If you’re decorating a small room, big furniture such as couches and bookshelves can be pushed against the wall to make the most of the space.

You want to make sure not to overcrowd the room. Uou should be able to walk easily through the room without having to squeeze around furniture.

3. Create a central spot

When decorating a family room or living room, arrange the furniture to create a main island or central place where the seating converges.

These friendly furniture islands encourage conversation.

4. Use variety

Vary the size of furniture and decorations used in a room. It makes the space appear fuller, creating a richer, more welcoming impression.

You can also try to maintain symmetry by using pieces of similar height on opposite sides of the room.

5. Contrast

When designing a room, contrast can be a powerful tool to bring your styles together.

Combine curved lines with straight lines so that spaces don’t appear too stiff and boxy.
It’s also good to pair solids with empty spaces — if you have a thick, solid armoire, pair it with a light bookshelf or lamp.

Have fun

Interior design should be fun! These are just a few basic tips to use as rules of thumb, but it’s also important to bring your own taste and personal aesthetic into every room you design.

Tips to make your paint last

Paint can last longer than you think; up to 10 years for latex, 15 for alkyd. Regardless of what type of paint you’re using and what you’re using it for, make sure you’re doing what you can to make your paint last.
Is this paint okay to use?

With latex or alkyd, test old paint before using it by stirring it for several minutes.
If the paint mixes well and any lumps disappear, it’s probably okay to use.
Try brushing it onto newspaper and check for lumps. If there are none, feel free to use the paint.

Make drip holes in paint cans

When you first open the can, use a nail or a nail set along with a hammer to punch six or seven holes into the groove in the top of the can into which the lid seats.
The holes allow any paint that collects in the groove to drain back into the can.
Besides preventing the messy squirt of paint, the can will seal better and you won’t get a buildup of dried paint that can drop into the can.

Keep latex paints from freezing

Repeated freeze-and-thaw cycles will ruin latex paint.
Store paint in a dry place where temperatures stay above freezing, such as a basement.
Don’t store paints in sunlight or near a heat source.

Clear spray nozzles

When using a can of spray paint, hold it upside down upon completion of your paint session and press the button or trigger until no more paint sprays from the nozzle.
This cleans out the nozzle so that it won’t be clogged the next time you go to use the spray can.

Get the last drops

It’s frustrating. There is no paint coming out of the spray can, but you can still feel paint sloshing around inside.
The paint pickup tube may be on the side opposite the direction you are spraying.
Twist the nozzle half a turn and try again.

Preserve leftover paint

To avoid getting rust and paint flakes in your paint, you can pour the paint into a plastic bottle or a glass jar with a screw lid.
But don’t let any paint get on the threads of the lid or you won’t be able to reopen the container. I
f you do get paint on the threads, rubbing a little petroleum jelly on them will keep the lid from sticking.
Here’s another clever way to keep leftover paint fresh: pour the paint into a resealable plastic food-storage bag.
Squeeze the air out before you seal the bag; then put the bag into the original paint can and tap the lid closed.

Ready, set, blow

Even when you thoroughly seal a can of alkyd paint, there is enough oxygen sealed inside to form a skin.
Try this old painter’s trick. Just before you put the lid in place, take a deep breath and blow into the can.
The carbon dioxide you exhale often displaces enough oxygen to prevent the skin.

Skim off congealed paint

On opening a previously used can of alkyd paint, you might find a skin on the paint surface. This is no problem.
Just cut around the perimeter of the skin with a knife, and then lift the skin from the can and discard.
Thoroughly stir the paint and you’re ready to start brushing. You may need to thin the paint slightly to ease application. Follow instructions on the paint can label for thinning.

Tips for getting the window dressings you want

Get the best deal on what you want

Look through home magazines and books and visit designer showcase houses, museums and store showrooms to get ideas before you shop.
Many department and home specialty stores offer “shop-at-home” services that send a professional with samples to your place.
It’s a good idea first to visit the store to make sure its inventory fits your taste and budget. Ask whether there’s a charge for the service.
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, a drill and a screwdriver, consider making your own window treatments.

Sizing things up

Your first step, before anything goes up over your windows, is to measure. Here are a few handy tips:

If you’re custom-ordering window treatments, the company will also do the measuring.
If you plan to install and/or make window treatments yourself, then you’ll take the measurements yourself.
Different types use different measurements. For commercial blinds and shades, take your window measurements to the store and have them select the needed sizes.
For homemade fabric window treatments, install the rods first and then take measurements.
If you’re using a coordinating blind or shade that has an outside mount, install the blind or shade before you measure.

The right window dressings add style to the home, but they can also make your home more efficient. So whether you buy your dressings from a store or make them yourself, make sure you install them correctly for the best look.