Interior Decorating Ideas: Spruce Up Your Walls by Color Washing

You decorated your home 5 years ago and it still looks good, but the wall colors seem a little stale and maybe even outdated. You can update those old stale colors by color washing your walls. Color washing is easier then painting as you don’t have to be as careful, it also gives the room more of a designer effect.

If you had to pick new colors for your rooms while keeping the same furnishings and fabrics, chances are your wall colors would only be subtly different. This is because colors do not change drastically from year to year, but the hues soften or brighten according to trend. Color washing will help you alter your wall color without starting from scratch.

The first thing you must do is to choose the colors that will blend well with your existing colors while giving the room a new punch. Look for a color in the same color family, but a couple of shades lighter or darker. If you want to soften the walls, use a lighter color. If you want to make the walls more vibrant, use a brighter color. If you want to make the room a little darker, then use a darker color.

The process of color washing walls is quite simple. You mix your paint color 50-50 with Latex Glaze that you can purchase in the paint department of your hardware store. Then using cloth rags, dip the rag into the paint, and literally use a washing motion on the walls. The trick is to apply small amounts at a time, and build it up. It is easier to add more paint than to take it away.

Should you choose, you could add more than one color to your color wash. For example, if your walls are pale yellow, you can add mustard to darken them a bit and a bit of brown to give them an aged affect. I also like to add clear sparkle paint in small amounts to make the wall gleam. Play with a sample board first before attempting to color wash the walls to get the hang of creating the effect, and to be sure you get results you will like.


The Interior Decoration of a House Tells Us Who Lives There

It is important for every person to know exactly what they want in their own house because it will reflect the type of personality of that particular person. If you happen to be the type of a person that loves anything having to do with fashion and always wants what is considered to be ‘in’, then you might possibly purchase furniture, lamps, chairs, wallpaper, sculptures or even pillows that are current and up to date. This will show a person that enters your own home for the first time, that you are modern and you are drawn to things that are up to date. One must consider though when buying items that are currently in fashion that most fashions will eventually come and go. If a certain item in your own home is no longer in style, you might have to replace it and it could be costly in the future.

The interior decoration of a home can be based on anything from a person’s favorite color to their preferred hobbies or possibly to even what is their own occupation. Females might be drawn to feminine items or even colors while males might possibly be attracted to more masculine things. For example, I know a person who currently has a career as a boxer. He has just finished building his large home and the design of his own living room is in the shape of a boxing glove. If you entered his home for the first time, you might think he was into sports or that he was possibly a boxer himself.

interior decor photo

You might be a person or know somebody who has a love of films. If you do, then the interior decoration of your own home might reflect this. Maybe you enjoy displaying movie posters or even lobby cards. You could have them framed for all your friends and family to see and admire. You might collect toy figures from certain films that you enjoyed and have them in a display case. You could have film memorabilia books on your coffee table for people to read. As you can see, the interior decoration of a home can tell us a lot about the person or people who live there.

If we consult an interior designer for the first time, he or she will ask us our certain likes and dislikes. These will mirror our own personality. They will incorporate everything we want into our home for us to enjoy for years on end.


Four ‘I blew it’ interior decorating mistakes to avoid

I’m on my third house and though I’ve decorated all of them, I’ve never hired an interior decorator. Instead, I have trusted in cleanliness, the desire for a welcoming home, and pleasing color combinations to provide the comfort I desire at home. I’ve found that advice is often a good thing to have because it avoids many problems, especially ones I’ve noticed when buying a new home. The worst mistake I saw while searching for a new home was mix-and-match flooring, read “Top Ten Aesthetic Mistakes Made in Selecting Flooring” to find out more. Here are four other mistakes that I made myself.

Cleaning Cupboard Door Hinges and Handles

When I decided to redo our kitchen cabinets, we removed the doors to paint them and that meant all of the brass fixtures, hinges and handles were removed, too. After 20 years of use, built-up grime made the door handles and hinges look extremely unpleasant to touch. So, I decided to soften the grime and stuck the whole mess of screws, hinges and handles into a bucket of ammonia soapy water. Three weeks later after all the cabinet doors were refinished, my husband went to reinstall them and we found that the hinges and handles had pitted, partially dissolved and changed color. We ended up buying new. The biggest mistake I made, though, was to throw out the attachment screws without knowing their size. This made it very difficult to find an exact replacement.

