Decorating 101

By Sabika Naqvi

The latest trend today amongst home owners is interior decorating. Whether you’re a young couple who have just purchased your first and new home or you’re the old married couple whose children have moved out, everyone is looking for change.  That change often includes: organization/space management, and a decorating scheme that fits the budget.  The easiest and inexpensive way to make an interior decorating statement is by painting.  However, painting has some specific rules which are as follows:


The biggest mistake anyone can make is to choose the colour of their paint first and then look for their rugs, fabrics and accessories to match their colour schemes.  The first thing anyone should do when it comes to interior decorating any space is pick the area rug that they would like to work with and pick their paint colours from there. If there is no rug to work with, then choose your colours from the fabric that will be used in that space and that will be your inspiration.  The main reason why one should choose the colours from their rugs or fabrics is because the impact is greater, not only will it bring the fabric into play but it will harmonize everything together and the room will most definitely come to life.  The other reason as to why decorators choose colour schemes from their fabrics/rugs is because it is much harder to find matching fabrics after a paint job whereas almost any paint colour is now available to match your fabrics/rugs.

Colour Scheme:

After choosing the right fabric and or rug, the next step is the paint.  Take your sample of fabric(s)/rugs or a picture with you to the local paint store. Bring home your paint colour samples that you think will work and lay them on the floor of the room they will be used for.  Look at the colour samples and fabrics/rugs under the light in that specific room to see if the colours work well together. Once the colours are a good match the next step is to choose the right paint finish.

Choosing the right paint finishes:

Today there are a variety of paint brands and sometimes it can be really hard to determine which one is right for you.  The easiest way to choose a brand is to find out which brands have your inspiration paint colours. Go to your local paint stores to see a selection of paint chip samples and decide from there. Once you have decided on the brand and paint selections, the finishes are the second part.  There are generally 5 or 6 paint finishes to choose from; Matte/flat Finish, Eggshell Finish, Satin Finish, Semi-Gloss Finish and Glossy Finish.

Matte Finish– Matte or also known as flat finish is generally used in interior walls.  This finish has a flat surface which means it has no sheen and is always used for ceilings.  This finish can also be used for walls which have small wall bumps, cracks and other imperfections, since this finish does not reflect light. Although there is a benefit to a flat finish which will hide imperfections, flat finishes are not washable (even if advertised), stain easily and are harder to maintain.  Lastly, if you are looking for a dull paint finish to work with then matte/flat finishes are exactly what you’re looking for.

Eggshell Finish– The name of this finish reflects its overall appearance. If you can imagine the shell of an egg which has very low sheen, this is what the finish gives the impression of. With the smallest amount of gloss/sheen possible, it is good for interior walls and it is better with cleaning than the flat finish.

Satin Finish-Satin finish has more sheen and gloss than the previous finishes mentioned above.  It reflects light, brings life to the walls and is perfect for any interior space.  Satin finish has a smooth, velvety outlook and it is kept clean easily.  This finish is often used for windows, doors, trims but can be used for wall paint.  This finish is highly recommended for high moisture areas such as kitchens and bathrooms so the paint does not crack with the temperature change and it also recommended for high traffic areas and kids rooms. Paints with satin finishes are easily cleaned with light scrubbing.

Semi-Gloss Finish– Semi gloss finishes are mostly used on doors, trims, kitchen cabinets and bathrooms.  This finish has a subtle sheen or gloss and reflects light.  It is easily cleaned, it portrays a smooth surface without being too shiny or glitzy. When choosing to paint with a semi-gloss finish, the walls must be pre-finished, smoothed out by sanding otherwise all imperfections will show.

Glossy Finish– The name of this finish gives away its appearance.  This finish has the highest sheen and gloss, it reflects any type of light and it will show any imperfection on the surface.  Although this high gloss and shiny finish is not very popular for interior walls, it is being used for trims, kitchen cabinets and furniture for a dramatic look in a very contemporary setting.  This finish is easily maintained and can be cleaned with light scrubbing.

In a nutshell, when choosing the right paint for any space, the first step is to determine the rugs and fabrics being used in that space, the second step is to choose the paint colours inspired from the fabrics or rugs and lastly choosing the right paint finishes.  These are just a few steps to guide you in the right direction for decorating your home.  Everyone has a house, its now time to make yours a home.

Sabika Naqvi
President – Naqvi Interior Designs
M: 416-878-0771 | E:

1 Comment

  1. “The biggest mistake anyone can make is to choose the colour of their paint first and then look for their rugs, fabrics and accessories to match their colour schemes”

    I dont think thats true at all. In fact one very popular successful interior designer, the host of Colour Confidential, Jane Lockhart uses colour as her inspiration. The whole design and aura of the room starts with and revolves around the first colour chosen.

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