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Your 5 New Year decorating resolutions

New Year, new you… new look for your home?

The start of the year is as much a time to take stock of the place you live in as it is for resolving to improve your health, mind or social life. With the Christmas guests gone and the lure of the sales calling, it can be a perfect opportunity to give your home a revamp. But just as with any sort of personal change, having a list of goals and promises to yourself will help keep you focused and stop you making the same mistakes again. So, in the spirit of both self-and home-improvement for 2018, we have drawn up five suggestions for New Year decorating resolutions that will hopefully inspire you and motivate you to try something new.

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Image by Paul Massey, for House & Garden

Try a colour outside your comfort zone

We are all creatures of habit, and never more so than when it comes to colour. Personally I have filled my house with a colour palette of pink and green without really noticing – I just bought things in the colours I like. But the default settings on my internal colour wheel are keeping me stuck in something of a rut, and so this year I have resolved to try something new, like a deep blue that I admire in other houses but, until now, have never considered for my own. Picking a colour outside your usual range can inject fresh life into your whole home. If you’re a little unsure, try it out in a small area like a cloakroom or a single wall.

painted woodwork

Paint the woodwork

A few months ago I would have rolled my eyes at this, surely the most tedious decorating job imaginable. Painting the skirting boards feels like one of those jobs that takes ages but barely registers in terms of impact, right? Well, having just completed a full repaint on the woodwork in my house I can report that I’m amazed by the difference it has made. Replacing tired, yellowing gloss with a silky eggshell finish has enhanced the main wall colours and given the house a finished look that it lacked. I have also opted to match the skirtings to the wall colour in some rooms, creating an immersive, dynamic effect that is much more modern than plain white. Switching a woodwork colour from, say, a cream to a soft sage is enough to totally revamp a room. And best of all, it’s the only decorating job that can be done almost exclusively sitting down. Win win.

House & Garden

Image: Simon Brown for House & Garden

Take it a shade darker

Make a resolution to push your natural decorating tendencies and embrace the general trend that has been sweeping decorating for a year or two. Whatever shade you are contemplating, look on the colour chart and try out the next shade darker. Most colours will have a slightly darker partner colour on the colour card, but if, like me, you’re used to wanting subtlety and light in your scheme, you can find yourself always defaulting to the palest version of your preferred hue. The end result can be a little underwhelming, so try out that slightly darker shade – your make-over will have more oomph, more impact and be more on-trend.

painted floor

Have fun with ceilings and floors

British homes are surprisingly conservative when it comes to our floor and ceiling colour choices. Perhaps it is our gloomy climate, but we seem pre-programmed to paint these areas white at all times. But these large expanses of space make up a huge part of the overall effect of a room, and can even be a place to experiment and have fun. Floor paint doesn’t just come in black, grey and white, so think across the whole spectrum. Paint a runner on your stairs or a rug onto your floor. Add impact to a small bathroom with a rich emerald green floor, or aubergine, or saffron. Not quite ready for a full-on colour explosion underfoot? Then consider the subtler effects of the palest colours. A very soft pink floor paint can add warmth and charm to a white room. A very pale blue can add cool, crisp light when used on a ceiling.

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Take your time

Lastly, an easy resolution to forget in the rush of energy that the new year (sometimes) brings, but one of the foundations of making good decorating decisions is to take your time. This can mean taking time to consider your scheme rather than rushing at it with the tester pots. Think not just the room you are painting but also the rooms to which it connects – how will the new colour look when viewed through the doorway of an adjacent hall? How does it look in different states of light and at different times of day? Once you’ve made your final choice, take time too to prepare properly to get the best possible finish. Not ground-breaking, but tried and tested advice that should be on your decorating resolutions list year in, year out.

Ros Anderson


Ros Anderson is an interiors journalist and blogger who has worked for The Guardian, Elle Decoration, Ideal Home and many more. In 2009 she co-founded cult interiors blog My Friend's House with Jill Macnair, as a place to write about design in a more honest, spontaneous and humorous way.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist