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The most inexpensive decorating project is paint. You only need about three to four gallons of paint for the average bedroom. Paint runs about $25 per gallon, so you are talking about $100 to make a big difference in the room. If you really want to save money, paint it yourself. As much as people hate painting, it is one of the easiest projects you’ll ever do in your home. I won’t go into great detail here, but take the time to fill the holes and cracks and prep the walls for paint. There are hundreds of web sites out there that can provide you with the right instructions.
If you consider yourself somewhat adventurous, think about adding some decorative molding to your master bedroom. I’ve seen rooms be completely transformed with this simple technique. Add a chair rail all the way around the room. This allows you to divide the wall space and use two different paint colors. We are not suggesting red on the top and green on the bottom. We are talking about subtle shade differences between the top and the bottom.
To further enhance your chair rail, consider adding “picture frames” below the rail. Picture frames are easy to make using decorative molding available at Home Depot. The molding comes in 12 to 16 foot lengths and you will cut them done to the exact size you need using a chop saw to miter the corners just like a picture frame. Next you measure out each wall on graph paper and plan your picture frames to evenly fit the wall. Say for example you have a 12 foot wall. I would cut two picture frames 30″ wide by 24″ high. I would then cut three frames 18″ wide by 24″ high. Then start 5″ in from the left side wall and put your first 18″ frame, then add 5″ and put you first 30″ frame, then another 18″ frame and so on. You will end up with a very stylish arrangement of small and large frames to fit your 12 foot wall. The frames are attached to the wall using a combination of paneling glue and nails. If your walls are nice and flat, you can get away with just using glue to hold the frames in place.
Crown molding is also a great addition. I’ll warn you, it’s tough to get the corners just right. There are instructions all over Internet to help you, but it’s still a challenge, especially since you are working overhead. The finished look is well worth the effort. So you’ve installed your decorative moldings and picked your general paint color, now it’s time to focus on the decorating options.
You can look a decorating a room much like an upside-down funnel process. You need to start with the product that has the least amount of style and color options. Normally, that’s the carpet or area rug. Here your restrictions will be size and color options. Don’t forget that you can take any wall to wall carpeting and have it cut to an exact size for an area rug. You can bind the edges with a range of materials, including leather, to make it very custom looking. As you are deciding on your carpet, reference your paint group and make sure it works.
Moving through the funnel, the next area that gives you more options than carpet are fabric colors and patterns. There are so many options here, that you could literally spend months and suffer from paralysis. Don’t let that happen. Spend time looking through the magazines to see what you like. The products featured in the magazines are typically the most expensive options. You don’t need to go down that path. If you see beautiful silk drapes in a room setting you love, there are faux silks out there that are so good no one except you will know.
Decide on your pattern stripe, floral, solid patterns and then the material, cotton, silk, linen, etc. Narrowing your search will make the task much easier. Get the swatches down to ten or less and bring them into your room. Match them up with your carpet and paint family. Once you make a fabric decision, you can now tie the whole color palette together. You’ve got the carpet and fabric, now at the widest part of the funnel is the paint color. Pick a paint color that works with the carpet and fabric you’ve selected. The choices are vast. You’ll need a trim color and a wall color and a ceiling color. The wall color is your primary color in the room and the one you coordinated with your carpet and fabric. If you installed the chair rail, then this color is painted above the rail. We like flat or eggshell finish on the walls. The trim color should be a slight contrast from the wall color and have a semi-gloss finish. Don’t make the trim the focal point of the room. It should be a subtle transition. If you installed crown molding, the ceiling can be white. Without crown molding, we like to take the wall color and cut the color intensity by 50% to 75%. They will do this for you at the paint store. What you get is the same wall color, just a lighter version for the ceiling. It really looks great and where the walls and ceiling meet, you don’t see obvious painting mistakes.
Finally, the focus is on the finishing decorating touches. You need to decide what you are going to put on the windows. Fabric Roman Shades are beautiful and provide privacy and light control. If you like traditional drapes, then a combination of fabric and window blinds works well too. You can also use a valance or cornice top treatment with a shade or blind concealed beneath. You want to draw a balance between fashion and function and not just have one or the other.
Now let’s talk about the bed. It’s a third of your life, right? We once had a wrought iron headboard. It looked good (fashion), but try to prop a pillow for reading or watching television – forget it (function). We switched to an upholstered headboard and what a big difference. Not only does it look great, I don’t get my head stuck between the bars anymore. We also tied-in the fabric on the headboard to our Roman Shades with a banding option. These little touches make a big difference in the finished room design.
There are a lot of bedding options to consider. This is where you can bring in a nice contrast fabric to make the bed the center point of the room (fashion). You can make a custom comforter, bedspread or duvet cover. You need to decide which works best for you based on your lifestyle (function). I once had a comforter that was so heavy, I couldn’t breathe. If you are going to use your bed cover as a decorative element vs. functional, then you need to take this into consideration. Include some beautiful pillow shams and accent pillows with a coordinating dust ruffle and you’ve created the look that’s all over the magazines.
Shopping on-line for all the decorative elements in your master bedroom can save you thousands over retail or hiring a decorator. Sites like FabricWorkroom.com give you all the measuring guides and live support you’ll need to get the specifications and design just right. The turn around time is four weeks from your order. The day you place your order is a good time to start your molding and painting work. In four short weeks, you’ll have a space that will look like you hired a decorator at a fraction of the price.
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