After struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own apartment Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick was inspired to create an online search engine to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. Here she shares her top tips for decorating a home.

When it comes to decorating your home it can often feel incredibly overwhelming, especially as we’re bombarded daily with picture-perfect images of other people’s houses. Where do you even begin? Decorating the home can induce a serious case of analysis paralysis – you have so much to do, you do nothing.

Which is why we wanted to bring together seven steps to help you understand the process of decorating your home from start to finish. By following these top tips, you’ll have a better understanding of how an interior designer approaches a room design and can utilise this information for yourself.

Top tip 1) What will you use the room for?

The very first step of decorating is to define what the room will be used for. Once you understand the flow of the space and your needs and wants, it makes it much easier to create a plan.

For example, many people head into decorating with an idea of creating a Pinterest-worthy formal living room, when, in fact, what would be better suited to them as a family would be a space which incorporates stylish storage for toys and room to play on the floor happily without any bumped heads on coffee table corners.

Being realistic with your needs is a must for a successful decorating project. Write down what you would like from the room itself, whether that’s a reading nook, space for a dressing table, storage etc. That way, you are not heading into the project blind – fail to plan, plan to fail, as the old saying goes.

Top tip 2) Define your personal style with mood boards

Defining our personal style is something many people struggle with, but it doesn’t have to be as challenging as you think. The key is to look at your loves and loathes and see what common themes run throughout.

A great place to start is by walking around your home and looking at your existing interior style. Take a notepad and see what you spot on repeat – for example, are there luxe textures like velvet and faux fur? Or are you a fan of bright colours? Are neutrals more your bag?

Secondly, turn to Pinterest. Create a board and go through some of your favourite accounts and pin what catches your eye. It doesn’t need to be room sets specifically, it can be colours, accessories, and finishes. This enables you to look at your personal style as a whole and see how to incorporate repeating elements into your home.

Image credit: Parker Knoll

Image credit: Parker Knoll

Top tip 3) What is the Focal Point of the Room?

Whether you’ve moved into a new build property without a single piece of furniture, or you’re looking to update your current home and work around the furniture you have, the key is to find a focal point of the room and work around this.

A focal point is perhaps an existing sofa you need to incorporate, a piece of artwork you love, an oversized fireplace you want to embrace. What is the focal point of this project? Once you’ve decided this (and to be honest, for many people the focal point is primarily a big-ticket item like a bed or couch), you can plan the colour choices, other furniture purchases and floor layout.

Top tip 4) How to Measure Your Home Correctly When Decorating

One thing that often stumps people is correctly measuring when decorating. How do you measure how much paint you’ll need? How do you measure furniture to see if it fits alongside existing pieces? Here are some top tips on measuring correctly for a decorating project:

  • To work out how much paint you’ll need, measure the width and height of the walls and multiply these together to calculate the overall square metre measurement. Subtract windows and door measurements from your overall square meter measurement. Multiply your total by the number of coats you’ll need – 2-3 coats dependant on the colour and
    quality of paint you use. You can calculate how much paint you’ll need over on the Valspar website which is a great help.
  • To measure how much carpet you will need, multiply your room width and length together.
  • When you’re measuring a sofa, the biggest thing to remember is to measure the doorway into your home and any corridors, you may have. In terms of the sofa itself, measure the width from arm to arm (usually its widest point), measure its height from floor to the highest the central point, measure the depth along the side of the sofa from the cushion backwards, and finally do not forget to measure the diagonal depth, using a tape measure from the top back of the frame to the bottom front to ensure you can manoeuvre it through doorways and up staircases. “Pivot” spring to mind?
  • In terms of measuring furniture, something worth noting is that for a more aesthetically pleasing effect, you should leave a 2 inch gap from the wall to the furniture so the room doesn’t appear “flat”. Incorporate this measurement into your buying decisions.
  • When purchasing a rug, keep at least 18 inches of the floor exposed by the rug’s edges. And make sure there is ample rug showing from underneath the bed or sofa.

Top tip 5) Buying Furniture

When decorating your home, one of the toughest challenges is buying furniture. A general rule of purchasing starts with buying larger items first, whether that be a sofa, bed or dining room table. This is followed by paint/wallpaper, soft furnishing, choosing artwork to pull together the colours you’ve chosen, and finally adding smaller decorative items.

Some of the questions to ask when buying furniture include how much space do you have, what is your budget, and how long do you plan on using it for. If you’re purchasing a small dining table for two, but you know in two years’ time, you’ll be moving into somewhere more palatial, spending thousands isn’t the wisest idea.

Likewise, if you have a city centre studio, filling it with unnecessary furniture will take away much- need floor space. Do you really need a side table and a coffee table?

The beauty of Kuldea is that you’re able to navigate the huge choice of furniture on the market by specifying what colour you want, what your price range is, and what silhouette you’re looking for. After choosing the pieces you love, you can then save on to a board to share with a partner to gauge their opinion – which is key to successfully decorating for two.

Top tip 6) Consider Lighting

Lighting can often play a huge part in pulling a room together but it’s an element people forget. A central light is great to brighten the room up, but by adding table lamps – we love this marble and gold light from Homelia – and floor lamps, you’ll able to create a softer ambience by evening. LED strip lighting is an inexpensive way to light shelving, while the simple swap of fluorescent bulbs to a warmer halogen and incandescent bulb can stop the room from feeling too cold and clinical.

Top tip 7) The Finishing Touches

Once the walls are painted and furniture is in place, take a step back and make a note of what is missing. There are design elements you can add to your home, which will turn it into a Pinterest-worthy space almost instantly. These accessories include:

  • Candles
  • Trays and trinket dishes
  • Coffee table books
  • Cushions and throws
  • Flowers – don’t be afraid to embrace artificial
  • Mirrors
  • Photographs
  • Window dressings
  • Mixing textures
  • Decorative sculptures and accessories

One of the biggest tips we can share when it comes to finishing touches is to remember the rule of thirds. By grouping items into threes (or fives even), such as a book, candle and a vase of flowers on your coffee table, it creates a much more natural vignette. It feels less forced and a little more relaxed – the key to a warm, inviting home.

Although decorating your home can certainly feel overwhelming when faced with so many ideas and possibilities, by following these simple steps, we hope you’re able to approach the project in a much more organised way and feel confident with your purchasing power. This way for more top tips and inspiration for your home.