• Shelina Datoo

8 Easy Steps to Make A Space Look Professionally Renovated

Before the Transformation

Nothing gives me a sense of euphoria than creative transformation. A transformation of turning a white canvas into an impressionist masterpiece, fashioning a simple fabric into a couture dress, or revamping a room into a

After The Transformation

contemporary living space. Years ago, I dabbled in different design spaces of painting, fashion and interiors. As life happened, I left behind my paint brushes and fabrics, and ventured into the number-oriented business world. Feeling unfulfilled and supressed with the spreadsheet routine and lack of passion, I decided to work on interior spaces as a hobby to get back in touch with my creative self. I seeked worn spaces and remodeling them within a budget. I loved it so much it became my part time occupation. Last month, I had the opportunity to work on redesigning a friend’s living space (Right).


Step 1: WHAT RULES? Being a hobby I am passionate about and not having studied it professionally, I tend to break all the rules which works well for me since the outcome is quite transformative and appealing.

Step 2: CLIENT REQUESTS: Within a space I am designing for someone, I first like to understand what the owner likes to recycle, what limitations they have, what colors and inspirations suits their lifestyle and personality. For this space, my friend wanted to retain all the large furnishings that included the sofa, coffee table, arm chair, and anything that can save cost.

Step 3: MY ‘INSPIRATION’ FILE: I keep an inspiration file (more of a whole shelf space,

really) when I need a sense of heading or a ‘push’ of a creative visual appeal to align with the rest of the space features. This shelf consists of wallpaper samples, color samples, inspirational images, more mood boards, written out ideas that I saved for another day. I use this shelf Every. Single. Time. It always comes to my rescue, such as this time when I felt so uninspired because I was surrounded by brown furnishings that I had to work with. I love working with lots of color, so this wasn’t an ideal scenario. I had to clearly focus on the walls and smaller décor pieces to make all the difference.

Step 4: CONTEMPLATION: I then take a few hours off to clear my head and begin reorganizing my mind to map out the how to reinvent the furnishings, what colors to add that would bring them to life, and creatively make it look glamorous within the budget. Mentally, I match different colours to match with the wallpaper I selected from my inspiration file, and solidify on 2 color scheme choices, light teal blues with creams, or a touch of purple with lime green. Both teal and lime have a positive and soothing yet a radiating effect on any space.

Step 5: VISUAL PLANNING: Once I have created a mental map, I transfer this onto paper. I create a brief mood board for myself for a sense of direction, and to take into account how

feasible it would be to bring my vision for this space to life. This also helps me explain the concept better to the owner, and provide an approximate budget of around CAD 1800, inclusive of material and labour. The design consists of having a wall casing on the main wall, which would include a 3D textured Murano wallpaper. This would save on wallpaper cost yet provide the glamour feel we were aiming for. Since there was already so much furniture in the room, I decided to remove the curtains completely and replace them with simple while Venetian shutters. To give more edge to the area, I would paint the bulkheads in 3 shades darker then the sofa color. So the color scheme added up to the following: Dark brown bulkheads, light brown sofas, cream armchairs, white casings and shutters, taupe walls, crystal chandelier and touches of either teal blues or lime greens with purple for the carpet and decor. I kept the décor pieces such as pillows and vases as fluid as possible depending on what we find at the store that would work well within the budget.

Step 6: GOING THE EXTRA MILE: While my friend is happy with the mood board, I still feel

the need to get my bearings right and ensure that everything blends cohesively within the space. So I created a not-so-perfect living area layout through Microsoft Word ‘Shapes’ to ensure the colors of the rug in my thought-of theme, wallpaper selected from my inspiration file, and my friend’s furnishings would work well together before I execute the plan and begin purchasing.

Step 7: ACTION: I required help from a contractor to paint the space and paper the walls, as well as my husband to assist me with placement of all pieces. Luckily, I knew a contractor I worked with previously who was very much in sync with my concepts and always had valuable ideas. While he began with the paintwork, I headed off to my much-loved place for décor pieces, Home Sense in Eglinton. I usually spend a minimum of 8 hours there on my first day of décor purchasing, and begin with the items that have the least selections, such as rugs and wall art. I find the perfect neutral rug in taupe, and then move on to purchasing pillows in hues of teals. Because I kept two choices of teals or limes to work with, it was much easier to decide when they had a better variety in teals and creams. Lastly, it was time to purchase the small décor pieces, something I look forward to most yet spend maximum time on because they have such phenomenal detailed décor. I have to really be very level headed here otherwise I grab everything sparkly in sight. That’s when my layout comes handy to stop me from going on a décor binge, I know I can only purchase 3 to 4 pieces, so I select a few variations, place them on a mirrored tray, and visualize them in the space. When I am truly unsure I purchase both pieces, and return those that don’t work well.

Step 8: COMING TOGETHER:This is the day I really look forward to. Wallpaper is done and

paint has dried, chandelier has been hung. Now we open the purchases and start rolling them out. First the rug, then the cushions. The cushion setting always takes a while because being a cushion lover I tend to purchase extras when I cannot make up my mind, and return it after I complete the space. Lastly, I set up the coffee table and end tables with my purchases as well as improvise with the pieces my friend wanted to retain. My friend and I were so very pleased with the final look, it was way more bright, contemporary, and yet very soothing. The brown sofas I disliked weren’t the focal point anymore but rather all the other textures surrounding it.

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