Painting Wood Trim Without Priming

We moved into a home with all-dark fixtures — doors, trim, cabinets, hand rails, window frames, etc. In order to create a modern, cheerier interior, we decided to paint everything a light color. I assumed the material was wood, but didn’t realize that some parts were wood, some had a fake wood finish, and some had been oiled over the years. A primer like Kill-Z, which is oil-based, will cover these type of products and leave a finish that will cover with a washable latex paint without chipping. Always check your paint before buying it to insure it will cure on the material you are painting. Chipped paint is hard to fix and looks really bad. Buy a cheap brush to apply oil-based primer and throw away the brush when it is dried, it is far easier to manage the task.

Buying Expensive Vent Covers

I’ve purchased floor vent covers in several different styles. Oak vent covers, I found, stained when I steam cleaned the carpets if they got damp, cracked if when stepped on, were hard to close and most ended up being replaced. Brass vent covers, I found, if glued together, eventually split apart from the heat from the furnace or if they got damp during steam cleaning. The softness of brass-finished vent covers also meant they got bent when stepped on. Heavy steel vent covers with a finish to match the trim, and that have a hasp attachment rather than a glued attachment, work best. Furnace intake vents are replaceable and washable — this is a better option than trying to paint them to improve their looks.

Buying Floor Rugs in a Heavy Use Area Was a Waste of Money

I had a long, tiled hallway and wanted wool carpet runners that matched the wool carpets in the basement. What I didn’t realize when I purchased them, was just how much traffic passed from the garage where we kept our cars, through the hallway and up the stairs to the main part of the house. In addition to our own traffic, the cats had a pet door out to their kitty litter, and at the base of the stairs, the intake vent for the house sucked a lot of dirt. These areas required constant cleaning and the carpets were very difficult to clean and very expensive to have dry-cleaned. I soon realized indoor/outdoor mats help cut down much of the dirt and were easily cleaned and much more disposable.

Finally, the worst interior decorating mistake ever made was to decorate just before moving, in order to sell it. This means that any money spent will make the new owner happy when the goal of interior decorating should be to please yourself.


5 Books on DIY Interior Decorating

1. Domino: The Book of Decorating by Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello, and Dara Caponigro

If you want your place to look sophisticated without looking stuffy, then this is the book to pick up. Even if you buy it hardcover at full price, it’s worth every penny. This book doesn’t just give you pretty pictures; it breaks down how and why certain elements work together so that you can mix things up without looking like a thrift store blew up in your pad.

2. Pad: The Guide to Ultra-Living by Matt Maranian

If you’re allergic to quiet, tasteful décor, then Pad is for you. This book gives you many projects to help you furnish and decorate your home no matter what your budget; you don’t have to be rich to have the tiki bar of your dreams. In addition, this book offers cocktail recipes, gardening tips and even profiles of people who live the DIY dream.

3. Home Swell Home by Cynthia Rowley and Ilene Rosenzweig

This lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek approach to decorating is more inspirational than practical, but anything that breaks you from your four white walls of boredom is worth a look. It gives great ideas like making your boudoir a secret-agent hideout and turning your studio into a Hollywood starlet bungalow. Some might find it silly and a short read, so thumb through it before buying, unless it’s on sale.

4. Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Design by Christopher Lowell

His work may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his approach to decorating makes it easy for anyone to get started. Lowell takes you step-by-step starting with paint and working up to flooring, furniture and the like. His conversational tone and practical advice make interior design accessible to even the most die-hard décor-phobe.

5. Making Room by Wendy A. Jordan

No matter what the size of your house, there always seems to be a dearth of space. Making Room offers practical tips to maximize every square foot without having to build an addition. This book shows you how to turn your stair steps into storage pockets, build a flip-down office, and convert a spare closet into a sewing room.


Interior Designers and Universal Design

Interior Designers are often called “Interior Decorators”. There is a difference; decorators may be in charge of selecting furniture and colors, but designers are trained to provide a safe and comfortable environment for their clients. I would like to discuss with you why designers care about your health, safety, and welfare.

First of all, I would like to define each of the terms. Health includes the indoor air quality and multiple chemical sensitivity (a sensitivity to numerous chemicals found in various buildings, including homes). Safety is needed to protect you from fires, and codes are followed to provide accessibility in your home. To look out for your welfare, they will follow guidelines for Universal, multigenerational, and sustainable design.

