So you’ve had the plasterer in or a tiler and perhaps an electrician too. You may have laid new flooring or hung the wallpaper yourself. You’ve painted the walls, replaced the dodgy radiator and the room is finally looking great again now that you’ve rescued it from it’s shoddy before. You may have purchased some new furniture or given life to your older pieces and you’ve finally moved them into the space now. It feels good, right? Sure it does. But is your room ready for it’s ‘before and after’ debut? Is it really done?
The funny thing is, so many people stop there. The walls and floors are done, the furniture is in the room but somehow, it lacks a bit of life, a bit of soul, a bit of YOU. So, after all that work, you may want to hold off sharing your room just yet on social media. If you really want a room to feel polished and look totally complete, there are 6 important finishing touches you may want to add to a space to give it that truly ‘finished’ look.
An area rug
You may think the only job an area rug has is protecting the floors from a high-traffic area. However, they also provide an opportunity for you to pull the colours or textures of a room together. They also help to delineate spaces in an open plan area (rather than it looking like a warehouse full of random pieces) and grounds the furniture in a smaller room, making it all look much more pulled together. If you have low-pile carpet in a room, you can also feel free to layer a rug on top of carpet for the same effect and to add a bit of colour or texture to your space. For tips on choosing rugs, check out our post on How to Choose an Area Rug here.
Artwork on the walls
Lots of blank walls can make a room feel a little unloved. Whether you choose to fill a large wall with a gallery or just have a few single large statement pieces, don’t neglect the personality that art can bring to a room. Always choose what you love first and pay attention to the colours and how they work in a space second. There are so many affordable options out there these days that there’s no need to neglect this important finishing touch.
I’m not suggesting that every room needs to have a full set of swags and tails (unless of course, that’s the look you love) but even the simplest cotton curtains will elevate a room and make it look more polished. They will of course, provide some privacy but even thinner unlined curtains will filter the light in a space rather nicely in summer and in winter, heavier lined curtains can be an energy-efficient way to keep a room warmer. Always hang your curtains high (about 1-3″ from your ceiling) and wide so that when the curtains are pulled back, the entire window is visible, allowing as much light to stream into a room as possible. And make sure they hang all the way to the floor. Stopping your curtains at a window sill will make your room look shorter while curtains that touch the floor will give the illusion of height and grandeur.
If you have lots of surfaces in your home (think shelves, sideboards, accent tables, a fireplace mantle) that are left completely empty, your room will feel unfinished. While I wouldn’t recommend filling every available space with ‘stuff’ for the sake of it, having a few small collections of items in a display will help a space look like someone lives there. I’m not talking about throwing your clothing around a room or leaving dirty mugs around but purposeful displays – a stack of books, a small tray with a collection of objects, a few table lamps, perhaps a candle or two. Creating these small display areas are a wonderful way of getting that finished look in a room and unless you are a hard-core minimalist, these items go a long way in making a room feel complete.
While rugs and curtains will make a room look more polished, you want to add your own personality to a space too, otherwise it will look like a hotel room, lacking any real soul. You want a room to tell the story of you (and those you live with) and to make it feel like home. The best way to do this is by displaying your personality – whether that’s through personal photographs, items picked up on your travels, treasures that have been passed down to you from family or friends or even books or items that display your personal hobbies or passions.
With everything else now in place, the last finishing touch any room benefits from is a few plants. They bring an organic touch to your space, bring the outdoors in and give a room a bit of life. Consider hanging plants from the ceiling, curating a small urban jungle in a sunny corner or simply dotting a few smaller plants on shelves or surfaces. If you feel you have a black thumb, start with smaller hardy varieties like snake plants, spider plants or ZZ plants or consider good quality faux plants which look great and require virtually no maintenance.
Now that you’ve added all your finishing touches, your room should look polished and ready for it’s big debut. Snap those pictures and share your hard work with your friends! What do you do to make a room look more complete? I’d love to hear from you.