Tricky one this. How much should you plan in advance, and how much leave to chance?

I like planning. I like to know I’ve investigated the options and made my decisions in full control of the facts. Call me a control freak but I like to know that I’m not going to turn the corner and discover a chair that I like even more than the one I just spent money on! So I spend time researching: I look online and collect images, I take photos on my phone when I’m out, I tear out pages from magazines and keep in a file.

But there’s a problem. No matter if you are buying new bedlinen, working on a big kitchen renovation or redecorating an area of your house at some point you have to make decision. It is quite simply impossible that any choice you make can encompass everything you wish for. I find this really hard! There are so many options and directions we can go in that sometimes having to make a definite decision can freeze me in my tracks. Any choice you make is inevitably going to rule out the other alternatives…

There are different ways to help you start to collect and organise your ideas but today I want to show you my recent dilemma. Our ceiling had been repaired after it collapsed back in November, I’d had new plasterwork cornices moulded but the decorators needed to paint and I hadn’t decided what! This used to be our sitting room and opens on to the kitchen but we wanted to trial it as a dining space and I knew I wanted to be braver with colour. It used to be a neutral backdrop but with less furniture going back in I wanted some depth to avoid the room feeling like a table floating in space.

I also wanted to reuse some pieces we already had. This is my plan for the room:

dining room board


1. An existing large mirror. I’ve been tempted to paint this previously but it’s currently still gold.
2. & 3. Olive colour for the walls and woodwork…and cornice…(eek! could be disastrous!)
4. Dark, almost black floorpaint
5. Existing teak dining table
6. Cabinet currently in other room to be moved, and repaint the interior
7. Bright lamps and accessories to be added
8. We currently have mismatched wooden chairs which I can paint

Putting this together helped me make up my mind and feel more confident about my colour choice. Going this dark for all the walls was out of my comfort zone and I just needed help to be braver in a main living space. I came across lots of alternative ways to use olive green and started a Pinterest board http://www.pinterest.com/sheridanw4/our-dining-room/ .



Instead of bewildering me, seeing so many alternatives and variations on greeny greys showed me that the walls are only part of the design. Green is an easy colour to decorate with – in nature there are so many variations and combinations. Whatever I choose could look great or disastrous! Not depending on the wall colour, but how it all works in combination. It doesn’t have to be complete the moment the paint dries. Indeed the funky eclectic mix I’m going for is going to take time to build – that’s part of the fun! The same wall colour and table could just as easily be given a light and natural feel with a sisal rug and lighter natural curtains and accessories.

So have a plan, but allow for variations. Learning to reflect and adapt is part of the design process, and the joy of doing your own home is that you can make adjustments over time.


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