Designers need to specify the suitable materials for their clients’ interiors to provide a healing environment, not a harmful one. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in many building materials, such as carpets, paints and stains, vinyl, upholstery fabrics, and more. The effects of VOCs can be eye and nose irritation, headaches, nausea, and the long-term effects include cancer, liver damage, and kidney damage. Designers can help prevent these effects by specifying products with low or no VOCs, and by making sure there is plenty of ventilation when the products are installed.

By knowing the appropriate building codes, fire codes, and accessibility codes, Designers can specify the correct materials and provide adequate exits. This helps to save lives. By simply following these codes, they are able to keep their clients safe.

Designers encourage their clients to build or remodel their home so that they can age in place. Universal Design ensures that anyone, from the elderly to the disabled, will be able to easily navigate and utilize a space on their own. Sustainable and recyclable materials will be specified so they don’t end up in a landfill. This is often called “green design”.

Ways to incorporate Universal Design include:

  • Choosing slip-resistant materials
  • Changing door handles and faucets to levers
  • Adding grab bars to baths and showers
  • Changing toilets to comfort height
  • Widening doors to make them wheelchair accessible and ensuring adequate clearance for turning
  • Specifying higher furniture with firm seats and armrests to help with getting up
  • Lowering light switches and raising outlets

Interior Design is not only about aesthetic appeal; it is also about the well being of the people. It is about combining beauty and safety. Designers are able to create beauty in a way that supports your health, safety, and welfare.


Eco-Friendly Interior Decorating Ideas

Going green encompasses many things from consuming organically grown food to recycling and conserving resources. One of its major aspects is having a green environment around us. This starts with an eco-friendly home and an eco-friendly interior decoration.

Eco-friendly interior decoration aims at providing a healthier environment to your family while responsibly utilizing nature’s resources. At the same time you need not sacrifice style and comfort. Here are a few tips on going green with eco-friendly interior decorating ideas.

  • A green home should use toxin-free interior paints. Many conventional paints emit certain toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC) at room temperature – they affect the indoor air quality and present long term health risks. Select zero-VOC paint for your home. You get durable, odorless zero-VOC paint from leading brands like Sherwin Williams in all colors and finishes for indoors, outdoors, ceilings and cabinets.
  • Use furniture from easy-to-replenish sources like bamboo, corn and cork. Look for wooden furniture marked with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label – this means your furniture is made from wood obtained from eco-system conscious forestry practices. Preferably buy wooden furniture made from post-consumer recycled wood like construction material from old buildings, saw dust, etc. You can get durable and sturdy pieces of eco-friendly furniture for your home without compromising on fashion and elegance. EcoTimber provides information on many types of environmentally safe wood.
  • Select the flooring for your home from recycled wood, bamboo or recycled glass tiles. Use eco-friendly adhesives that do not contain VOCs to lay the flooring.
  • Select eco-friendly upholstery and curtains for your green home. Organic cotton, silk, hemp and bamboo are used in making the required fabrics for these furnishings.
  • Use eco-friendly rugs and carpets made from bamboo, jute or wool and recycled rubber. They use toxin-free dyes and colors from vegetable sources. You can find attractive textures and patterns to suit every theme of your eco-friendly interior decoration.
  • Recycle and reuse existing cabinets and molding as much as you can. You can give them a new look with refinishing and repainting.
  • Provide your green home energy-efficient indoor and outdoor lighting with compact fluorescent bulbs. This will save energy that comes from non-renewable sources and also cut your electric bills.
  • When you place potted plants in your home for interior decoration, use organic soil and organic fertilizers and pesticides.

Usually eco-friendly materials cost 10-30% more than their conventional counterparts. But with increasing demand and supply, we expect that the costs of living will drop significantly.

Green Home, a site for eco-friendly interior designing, provides a carbon dioxide calculator to compute your home’s total carbon footprint. You can also interactively estimate the indoor air quality in your home. Use this to find out what changes you need to make to have a green home. Check out Viesso, Green Design and Eco-furniture for eco-friendly interior decorating furnishings.


Easy Ways to Decorate a Large Scale Interior Wall

Some walls are more difficult to decorate than others. This is especially true of large scale walls that take all the attention from the rest of a room. And when they are left empty, they can seem even larger and more imposing. Do you have a big wall that needs to be scaled down? Try one (or more) of these easy ways to decorate a large interior wall.

