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Why You Should Start With Floors First When Decorating

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October 5, 2017 in Business

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Decorating Tips: Why you should start with floors…and choose the paint color last

When it comes to decorating your home, many are intimidated and afraid they will make a mistake and regret it. They feel like a deer in the headlights and freeze because they just don’t know where to start. So, I thought I’d provide a few tips because it’s usually easier than most people realize.

Here are my 4 top tips for decorating a room:

  1. Choose your flooring first!
  2. Choose your paint last! (Yes, this is one of the common mistakes and comes as a surprise to many)
  3. Define your style and “goal” or mood for the room. What is the feeling you want to evoke?
  4. Find a focal point (or an anchor)

In my opinion, things usually work out best when you plan ahead and design the whole room. You may choose to implement the work in phases (due to budget or time constraints), but it’s ideal if you plan the whole room BEFORE you start the work.

1. Start with the floors

Yes, the floors are the foundation, and they set the tone for the entire room. Will they be hardwood or carpet? Or tile, or some sort of synthetic material such as luxury vinyl planks or laminate. If you have hardwood already, are you going to keep the color or sand and refinish them to be a new and different color?

In general, I think it’s best to have the same type (and color) on all of the floors, at least all main rooms on the main floor (bathrooms/powder rooms are different). When you have the same flooring in all areas, it makes your space look larger and more cohesive. It also makes your space look cleaner and less cluttered.

The flooring is the base, and everything is built on top of it…literally and figuratively. And, if you choose your floors well, they will be there for years to come and should outlast any paint and decor changes you make to the room throughout your time in your home. If you’d like to learn more about what sort of floors are in style, check out these articles: 2018 Hardwood Flooring Trends and Flooring Trends for 2017 (covers hardwood, carpet, tile, luxury vinyl).

You can also check out what types of floors buyers prefer most for each room in your home.

2. Pick the paint color last!

Most decorators will tell you that selecting paint color first is the biggest (and most common) mistake made. Everything goes smoother if you pick the paint color LAST.

If you choose the paint color first, it will make every other decision TOUGHER. It will be harder to find the find the right floor color, carpet/area rug, window treatments, pillows, bedding and other accessories. Why? Because you will usually find items that come close to you paint color but are slightly off…so the result is that they visually clash. The items may be in the right color family, but the wrong tone.

There are infinite paint colors. But, choosing one first will limit you. Often you will find yourself settling on the other items that just go (or don’t clash) rather than your 1st choice items. And, you may have to pay more for items trying to find the perfect color match.

Picking a paint scheme is okay (e.g. light, dark, neutral, a even a general color), but don’t select the exact shade until after you choose the other main elements. You need the other items in place to help you select the right version or tone for the paint.

Why? There are more paint choices to choose from while there are limited choices for beautiful and affordable fabrics (e.g. area rugs, pillows, window treatments, etc.) as well as stain colors. It’s always easier to find a paint color that complements your fabrics rather than vice versa.

And, don’t forget that there are apps out there to help you select the best color and visualize the room. Check out Sherwin Williams ColorSnap app. Or, you can ask your painter for a recommendation.

Also remember that if you want to add color (or a pop of color), there are many ways to do this, aside from the walls. Color (as well as pattern) can be placed in an area rug, window treatments, pillows, furniture (including ottomans and poufs), coffee tables, wall paintings and accessories. And, of course, you also have the option of an accent color wall.

3. Define your style

What do you want the style and the mood of the room to be? Do you want a more modern look, or traditional or perhaps a cozy farmhouse style? There is no right or wrong answer…it’s whatever you like. I’d recommend you spend some time reading some blogs or looking through magazines. Or, better yet, check out some of the ideas on Pinterest.

Pinterest is an amazing tool as you can organize and save the pictures and styles you like. And, sometimes, you can even click on the pictures to learn more about them or buy some of the items online. Also, you can show these pictures to your contractors to show them what style and colors you love.

4. Find a focal point

Choose piece that you want to be the focal point for the room. This may differ by room. It could be a painting (or picture), or an area rug, or some pillows, or a coffee table or special item for your coffee table. This piece is your inspiration and it is your “must have” item. It sets the tone and your style. Make sure everything in the room goes with this piece and complements it.

Related articles:

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Use these additional home buying references to make smart choices when entering the real estate market.

About the author:

Debbie is known as “The Flooring Girl.” She has owned her own flooring company and has been in the home improvement industry for over 10 years. She’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur.com, Money Magazine, Sell This House and The Property Brothers. Debbie is also a professional blogger and writes at TheFlooringGirl.com.

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