We're always looking for ways to make life easier for ourselves, so we thought it would be a good idea to tell you our 50 ‘must know’ decorating tips.
We are going to tell you the most common (and not so common) decorating tips. If you think we've missed any tips out, don’t forget to share yours in the comments bar at the bottom of this page for everyone to see.
So, here we go...
Tip 1 - Make time in your calendar to get the job done!
It’s important to organise your calendar and prioritise, there’s nothing worse than starting a decorating job and find out that you haven't got the time to finish it!
Tip 2 - Plan ahead and ask yourself: 'What will I need to get the job done?'
It's wise to write a list of questions you may want answered before you get your decorating underway, this will ensure you have everything in-place going forward. Here are a few questions to help get the ball rolling:
- What will I need to get the job done? Measuring Tape? Paint Brushes?
- What are my costs going to be? Measuring and Fitting? Materials?
- What help will I need to curtain job done? Builders? Painter & Decorator?
Tip 3 - research, research, research!
Whether it’s browsing on Pinterest for inspirations or reading a DIY book on more technical issues, do a bit of research before you get underway!
Tip 4 – Get samples!
You can get free fabric samples on www.montgomery.co.uk and other brands will offer free samples of there products. Some brands may charge a small fee for samples, however, it’s worth paying a fee so that you know exactly what you're getting before you make a purchase.
Tip 5 - Make sure your measurements are correct!
If you’re unsure about measurements, whether it’s measuring your windows for curtains or sizing up a new rug for your lounge, it’s important to be precise with your measurements. There are plenty of measurement guides out there to help you out! The links below are our measurement guides for measuring your windows for curtains and blinds:
Tip 6 - Choose your colour scheme.
A little colour reflects your personality and lifts your mood, so chose a colour scheme for the room you're decorating and transforming a plain space into a sensational environment.
Tip 7 - Maxamise natural light in your home.
It’s not easy when some rooms simply have a lack of light, however, there are tips and tricks that will help you make the most of the existing light in your home.
Here's a great blog on how to make the most of light in your home - Click Here.
Tip 8 - Line your curtains.
Lining your curtains will make them last longer and enhance their appearance. They help curtains drape more attractively and protect the fabric from sunlight and dirt, as well as providing insulation against draughts. Learn more about curtain lining here!
Tip 9 - Invest in a wallpaper steamer for removing old wallpaper.
Remove wallpaper with ease and save yourself time by investing in a wallpaper steamer. You can pick one up for around £30 and it'll certainly make life easier when removing old wallpaper.
Tip 10 - Don't overcrowd a room.
Resist overcrowding a room. It's not always necessary to fill up a space with lots of furniture.
Tip 11 - Care for your curtains
It's important to follow the relevant care instructions for your curtains and Roman blinds, most companies will provide this on their website or when you make a purchase with them. If you're unsure, take a look on our website for tips on caring for your curtains.
Tip 12 - Paint the ceiling a slightly paler version of your walls.
This will make the overall look of a room more coherent and the ceiling look taller.
Tip 13 - Know how to arrange furniture on a rug.
It is surprisingly, a widely debated subject, however, there are tons of different rules on the best practices for arranging furniture on a rug, some include: front legs on the rug, back legs off; all legs on the rug; extend the rug 12-18 inches around a bed and so on! So to make things easier, here's a great article on Houzz telling you about the rules for the rug!
Tip 14 - Sand down your surface before painting on it.
Preparing your surface is vital when it comes to painting walls or woodwork. Sanding is important because it will eliminate any paint burrs and rough spots and also help your paint stick to its surface.
Tip 15 - Create a focal point in your room.
A focal point influences the arrangement of furniture. Choose something that will draw attention, it could be a log fire, or a nice oak crafted dining table. Whatever you decide to be your focal point, it will be the natural starting point from which you plan the design of your room.
Tip 16 - Consider what type of fabric material you want for your curtains.
Don't forget, it's important to consider the fabric material when choosing curtains, since the material will dictate how well your curtains function and hold up over time, and it'll determine how well they look in the room you're decorating. There are lots of different fabric types to choose from, here's a list of the most common fabrics:
- Polyester Curtains
- Cotton Curtains
- Silk Curtains
- Linen Curtains
- Velvet Curtains
- Lace Curtains
- Mixed Fabric e.g. 40% Polyester 60% Cotton
Tip 17 - Don’t try to remember measurements, write them down!
