Econogal’s Redecorating Tips

Redecorating either a residential property or a business office offers many challenges. Color schemes, style, textures, form and function, and cost all play a role. Interior decorators make these decisions for a living. But if you have an eye for color, a flair for combining things and can stick to a budget, you can meet the challenge yourself.

Budgeting

The first step is the budgeting. Know how much you are willing to spend. My personal preference is to save up for a project. But sometimes repairs or updating necessitate borrowing to complete the project. Of course an important part of the process is knowing how much things cost before you start.

Therefore, I spend a lot of time before I begin a project both online and in stores to determine an average cost. Individuals living in metropolitan areas are fortunate to have competition keep prices down. Rural areas often pay higher prices or have to go out-of-town. Of course this creates an economic leakage from those communities. But I digress.

My rule of thumb on buying is to buy local as often as I can. This might mean paying as much as 15% more. Above that point are some gray areas until you reach the 40% point. I am unwilling to give this much of a premium to a business just because of locale.

Redecorating with Color

After the budget is determined and the funds obtained the fun begins. I start all redecorating projects with a color scheme. The basics of the color wheel are discussed in an earlier blog post Color Wheel Use in Art and Life. Redecorating does add a challenge in the use of color that building from scratch does not have.

This challenge comes in the form of existing components. For example, one project I am currently working on is an office building with beautiful woodwork, red brick and brushed nickel in the interior. The woman’s bathroom is baby pink and the men’s baby blue. The exterior has greened copper roofing, brown and pink paint. All date from about forty years ago.
A similarly aged structure in a nearby town was gutted and rebuilt from the shell, but the cost involved in this type of rebuild are huge. Furthermore, an ongoing business does not have the luxury of shutting down the workflow just to make improvements. Therefore, incorporating the old into the new is imperative.

Fresh paint alone can perk up a space. The trick is finding the right color. The type of company may influence the color choice as can the personalities of not just the employees but also the customers. In some cases an off white or neutral makes sense. Other times call for bold, striking color combinations.

The biggest tip I can give you is to not rely on either paint chips or computer simulations. Find a small piece of drywall and paint it. Then take this sample into the room or building you are redecorating. A two foot square sample is the minimum size I would use.

Sample Size

Carpet, tile, laminate and solid surface large size samples.
Large size samples needed when redecorating.

The same applies to other samples. Once you have narrowed down your selection of carpet, laminate, or solid surface, ask for a larger sample. The tiny chips are tough to read. This holds true for tile as well.

A further step is needed. Go online and search for examples of the product in use. You do not want any surprises. A case in point involves the current tile samples I am considering from Shaw Floors. Shown are samples of the Shaw Marvelous Mix Stainless in 350 Fossil Rock (lower left) and 770 Woodland Park (upper right). Online applications show key differences from the tile samples I have. The Fossil Rock has a very dark tile and the Woodland Park has quite a bit of blue. Yet the samples I have do not show either. The dark tile will blend in with the other materials I am using.  But, the blue would stick out like a sore thumb. In this particular case the decision between the two is easy because of the color not seen on the samples.

Textures Revolutionizing Redecorating

Fortunately, for the above project, metals are making a comeback. The brushed nickel look can blend with either silver or tin. The style you are trying to achieve will determine which you want to use. Tin tends to lend a country look, while silver gives a more formal presentation.

Interior wall with lower quarter stone and remainder raised wood.
Combination of stone and wood wall. Both are three-dimensional.

The metals add texture. But other treatments can extend this three-dimensional look. Stone in particular is making a comeback. One can see applications of stone both on the exterior and the interior. The stone can be combined with other finishes. I like a two item approach because I believe stone can be overpowering. You may not be able to see from the photo but the wood in this picture has varying thicknesses as well as differing widths. I love the combination of stone and wood especially because both are multi-dimensional.

Finally, a balance between form and function is important. An office or home needs to operate, not just look good. But in many cases a utilitarian look that is highly functional can be off-putting to customers. Additionally, a home that looks nice and functions is a home not a showcase. Perhaps in another life I will want a showcase. But for now I need a dual purpose place to live. My redecorating will reflect this balance.

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