The decorating stage of a room makeover is the most fun and often the most frustrating part of the process. Fun because you get to see all of your planning and ideas come together…frustrating because it doesn’t always work out according to the plan 🙂
You can minimize the frustration part by doing all of the pre-work and planning up front. If you missed them, make sure you go back and do the steps in parts 1 and 2 of the makeover process before continuing with the actual decorating:
Then continue reading to learn all of the steps to successfully decorating your room!
What Issues Need To Be Resolved?
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Now that you have a floor plan and a color scheme that you are happy with (from Part 2 of this “Create A Room You Love” series), you can start figuring out all of the details that will need to be done to complete the room.
Start with the hardest parts first (that will give you lots of time to up with good solutions). What are the remaining issues that you need to resolve?
- Are there things that you need for the room that you don’t have?
- Did you have to put something that you dislike on your plan?
- Did you compromise on the size of a piece of furniture and need to find something to use in place of the original piece?
- Are you completely happy with the room layout and colors? Listen to your gut on this one…if something doesn’t feel quite right at this stage, it probably won’t feel quite right when you’re finished either. Identify what is bugging you, and put it on the list to fix!
- Have you considered adding interest to the ceilings or walls? If you need some ideas, check out our posts on decorating ceilings and walls.
- Is there enough lighting in the room?
- Is there a clear focal point? (That’s the one thing in the room that will draw your attention as soon as you walk in.)
- Did you decide on window treatments?
DIY, Repurpose Or Buy?
Now is the time to figure out how you’re going to make it work. For each of the issues you identified, figure out how you are going to deal with it.
- Do you have something in another room that you can move into this room?
- Could you (or someone you know) make something that would fit the bill?
- Could you change something that you already own (or can get second-hand) by painting it or re-covering it?
- Or are you going to buy what you need?
If you’re stuck, use your inspiration board to come up with some ideas. You can also do searches online to come up with DIY ideas and room layouts that you like. Or check out our list of DIY projects to see if you could do something similar in your room.
Now is also the time to double-check that you are staying within the budget you decided on in phase 1 of this room makeover process.
If you have gone over budget (usually the case for me), decide on how you are going to handle that.
Maybe you can put off buying some of your new purchases until later? Or you might be able to find a less expensive version that you are still happy with? Or maybe there’s an extra DIY project you could do that will save you some money.
Using your floor plan, your color scheme and your list of furniture items and accessories, you should now be able to make a list of what needs to be moved out or into the room, what projects you need to do, and what you need to buy.
Use Only What You Love
Regardless of what you are doing with your decorating choices, make sure you love everything that you are putting in the room!
The easiest way to derail the “Create a Room You Love” process, is to start settling for things because what you really want is too much work, or you find something “on sale” that would work but you don’t really love.
Think of this as investing in your family’s happiness. Having a room that makes you happy is worth the extra work. And that sale item isn’t really a deal if you’re going to think “I wish I had bought what I really wanted” every time you look at it. If what you want is too expensive, you could either save until you can afford it (sometimes one splurge makes the whole room!) or find another way to get the look without the cost.
What Order Should You Do Things In?
Now that you have an idea of what you’re going to do, it’s time to start doing!
But how do you know where to start? There is no “written in stone” order of doing things (in other words, switching things around on the list is allowed!), but following this plan of attack works well in most cases:
1. If you are ordering furniture or having something re-upholstered, start that process as soon as you know what you want. It can take weeks or even months for furniture to arrive! Of course, this shouldn’t hold you up from completing the rest of the room, but if you’re like me, you’ll be really anxious to see it all put together.
2. Decorate or paint the ceilings.
3. Install ceiling light fixtures. Note: If you are having holes cut to install ceiling light fixtures in a new location, you will probably want to have that part done before you paint (or decorate) the ceiling.
4. Then paint or wallpaper the walls…especially if you are getting new floors. It is much easier to touch up a few scuff marks in the paint, than it is to get paint splatters off the floor.
4. Install flooring.
5. Add any built-ins or cabinets. Some people ask why put the cabinets after you do the flooring? My answer…in most cases you want to install the flooring under the built-ins. That way if you ever need to change the cabinet layout in the future, you won’t have to worry about how to patch the floor.
6. Install mouldings, tiles, fireplace mantels or any other “fixed” finishes.
7. Hang window treatments.
8. Add area rugs and large furniture pieces.
9. Bring in smaller furniture pieces and lamps.
10. Add art and accessories.
Don’t Get Discouraged
With most projects, the room will look a lot worse when you’re half way through your project than it did when you started…and you will probably be wondering what possessed you to do this in the first place. I have done many room makeovers and this still happens to me at some point in the process.
Don’t get discouraged, or start second guessing yourself at this point…if you have done all of the planning for the room, it will come together! There have been many times when I looked at my half-finished room and thought it was a complete decorating disaster…but kept going anyways and the end result was a room that I absolutely loved!
I will say this mostly happens with paint colors…you loved the color when you painted it on a 2′ x 3′ board, but when it goes up on the wall, it just doesn’t look right (too dark, too bright, too yellow, too brown…etc…). Again, if you have done your planning, picked your colors in co-ordination with your fabrics and it looked good on your inspiration board, chances are it will be fine. Once you get all of your furniture, accessories, window treatments and rugs into the room, the paint color will look different! And at the end of the day…if you still don’t like it, paint colors are one of the easiest decorating mistakes to fix…
And just think, when you’re finished, you will have a room that you love…
Have comments or questions on Create a Room You Love, Part 3, Decorating Your Room Makeover? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on May 30, 2016 but was updated with new content on August 18, 2022.