It's a simple tip, write all your measurements on a piece of paper or in your phone. Measurements can easily be forgotten.
Tip 18 - Hire a home consultation.
If you struggle making decisions, there’s always the option to hire a home consultant.
A Montgomery consultant will advise you on all the various options to enhance your home, take any measurements, and even return to fit your curtains professionally.
For more information on Montgomery's Home Consultation Service, follow the link: https://www.montgomery.co.uk/home-consultation.
Tip 19 - Don’t be afraid to use a little colour – remember the interior rule, 60-30-10
Choose your main body colour which should cover around 60% of the space and create the overall theme of the room you're decorating. Then add around 30% of the secondary colour to create contrast and visual interest, this can be used for skirting boards or on the ceiling. Finally use around 10% of an accent color to provide that final touch of elegance.
Tip 20 - Ready made or Made to Measure?
Ready-made curtains are a cheaper and can be a more convenient option if you can find the right sizes to fit your windows. Made to measure curtains are usually more expensive, however, you can be confident that your curtains will hang perfectly in your chosen fabric.
Tip 21 - Coat your walls with a minimum of two coats of paint!
Conditions specific to your project can affect this, but as a rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you use a minimum of two coats, and here are three reasons why:
- Obliterates overlaps, smears, and lines.
- Deepens the colour, making it richer and closer to the paint manufacturer's intended colour.
- Physically strengthens the paint.
Tip 22 - Don't use newspapers to cover your pasting table when wallpapering...
The ink from the wet newspaper can stain the wallpaper and make it unusable. Instead, cover the table with a plastic tablecloth.
Tip 23 - Learn how to clean your paint brushes.
For water based paints, use water and for oil based paints, use white spirit or a specific solvent-based cleaner.
Tip 24 - Buy a new underlay for your new carpet
You wouldn’t buy a new car without new types, so when buying a new carpet, it’s your perfect opportunity to buy a new underlay which will make your carpet last longer. Here are four reasons why you should buy underlay for your carpet:
- Provides a cushioning effect when walking on it.
- Provides better noise insulation than carpet alone.
- Provides insulation against cold, bare floors in winter.
- Underlay will save you money as it extends the life of your carpet.
Tip 25 - Make your room look bigger with mirrors.
It's a known interior fact, if you want to make a room look bigger, hang mirrors in that room. Some people even aim to have at least one mirror in every room in their house.
Tip 26 - Give your window trims some colour.
Window trips are often ignored or painted white, however, painting your window trim a different colour can transform a room. Painting your trim black in an all-white room can visually have a striking impact, but it will also create a strong contemporary aesthetic.
Tip 27 - Tape off your room before painting.
Taping a room before painting can be time-consuming, but, it will protect surfaces and ensuring sharp lines and straight edges. It makes painting for the less skilled much easier.
WikiHow's article, 'How to Tape Off A Room For Painting' tells you everything you need to know about taping a room for painting.
Tip 28 - Continuously look for ways to improve your interior decor
Your home is a place of comfort, and just like we all continuously change ourselves on a daily basis, never settle for one look in your home. Always find ways to improve your home. Adapt your environment to meet your ever changing needs in daily life.
Tip 29 - Enhance a room's impact by adding a feature wall.
Feature walls are used when the rest of a room is decorated with a fairly neutral colour. Pick a wall in a room and paint it a different colour, or use a bold wallpaper design to create a feature. Feature walls provide a canvas for trying out new colours or a design on a small scale.
Tip 30 - Put your money where it matters.
It's important to get the right look in a room, but fundamentally, what is important in a bedroom is a bed or bath in a bathroom, so invest in the furniture you'll appreciate most.
Tip 31 - Scale furniture to match the size of your room.
Large rooms need large furniture, medium rooms need medium sized furniture rooms and so on.
Tip 32 - Fill the space between the headboard and ceiling.
Fill the space using picture frames, shelving, art or whatever you think is suitable. There are plenty of ideas for filling this space. For inspiration, read Kris Jarrett's brilliant blog on the subject: ideas for how to decorate the space above your bed.
Tip 33 - Use a metal tape measure when taking measurements.
