Category: tips (2)

There’s something very therapeutic and rewarding about painting a room – until you realise you’ve painted it entirely the wrong color, that is. So here is some advice from top interior design experts on how to avoid the common mistakes made when decorating a room.

Not testing a paint colour

‘Many people get a shock after they’ve painted a room when the colour turns out darker than expected. Always try out a sample pot before you buy. Paint a big swatch on the wall or on a piece of lining paper and consider how it looks at different times of the day. Make sure you like it when the sun shines, it’s overcast and in the evening when you turn the lights on.’ Carolyn Bailey, Homes Editor, Good Housekeeping

Hoarding too much stuff!

‘Be prepared to edit your possessions and declutter. If you have a sentimental attachment to something that doesn’t work with your new scheme – don’t let it take centre stage! Allow adequate storage for the things you can’t bear to part with.’ Ben Kendrick, Home Design Editor, Country Living


Getting things out of proportion

‘Making sure your furniture is the right size is essential. For example, a sofa that’s too big will dominate the space or a footstool that’s too small will look lost. Measure up carefully, and then plot out the size and position of each piece of furniture on a floor plan. Check everything fits (and will get into the room on delivery) and that each item is in proportion to the space. When you’re out shopping, keep a note of all the dimensions on your mobile or in a notebook so you can check if something that takes your fancy will fit.’ Charlotte Boyd, Interior Stylist

Following every trend

‘Avoid buying on a whim and falling for every new look. Instead, invest in timeless pieces that you’re certain will work with your scheme.’ Ben Kendrick, Home Design Editor, Country Living

Failing to make the lighting a priority

‘A great lighting scheme will transform a room from ordinary to exceptional. But it rarely works well as an afterthought. On a purely practical level you’ll need the power sockets in the right place, which has to be done at an early stage. Make a plan from the outset of your project and the result will be much stronger. Aim to create a layered effect, with a mix of background, task and accent lighting.’ Charlotte Boyd, Interior Stylist

Rushing to get it done

‘Allow time to consider and review all your options. Take a while to mull over the paint swatches, fabrics, flooring, wallpaper samples and furniture designs. Be confident that your plan is perfect before you begin any work. After all, you’re going to have to live with the result for a long time!’

General tasks and garden maintenance

Continue to dig over existing beds and borders, again incorporating as much organic matter as you can. Forking over not only helps prepare the soil for spring, it helps reduce pests by exposing them to hungry birds.

Although temperatures should start to rise this month, there is still a risk of frost and even snow. Protect vulnerable plants, pots and taps from frost by wrapping insulation such as garden fleece around them and check pots and containers are raised off the ground if possible. Tender trees and shrubs will thank you for a generous application of dry mulch to protect their roots from freezing conditions.

Once the ground isn’t frozen, make new beds and borders – mark the shape with sand trickled from a bottle, remove the top layer of growing vegetation and dig the ground over, incorporating as much organic matter as possible. If you are making a bed in the lawn, remove the turf and stack it upside down somewhere out of the way – after a year or two it will rot down into fantastic compost. Alternatively chop it up and bury upside down in the planting hole a good spade’s depth down. Beware – if you just dig it in the buried grass will regrow and regrow and regrow and…

Remember not to let leaves accumulate around alpines – they will die if left damp for long. Cover bare patches around clumps with gritty compost to encourage regrowth.

When the weather allows, carry on clearing paths, check walls (but avoid concreting until there is no chance of frost), clean and insulate greenhouses and ensure heaters are working properly. Even a little insulation will make a huge difference to your heating bill.

Clean and repair your garden tools, book the lawn mower in for a service and check garden furniture for any rot. When it is warm enough, treat sheds, fences and trellis with wood preservative; brushes and rollers are fine for most things, however a sprayer is well worth buying for tricky projects such as woven panels!

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