Step 1. A little inspiration is in order
You can begin by choosing an inspiration piece to help you get started. From this inspirational piece, you can choose your color palette, determining your primary and secondary (accent) colors. This is an insider trick that professional interior designers and decorators use, and it works! By using a “Tuscan look” painting or photograph, pottery, or textiles (such as an area rug or tapestry) you will have a starting point upon which to build your room. This “trick” will give you a personal Tuscan color palette.
Step 2. Declutter – clear the way
To set the stage and prepare your home for your new Tuscan style, consider a good purge of clutter. Clutter is the antithesis of Tuscan design. Pack away, sell, or give away anything that does not meet the simplicity and functionality test!
Step 3. Consider your options
Remember that the goal is to layer your home with welcoming Tuscan decor elements. Your plan should be to create a feeling of warmth, charm, and simplicity in every room of your home. Your “tool kit” will contain your vision of your Tuscan home, those lovely Tuscan colors, some well-chosen Tuscan furnishings and accessories, and determination and perspiration (which might mean a paint brush and a trowel!).
Step 4. Choosing where to begin
If your family/living room and kitchen are “open concept” and/or connected, this offers the perfect opportunity to instantly recreate your home in the Tuscan style.
Beginning with a smaller, less visible room, though, provides an opportunity to “experiment” with wall treatments and furnishings, and a bedroom can be less expensive to redecorate than a family room or kitchen.
Step 5. What furniture, lighting and accessories will you need?
Functionality is key, as is rustic style to Tuscan decor. Think of wood, wrought iron, ceramics… “simple and sturdy” rather than “fine and ornate”. It is not necessary (and indeed is not desirable) to fill your room(s) with items that “match”. They must, however, be functional pieces, and may even serve more than one purpose. A bench, for instance, may open up for storage. Quality and durability are key.
Step 6. Taking a Tuscan style inventory
Consider what Tuscan design elements you already have, which ones you want to keep and which ones you would want to replace (for instance, you may already have stone or wood flooring, which you adore, but a Victorian kitchen table which could “find a new home!”).
Step 7. Choosing your colors
Select your favorite colors from your Tuscan inspiration piece or from a Tuscan color palette. Start with decisions about walls – which can transform a room faster than anything else – whether a paint treatment, a texturizing treatment, or a wall covering. If you want a plaster-like finish on a “plain” wall (very Tuscan!) you might choose a texturizing treatment (e.g. faux finish) or use some of the new textured wall coverings. Some of these finishing techniques require either a professional painter/wall hanger or a determined zeal!
And before finalizing your color palette, look at the function and mood of the room and the exposure you have (your natural light sources) before choosing the “warm” or “cool” colors of your Tuscan color palette.
Step 8. Creating a plan
Advance planning will provide you with the opportunity to determine how much you will spend on the project (establishing a budget) that is vital for avoiding the stress that is sometimes associated with redecorating projects.
Decide on the scope and timeline for the project, and whether it will be done incrementally or all at once. Will you be going it alone, using professional contractors & designers, the help of friends, or a combination?
Be realistic – It will likely cost more than you think, so also be conservative. Set out a budget and fit things into it. You can always add elements later as your finances and inclination allow.
Step 9. Roll up your sleeves and get started!
Maximum impact, right away, will be achieved by beginning with walls so consider a paint treatment, a texturizing treatment, or a wall covering. Alternately, flooring (if this is part of your overall plan) will also create tremendous instant impact. If budget is a consideration, remember that Tuscan design allows (in fact encourages) that we use and elevate humble materials. Antiques and pieces of salvaged ironwork become decorative art; well-worn wooden chairs are cherished for their rustic simplicity. Look at furniture with a new “old” eye.
You’re now ready to move forward and start transforming your home into a little bit of Tuscany!
Copyright 2008. Excerpt from Decorating in the Tuscan Style, the 162-page eBook packed with tips and techniques (and lots of photos) to help you transform your home and garden into the heart and soul of Tuscany. To learn more about Tuscan décor, visit http://www.intheTuscanstyle.com.