Fabric or plastic tape measures can stretch causing inaccurate measurements, so using a metal type measure ensures precise measurements. To be extra precise, take measurements in millimetres!
Tip 34 - Mix blinds with curtains!
Whether you’re looking for more privacy, blocking out sunlight or dressing a window, mixing blinds with curtains has plenty of benefits both practically and aesthetically.
Tip 35 - Choose the right paint for the job.
There are a number of different finishes to choose: Matt emulsion, Flat Matt Emulsion, Eggshell, Gloss, Satin and Silk. If you want to learn more about the different paint finishes, read this Dulux article on 'Paint Finishes Explained' .
Tip 36 - Make your wooden doors look spotless using this technique!
If you have wooden doors, you may notice a build-up of grime around the door handle. Brown vinegar on a cloth or sponge will cut through the grease and dirt, then rub on some natural door wax or beeswax and buff it up.
Tip 37 - It's so simple it's genius... wrap a rubber band around your paint tin.
Putting a rubber band around your paint tin from top to bottom, going across the middle of the can opening will provide you with the perfect solution for wiping excess paint back into the can.
Tip 38 - Renovate old furniture.
If furniture is old, it doesn't necessarily mean it should be replaced. More often than not, showing an old piece of furniture some love with a lick of paint or little varnish can have a treasonous impact.
Tip 39 - Know how to hang your curtains.
The rule of thumb is to have curtains hanging floor length, unless there’s an obstruction like a radiator in the way. We say curtains should be 2.5cm above the floor. Our ready-made curtains are available in three lengths: 137cm/183cm/228cm. With our made to measure curtains, you can choose the length that suits your requirements. For more information on how to hang your curtains click here.
Tip 40 - Scale artwork to your wall.
There are few things more ridiculous-looking than hanging little art too high on the wall. The middle of a picture should hang at eye level: large wall, large artwork or group smaller pieces vice versa. For advice on how to hang artwork correctly, visit Emily Henderson’s blog post: ‘How to hang artwork correctly’
Tip 41 - Declutter!
Some people pay experts to declutter their house, and unfortunately, the longer you live in your house, the less you see the mess.
There are many tips out there that will help you declutter your home, here's a great article on decluttering: click here.
Tip 42 - Have a budget.
It’s always a sensible idea to have a budget (and to stick to it). Know how much you’re willing to spend and know how much you don’t want to spend.
Tip 43 - Decorate one room at a time!
Decorate one room at a time, this will give you ultimate focus on the room you're decorating and you'll be able to make that room look spectacular.
Tip 44 - Update your cushions to add a new interior touch to your home.
It’s not always necessary to purchase a new sofa, choose from hundreds of different fabrics designs and update your cushion covers. Simply choose your fabrics and tell us your measurements and we’ll make your bespoke cushions in our factory in St Helens.
Tip 45 - Freshen up a room by adding houseplant - help breathe new life into your home.
Bringing potted plants into a living space to liven it up is a trick that's been used by interior designers for years.
Tip 46 - Don't try and make everything match.
Mix it up! Think about what ‘goes’, not what ‘matches’. A few vintage pieces can add texture and personality to a modern interior, and vice versa.
Tip 47 - Paint or wallpaper your bookcase.
The smallest touch of colour will brighten and re-energize any room! A simple and most inexpensive way to transform a boring space is to apply a coat of paint somewhere unexpected.
Tip 48 - Use rugs to soften hardwood floors.
Rugs offer warmth, comfort and can add great texture, colour and personality to a living space. Hardwood floors look great and are easy to maintain but they lack the comfort that carpets offer. Rugs offer the attributes that a hardwood floor cannot.
Tip 49 - Mix Patterns
Don’t be afraid to mix patterns as they will make your room look fun and interesting. Adding an element of playfulness to your room can bring it to life. Here are a few tips for mixing patterns in a room:
- Use Different Types of Patterns
- Coordinate Colours
- Let No Pattern Stand Alone
- Vary Your Patterns by Scale
Tip 50 – Be creative and don’t be afraid to apply your own personal touch.
Interior designers will tell you that the way you decorate your room tells a lot about who you are and will reflect your own personality, so let your hair down and have some fun! There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to interior design, as Salvador Dali said: “Have no fear of perfection - you’ll never reach it”.