By Michael Bertolini
I have been helping my customers create warm and beautiful spaces that are a reflection of themselves for over 60 years.
If I were only allowed to give one piece of advice to each of them, it would be this: “Take your time, don’t rush, listen to the house”. I find that most customers are in a great rush to finish the project right away and if interior design is done in this manner, you might well miss out on the things that you will love most in the end.
Additionally, it may take time to clarify your own style. Just like fashion, style is putting our own signature on the way you live. There are some style constants that will help you achieve a beautiful and functional space but style is also about creativity and sometimes that means breaking a rule or two in favor of the right feel.
We always recommend spending several weeks collecting pictures of rooms, vignettes, fabrics, furniture and even flowers that particularly appeal to you. Aside from tearing out pages from design magazines, you can peruse decorating websites and social media sites for ideas. Once printed out, they should be spread out on a large table all together. You will then see a pattern emerge which demonstrates the colors, textures and overall style which defines your own unique taste.
Sometimes you might have to wait on the most important items but whenever possible, try to start with a great quality rug that you absolutely love. It should be a rug that reflects or compliments the color palette you are attracted to and one that works for your lifestyle (kids, dogs, dirt?). Some rugs, like hand-knotted oriental carpets, might actually look better over time and also are very flexible since they look right with any kind of décor. There are many affordable choices that include more simple patterns and muted colors now as well.
One of the hardest things for many people to do is to let go of furniture and objects that they have collected over the years and don’t really like or need anymore. Yes, sometimes they have sentimental value to them and that makes it even harder. Either way, I always advise, the tough approach. Sift through everything and be discerning. You should have confidence in your taste; if you didn’t like it enough to use it before, go ahead and get rid of it. You can always sell it on one of the many online resources available today. Invest a little in things you really love and can really use and remember to have confidence in your taste.
Even though you must have a master plan for the house before you start, tackle just one room at a time. If you try to do too many things at once, the task can seem too overwhelming and this is a job that should always be fun.
My last piece of advice is not to get taken in by decorating fads. Instead, stick with timeless fabrics, furniture and objects that you will never tire of. Soon enough, you will end up with a beautiful room that reflects your very own style and you will love to be in it!
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