Split it up into sections. Does the large wall run from one room into another? Split it up to make the wall seem smaller. I’m not saying you should draw a vertical line and paint each side different colors; rather, create a visual divider with wall hangings and art. For example, hang a large painting over the sofa on the living room side, and center a decorative mirror that’s flanked by sconces on the wall in the dining room area.

Think about scale and proportion. A single framed photo will get lost on a huge wall. And an enormous painting might feel like it is going to topple onto a lightweight sofa. Instead, choose a horizontal wall hanging that is about two-thirds the width of the sofa; if the ceilings are high, a vertical piece might look better. And if the piece you choose is not wide enough, consider hanging something smaller on either or both of its sides. Another way to achieve the look of a larger work of art: Cluster several pieces together, lining up the edges to create a visual “frame”.

Give it dimension. There are several ways you can lend dimension to a flat wall: faux finishing, patterned or textured wallpaper and with three-dimensional objects. These objects may include metal art, shelves or a mantle that doubles as a display, wall sconces and even wreaths or floral arrangements that hang on the wall. Just keep balance in mind; avoid hanging a large piece on one end of the wall, while leaving a blank space on the other end.

Select colors with caution. Color has a large impact on the balance of a room. The color you use on a large wall is not important so much as the way it works with the rest of your colors. Let’s say you have vaulted ceilings, and there is a huge wall on the end. If you paint that wall a bold color, leaving the smaller walls a very light neutral color, it is likely to leave visitors feeling unbalanced. This doesn’t mean you cannot accent the wall in a different color; rather, choose two colors that have about the same amount of darkness. Then paint the accent wall in one color, and use the other for the rest of the room.

Consider the rest of the room. Balance is key. Take a look around you; if everything else in the room is small scale and lightweight, do not use heavy items to decorate on or around the large wall — and vice versa.


Interior Color Schemes

Home designers today have the best of all possible worlds. Manufacturers are at long last making their products in a wide variety of colors. Sheets and bedspreads come in more colors and patterns than we could use in a lifetime. Ceramic tile and bathroom fixtures are produced in bright primary colors, as well as the more familiar range of pastels. Window coverings, like Venetian blinds or plain shades, are made in a rainbow of different and exciting colors too. Even kitchen appliances are available in fresh and offbeat colors.

With this entire new palette to choose from, we have begun to liberate our homes from the white, beige and gray previously imposed by colorless products. And this liberation can take many forms.

Color can enrich, by using one single hue. A master bedroom, for example, can be liberated by using a sheet pattern with a dark background color, such as forest green. Walls painted the same green, glossy white woodwork; hinged panels at the windows covered in the sheeting, and in off-white wall to wall carpet can easily give the room a custom-made look — without taking a big bite out of your budget.

Color can unify a collection of furniture, too. New and exciting colors in the less expensive carpets — the mauves, roses and pale greens — can be used as the background of a subtle and unifying color scheme for a living room or an elegant and soft surrounding for a fine collection of antique furniture. Yet, it’s just as appropriate for modern furniture upholstered in off-white cotton or canvas.

And color can be used to divide. In a “second” bedroom in the typical builder house, two boys shared a room. They were 9 and 11, ages when desks and privacy are essential. To give each a feeling of independence within an overall color scheme, I used a white background and one major color to identify each boy. The boy on the right got a blue scheme, the boy on the left a yellow scheme. The colors were determined, somewhat, by the availability of the products I wanted to use, but even, more importantly, because they worked well together and because each boy liked “his” color.

I started off with the sheets, because I wanted to use a flat top sheet as a bedspread; with all the many patterns available, solid color sheets are hard to come by. But after a bit of digging, I discovered a good, bright yellow solid an equally super marine blue. Together they look as smashing as the Swedish national flag, one of my all-time favorite color combinations.

Mini-slat Venetian blinds are now available in bright colors, as well as silver, mirrored chrome and black; the yellow and blue matched the sheets perfectly. The deep window reveals made a natural alcove to display the color. Under the windows, I built a white plastic laminate sill from wall to wall across the room, to provide a headboard for each child. It also provides a shelf to store treasures, cut from its depth over each bed, a surface for attaching bed-work lights, and a handy place for mother to grow her geraniums.

