Friday, 7 February 2014

The agonies of interior design

This past week I thought I had a bad case of PMT. Turns out it was IDT (interior-design tension). I can accomplish most tasks in life with a modicum of organisation and some hard graft, but there is something about home-decorating that ties me up in knots. Nothing like a wallpaper dilemma to keep me awake half the night. So why is it that I can write a 140,000 word novel, but the thought of re-decorating my lounge fills me with trepidation? 

Decor in kitchen extension
The completed extension project, with dog crate! 
(see suppliers below)
I spend hours (or even weeks) agonising over the precise shade of paint: a shade too dark and the room might appear smaller; a shade too light and it feels like a wishy-washy compromise. I know my Farrow and Ball colour chart like my 10-year old daughter can recite times-tables. Pigeon? Too dark, too London. French Gray, Blue Gray, Elephant's Breath? Being literary minded, I can cope with the names better than the actual colours.

The options don't end there. Apparently I could team up Pigeon on a feature wall with Blue Gray on my supporting walls. And that's just the foundation. After that, we are talking furnishings, lighting, accents and even the colour of the skirting boards. These days we can't just resort to Brilliant White for our woodwork. The F&B website advises us to soften the contrast between walls and wood with different kinds of white so the confines of the room disappear. (That was the fruit of yet another feverish hour spent sweating over interior design sites.)

I'd like to think my IDT derives from a lack of experience. I am relatively new to this business of home decorating as we have spent most of our family life renting. However, I have just finished decorating the new extension, the dining room, a bathroom and all the bedrooms so overhauling the living room should really be a piece of cake. Not so. Each time I embark on a new project, I lurch into paint panic. Every newly decorated room becomes a public declaration of my taste, fashion sense and artistry. To some this comes naturally, for me it's a tortured process.

For all the angst, however, I am usually (and surprisingly) pleased with the results. I just wish the whole palaver didn't involve sleepless nights, a dozen paint testers and hours trawling house porn on the internet. What I've learned is to take a casual interest in what's fashionable and to spend more time developing my own taste. On the downside, my entire house has become a palette of various greens, with a twist of Chinoiserie, but the decor is my own creation. Which means my patient, tolerant husband can put endless colour consultations behind him and I can go back to writing novels. Phew! 


When I have finished re-decorating the lounge, I will post 'before' and 'after' pictures on the blog, assuming my colour scheme works out as planned... Please note I was not financially incentivised to write this blog post.


Suppliers for my kitchen extension include: Harvey Jones Kitchens, Farrow & Ball (Vert de Terre and Dayroom Yellow paints), Myakka Fair Trade Furniture (Mallani round dining table and chairs, Ooty Stripe Wool Kilim chair pads), and Pomegranate Living with Style (Zenza lights)