We’ve all done it haven’t we? We’ve all had a great decorating idea and after we’ve finished, (or even halfway through doing it) we’ve stood back and held our head in our hands because it doesn’t look how you thought it would.
Many people stick to neutrals for this reason, they don’t want to make a mistake. They don’t want the cost and hassle of redoing it. And I have been guilty of that in the past. Then I went to a Masterclass held by Daniel Hopwood and Sophie Robinson where they said ‘it’s just paint, you can re-do it’.
And that’s right isn’t it? It’s just paint, it’s just wallpaper. It can be undone, in the same way it was done. It’s just I think at heart we’re pretty lazy and don’t want to have to re-do something. Ok, I might be speaking for myself as a lazy decorator(!) but the thought of having to undo something is frustrating and irritating. But without taking a risk – how do we determine what our style is? (Unless you’re Kelly Hoppen and your style is built on neutrals) we all have our favourite colours or styles of furniture and accessories.
Part of the issue, is that we might try to copy what we’ve seen. If you see something you love in a home magazine and want to replicate it in your home it’s not going to look the same. This is because in some cases, the magazine picture is a room set and not a real room – and where it is a real room, it’s been lit, styled and photographed professionally.
Instagram provides a good feel for the ‘real room’ although in many cases, canny bloggers and influencers are using professional lighting and the picture may have been adjusted in some way. So you might see a beautifully dark interior, think it looks amazing, splash the black paint up and suddenly feel you’re living underground. Or you might LOVE IT.
Something that looks beautiful in a Victorian home might not look the same in a new build. Consider the lighting, the direction of your home, the height of your ceilings. All these things will factor in to how it looks in your house versus the Instagram picture or magazine shoot.
If you want to avoid the actual mistakes and the painting, you can use a tool such as Dulux Visualiser to see how the colour might look in your room, this is a brilliant app to give you a flavour for how things will appear, but at the end of the day nothing will replace the actual thing, the computer generated colour can sometimes differ slightly.
This is the problem isn’t it – you can use tools, sample pots and wallpaper samples until the cows come home, but nothing replaces actually DOING IT. This is where we realise what will work and what won’t.
My bathroom used to be a pale grey (almost white to be honest) and it’s perfectly modern and functional and I was happy with it. But I kept seeing dark interiors and had developed a love for Teal. I wasn’t convinced I wanted Teal all over a large room but the beauty of the bathroom or downstairs loo is that you can be bold, you don’t spend a lot of time in there and it’s the perfect room to go for something crazy. So I went for it.
I painted it Teal, I got a new dark shower curtain and thought I was going to love it. I didn’t. I love these dark interiors I see all over instagram, they look so stylish. But I’ve realised I can’t live with it myself. Everytime I walked into the bathroom it felt dark and gloomy (and it’s usually a bright, light room) and everytime I went in I had to switch the light on despite it being a west facing room which gets a lot of daylight (and hence it’s very tricky to photograph).
I HATED IT. And I was really irritated and annoyed with myself for getting sucked up into a ‘dark trend’. But actually it wasn’t me following a trend, I genuinely thought I would be fine with a bold Teal in the bathroom. I was never going to paint it in Railings or Downpipe. But even with a white ceiling, it simply wasn’t for me.
I felt a little sense of despair every time I went into the bathroom. So a couple of months later I set about it with white paint. Four coats and plenty of swear words later – it’s back to white. Boring it might be, but I’m much happier. MUCH. It might not stay white for too long, I might go with a pale colour or even a bright wallpaper, but for now the Teal has been banished and it makes me happy.
This error has made me realise my style – that I’m not the type who can have an all over dark room. A dark wall (like the living room, which I love) – YES, but a dark room: NO.
In my kitchen refurb I went with a bright orange in the glass cabinet, and I did two thirds of it and realised I’d made a huge error. What the actual &*^%$ what I thinking? This looked horrific! So with two coats of white paint and a few tears later, it’s back to near normal. I’m still planning to put something bright in there, but orange was definitely the wrong call.
I’ve realised I prefer light, brighter rooms, with splashes of interest and colour. Yes, my style might be ‘middle of the road’ but I’m happy with that. I’ve learned this through my mistakes. If you don’t try something out that you’ve spotted that you really love, how do you know if it’ll work in your house or not? I accept it’s frustrating and potentially costly to re-do something, but in most cases it’s the cost of another pot of paint and a few hours to repaint it. Be Brave! You’ll find out what your style is, and more importantly, what your style ISN’T.
As many discussions about trends circle on Instagram time and again, I realise I’m not following trends. I’m doing what I want for MY home and I’ll no doubt continue to make mistakes. It might not be a room that wins me thousands of likes on Instagram, it might not be to everyone’s taste, it might not be bold or edgy enough, but that’s just fine. It’s MY home…
Have you made mistakes in your home that made you realise your style? Let me know in the comments!