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Friday, June 29, 2012

A Fresh Start, Part 2: Rooms

Welcome back! Today's post is the second in our 'A Fresh Start' series. The series will focus on organizing, decorating, and sorting your room and things, thus creating a fresh atmosphere for your summer days. If you missed our first post, 'A Fresh Start, Part One: Studies', simply scroll down or find it at the right. 

Now, we will be looking at decorating hints, fresh ideas, and cleaning tips to revamp your entire room.

General Cleaning: First off, please realize that a room cannot be successfully decorated unless it is neat. You should 'purge' your room several times a year, getting rid of unwanted books, clothing, knick knacks, etc. I like to clean my room out once at Christmas and once in the spring. At least once a year, you should also pull out all the furniture and thoroughly vacuum, dust, and launder quilts and curtains. Summer is a great time to do this because you can often find some uninterrupted time to get the work done.

Moving Furniture: The easiest (and least expensive) way to change up your room is to simply move the furniture. A great time to do this is during your thorough cleaning routine. Experiment, and feel free to do something a little different. Whatever works for you.

Color Scheme/Theme: If you really want a room overhaul, choose a specific color scheme or theme and re-decorate your room to fit your vision. Think out of the box; and remember that it doesn't have to match perfectly to be the perfect room. Focus on matching one thing: style, color, or print. If you're going for a beach room, things should be tropical themed. If you want your room to be green and blue, don't focus on matching patterns, but try and get all complimentary colors. If you want a polka dot room, use a lot of dots in a bunch of different colors. Although many modern decorators frown on wallpaper as a thing of the past, please consider it. Wallpaper comes in many different prints, and can really transform a space and add a sophisticated feel to the room. Keep in mind, however, that a new theme can be captured without new paint and furniture. By simply getting new curtains, bed clothes, and accessories, you can easily create a new feel without the price tag.

Now that we have some basics covered, let's talk about the specific areas of your bedroom. For best results, each area should have in it all items needed for a specific activity.

Beds: Since the bed is often the focal point of the room, it can contribute a lot to the overall color scheme. For a fresh look, outfit your bed in crisp summer sheets, either white or patterned to compliment your color scheme. Add a lightweight summer quilt that also matches. Top it off with unique pillows: specialty fabrics, herbal, and shaped pillows are all good choices. For extra fun, try putting an extra quilt or afghan at the foot of your bed. It's practical, but also provides a contrast. 

Bedside Tables: I believe the bedside table to be essential. They provide excellent storage for jewelry, lotion, and other basics, and can also hold books and lamps. Try adding special touches to yours by using unique handles or knobs, a fun lampshade, or an antique clock. A doily or small patterned cloth can also accent the table, and add a cozy feel to the room.

Desks: During the summer, desks can often take a turn to the creative side rather than being purely functional. Once the books are put away, consider keeping journals, sketching supplies, or anything else you can think of handy. Have fun, and focus on outfitting your desk for your favorite pastime rather than making space for studying. 

Dresser: Go through your clothes once the weather takes a turn for the better. Give away clothes that are too small, or that you no longer want. Winter clothing saved for next year should be neatly folded and stored in either an extra drawer, under-the-bed tub, or on the top shelf of your closet. Fold the rest of your clothes and organize them in the drawers. The top of your dresser can be used for hair brushes/combs, a mirror, jewelry, or anything else that you use often. It could also be a great place for storing figurines, framed photos, etc. 

Windows: Windows can become an inspirational part of a room if they are properly decorated. A curtain or valence can change the feel of the room, and also tie in other pieces. Some people have different curtains for the change of season; if you do this, stick to lace, crisp cotton, organza or other sheer materials. They will create a breezy feel, and make your room feel light and cool. Although there are many pretty curtains available, making them yourself can often be cheaper. This is especially true if you find fabric at a discount store: curtains don't require the same level of quality that clothing does. A windowsill can also serve a decorating purpose; considering adding flowers, figurine, or other trinkets to add depth and interest.

Bookshelf/Reading Nook: Nothing says summer to me for than care-free reading. A filled bookshelf can be very attractive in a room, and also make the room unique to you when it's filled with your personal favorites. A reading nook is another great idea. I recently picked up an old arm chair for $2 at a yard sale. It has scuff marks around the legs and the fabric is rather on the ugly side, but it fits in my room perfectly and is very comfortable. Eventually, I will reupholster it and it will be good as new. A cozy place to sit, other than a bed or desk chair, can be much more comfortable and encourage you to catch up on that required reading. :)

Now that we have discussed the different areas of a room, let's move on to some basic accents that can really add personal style. 

Flowers: Flowers, no matter how small, instantly add a classic, friendly feel to any room. We will discuss more about flowers in an upcoming post.

Toys: A favorite stuffed animal can bring back adorable memories; a chest filled with old toys just gives the room a juvenile feeling. If you are in high school, you probably don't use them much, anyway. If you are at all like me, however, getting rid of old toys is easier said than done. Go through everything, and sort out what you can part with. Since I have many younger cousins who enjoy playing with some of my things, I kept out what they enjoy using and put it out of sight in a single drawer. After that, the rest can easily be stored downstairs in the basement, until my sentimental reasons eventually ware off. If you're on the cuff about getting rid of things, try giving away some things to a little friend, or even donating stuffed animals to a local nursing home. Then, at least, they will be cherished and used. 

Pictures/Wall Hangings: These add great interest to a room. Put up pictures of  friends and family, prints of favorite paintings, and posters of a college or place you'd love to attend/live. More on wall hangings and their impact on us in an upcoming post. 

Figurines: Fragile figurines should be kept in safe places where there is little risk of them being broken, but where they can still be appreciated. Shelves, small curio cabinets, etc. provide the perfect venue for this. Please display them: oftentimes they showcase memories, triumphs, your personal style, or are treasured gifts.

This concludes our 'Rooms' post. Please keep a lookout for the next in our 'A Fresh Start' series; 'Dress', where we will discuss style, thrifty shopping, outfit ideas, alterations, and more! As always, thanks for reading! 

Please leave a comment below. What are some of your favorite decorating ideas? Is there anything we missed that you'd like us to discuss? Got a summery room? Send us a picture and maybe we'll use it in an upcoming post:; please put 'Rooms' in the subject line. 

Once again, thanks for reading!

Several of the  photos above came from Key Interiors by Shinay

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