THE VIRTUES OF INTERIOR RE-DESIGN
by Nicole Wexler
It has become de rigeur to espouse the virtues of going green and being eco-friendly. One of the most effective ways to achieve this goal in the field of interior design is to implement a design that re-uses what you already own as far as possible, especially by recycling old or tired furniture. This helps reduce one’s impact on the environment as well as on the wallet!
When deciding on the re-design of a particular space, it often helps to answer the following questions before beginning:
1. What are the main uses of the space?
2. How does the current room set-up fall short of what you would ideally like to utilize it for?
3. What do you really like about the room as it is now?
4. What do you really dislike about the room as it is now?
5. Which items of furniture would you like to keep and which items would you ideally like to get rid of? Before discarding items, consider carefully whether or not they could be recycled or refinished.
6. What items do you need in order to realize the utility of your proposed design plan.
Once you have answered these questions, you will have the basics of a design plan for the space. The next step is to visualize the new design. This can be done by drawing a scale plan of the space or by emptying the room completely and bringing furniture in one piece at a time.
Shop the rest of your home or office for any items you need but don’t have.
When it comes to re-using furniture, the number of ways to do this is limited only by your imagination. Don’t like it there? Try it in a different room. You might be surprised at how much joy and convenience you get from reusing it in a different setting. If you do decide to get rid of something, be sure to consider donating it to a charity.
Here are some tips on recycling older items of furniture:
* Re-upholster old chairs and sofas. If this is something you wish to consider, don’t forget any old fabric you may have in storage, including old drapes – they might be perfect for the project.
* Utilize throws to add pop to older furniture.
* Indoor tables can become outdoor tables if they are waterproofed with an outdoor varnish. It is true that some antique tables would not fare well in the garden no matter what treatment you apply, but many other kinds of tables and also chairs, can be transferred to the garden for use without too much trouble.
* A stained or scratched table top can be given a new lease on life one of the following ways:
+ Sand it back to bare wood and then varnish;
+ Sand, prime and paint – add stencil art;
+ Tile it; or
+ Cover it with a table cloth.
* Chairs can be updated with paint, mosaic, or they can be recovered with new cushions or fabric covers to make them seem fresh and new.
* Cupboards and chests of drawers can be updated easily by changing out the handle or knob hardware. There is a huge selection in DIY shops. However, if you would prefer to keep old metal handles, old paint can be removed with paint stripper, then polish them with metal polish and they will come up like new.
* Or cupboards and drawers come in useful in the garden shed or garage for storing tools, paints and other garden or house material.
* Broken wooden furniture can be cut to size and used to make shelves.
The final step is to accessorize – this pulls the room together by providing a theme or color scheme. Then simply enjoy your brand new space!