From there on, it was easy. I found cotton fabrics that combined the yellow and blue stripes and geometrics, and we made occasional pillow covers and bed-pillowcases for each boy, blending the two major colors on both sides of the room.

The desks, actually white plastic laminate tops resting on a series of blue and yellow cubes, (available in most furniture shops), carry the color divider scheme still further. They face each other at the window and provide a blue and yellow barrier for each child, an easy way to divide the color.


My top 5 interior decorating fails

I am actually crafty and have a good eye for style, but I’ve had some doozies when it comes to interior decorating. In the past, I came up with great color schemes and layouts, and then realized the floor plan or the accents of the room didn’t match. My interior decorating skills came by trial and error, which left me with more work and corrections. Although I love interior decorating, there are certain aspects that I should have left alone.

Country kitchen blunder

My house in Atlanta was far from beautiful. The kitchen walls were covered in country pink and blue hearts. I couldn’t wait to get the wall paper off the walls, but it had been on there for some time. I didn’t have the proper tools and left tufts of wall paper on the wall; which left it nice and bumpy for the paint.

The Hilton Head Island Condo

The white walls of the condo needed serious sprucing. After some thought, I decided a Southwestern color palette would make the downstairs look bright. What I realized was there were no separations from room to room and the walls had no “corners.” Each corner was rounded and I couldn’t even use this as a way to separate the color palette. This was something I should have taken note of before painting the walls. What’s worst than this? The paints I chose were glossy; making the dark Sierra nearly impossible to cover when we had the house repainted.

Patchwork on leather

I love leather furniture for several reasons. It’s easy to clean, and is perfect since our children are young. On the other hand, when our son tore the leather ottoman, I had to patch it. This definitely is not my area of expertise, and even with directions I fumbled it badly. I mixed the glue and the vinyl since they were the same color, and bought a patch that did not match our brown leather ottoman. It’s an atrocious sight, but the tear is patched.

Hand sanding a head board

The very first piece of furniture I refinished was a cheap head board I picked up for $150. It was an old wooden head board with an intricate floral pattern across the top. The pattern was beautiful, but meant I had to hand sand it. This was a grueling effort that took a long time to finish. Although it turned out fine my interior decorating fail was doing it in mid-July, Georgia heat. I did it in the carport, but the dust, lacquer fumes and the heat made me very sick even though it was outdoors.

An ill-fitting bed spread

A bed isn’t complete without a nice bed spread, blankets and pillows, but sometimes they are hard to find. Over the past several years I have bought blankets and spreads to place on our king size bed only to find that the measurements are wrong. After putting the comforter on the bed I learned that half of the mattress is seen from underneath. It’s not a complete interior decorating fail, but it is an eyesore.


Interior Decorating Ideas: Make a Statement with Wall Mirrors

If you remember the mirrored walls that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, then the thought af adding mirrors to your walls brings you nightmares. However, mirrored walls have come back into style and the applications are much more attractive and up to date. If you have a wall that needs a bit of pizazz, here are some ideas you can use to make a statement with wall mirrors.

Today’s decorative mirrors aren’t marbled with a strange gold design and then stuck to the wall with cement adhesive. Some mirrors are long and have wavy shapes. Some are round, some are square, and most have frames. Today’s mirrors can be hung by themselves or in a grid of ten or twenty.

For a statement wall, hanging the mirrors in duplicates is the way to go. You can make a grid of ten, or twenty mirrors. You can hang them diagonally. You can also intersperse them among your family portraits or artwork. The trick to hanging mirrors for a statement wall is to not completely cover the wall with mirrors but to create pattern using both the mirrors and the space between the mirrors.

Choosing mirrors to help you make a statement on your walls is quite a task. There are hundreds of interesting mirrors on the market to choose from and you should look until you find mirrors that fit your style. You can choose from star burst mirrors, jewel encrusted mirrors, simple sleek frames, and elaborate gilded frames. Find the mirrors that you like best, keeping in mind that you plan to hang them on the wall in multiples.

Before hanging your mirrors on the wall, it is important that you first decide on your pattern and draw it out on paper. The last thing you want to do is to put three or four holes in the wall PER mirror. That could be disastrous. A great tip to get your mirrors hung properly is to purchase butcher paper and lay out the mirrors on it. Draw around the mirrors and put a dot where the holes go. Finally, tape the paper to the wall, and then install the nails or hardware on the paper. Pull the paper off the walls then hang the mirrors.