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Revitalize Your Space


Published: 07/17/2012

by Kimberley Seldon

You love your home but something is not right. Maybe it is several rooms or

only one, but things seem just a little off. Alternately, perhaps you decorated six

years ago and things are feeling stale and lacklustre. There’s a solution. It is possible

to affordably revitalize any interior with five principles that make up what I call

‘interior refining.’

1. Start with a clean slate

Whether you are starting from scratch or just freshening up what you already

own, begin the interior refining process with an empty room. By getting familiar

with a room’s bare essentials, you are able to determine assets from liabilities.

Remove everything from the room – the sofa, chairs, tables, lamps and area carpets.

Unless you are good at visualization (in which case you won’t need this advice), do not
skip this step.

2. Evaluate the room

Spend time looking at the empty space. What do you love about this room? What

do you hate? Is the shape of the room well-proportioned?
Is the architecture ordered and harmonious? Are the windows

all the same size, pleasantly spaced and clean? Are baseboards and cornices

substantial in size? Is the flooring worn or in great shape? If you plan on making

new purchases or feel it’s necessary to rearrange furniture, you’ll want to draw up

a floor plan which includes the location of floor and wall vents, radiators, windows

and doors – and their heights.

3. Visualize

Once you are aware of the room’s features, you can work to emphasize the assets and

to minimize the liabilities. This is also the stage where you will begin to dream.

Think of a place you love to be: a cottage, the mountains, or a garden. Consider this

favourite location when you go about the task of visualizing the room of your

dreams. Why is this location so appealing to you? Is it comfortable and casual or formal

and grand? How bright are the rooms?

How cozy? Is there a lot of stuff, or are furnishings and
accessories minimal?

Once you have pinpointed the reason you feel so good in this favourite location,

you can begin to bring this mood into the room. For example, if you like

the feeling of beach living, upholster the furniture in cotton duck or wide cabana

stripes, and include natural materials such as wood, woven raffia and wicker. To get

the mood and decor just right, you will have to factor in the room’s function and

accommodate the various tasks and activities it serves.

4. Putting things back

Once you have an honest appraisal of the room’s assets and a firm knowledge of

what appeals to you in terms of decor, you are ready to return some of the items

to the room. Begin with those items of furniture that you absolutely love. William

Morris said, “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or

believe to be beautiful.” This is a good criterion by which to measure your items.

Try placing each item in a different spot than it was previously. Once the things you love are

back in the room, spend a little time looking at what you have assembled.

Chances are you will like what you see. Is there anything that does not match the

look or mood you would like to create? Can it be reupholstered or used in another

room? Now put back those items that you like well enough. Maybe some pieces

have been crowded or ignored, so you have been unable to really appreciate

them. Once the items from this second category are back in the room, take time

to assess again.

Now, look at what is left. These are the items that you are either indifferent

to or really hate. Perhaps you can use some of these pieces in another location or you can sell them.

Either way, they really should go, since they are not serving

you and your needs or desires.

5. Purchase new furnishings and accessories

Now that you have a plan of action (a floor plan) and a dream, you are in a

much better position to complete the decorating

of this room. At this point, you may need to purchase a few items or have

some things reupholstered or updated in some way. It is vital that you tackle the

whole room and commit to completing it. That way you will actually be able to fully

enjoy the fruits of your labour.

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