Meet Renate The Creator Of Dream Home Decorating

This interview with Renate the creator of dream home decorating came about while creating this website about easy curtain ideas.

I have met some really interesting and talented people and thought about introducing my visitors to them. They all have websites or blogs in fields that offer lots of great info on all kinds of subjects related to the home.

These people all have lots of experience in areas that I only know a little about. So I thought about giving you a feel for who they are and what they're all about.

So I decided a great way to do this would be to ask them some questions and let them answer in their own way.

1. Hi Renate, thanks for chatting with us today. Tell us a little about yourself and also about your website "" and what motivated you to start it.

Hello Lee... thanks for having me over!

As you know, design is my second career - in my first, I was a grammar school (high school) teacher. Once I'd finished teaching, all I wanted was to catch up with learning - and to create beautiful, useful things.

So in Design School, I was like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to learn everything! (Well, okay, except weaving. If you want to be a weaver, you need patience.) I also took several internships to test the waters in a range of design markets.

By the time I completed the degree, I knew I didn't want to design someone else's products. I wanted to follow my own inspiration and do only what I'm best at.

That's why I started Dream Home Decorating! In a way, it's a mix of my old teaching skills and my new design focus.

I love working with rooms in need of a makeover - to come up with design ideas that can breathe new life and zest into a tired space.

There are soooo many neat little tricks to make a room look larger or cozier, or to change the feel of a space by just adding or taking away a color. I want people to know about this stuff!

Beyond that, and whenever I need an additional design challenge, I just create new Dream home Decorating DIY projects for my readers ;-)

2. When did you get interested in all things design and interiors? Were there any early influences - people, places, jobs that got you started down this road?

I think it's mostly travelling that did it: Seeing how people live in other cultures, how they structure and embellish their living spaces. I got fascinated by how different your whole life suddenly feels when your surroundings look and feel different. And the variety of options is truly breathtaking.

3. I know you have an excellent design qualification to your name. How did attending Chelsea College of Art and Design shape your design philosophy and outlook?

Chelsea was the perfect place for me to go to. The teachers were top-notch designers who challenged and pushed us relentlessly. What I appreciated most about my principal tutor was her diagnostic capability - whenever I was stuck in a rut, or about to chicken out of a challenge, she could spot it a mile off.

As a result of all this, by the time our degree show came around, I was sashaying into fashion .... even though you wouldn't think of me as a fashion girl. (As in, at all ;-)

The other thing I really loved about Chelsea College was how mutually supportive the students were. I've heard of design schools where students lock their designs away so none of their classmates can copy them. On our course, I think we were simply too proud to steal each others' design ideas. We'd look at each other's work and go, wow, this is cool. Have you thought about doing X with that?

As a consequence, my design philosophy at Dream Home Decorating is: Be Yourself - wild, whacky, or delicate and pretty, it doesn't matter as long as it's truly you. If your first results don't look great, that is normal and to be expected. Keep pushing and allow your 'mistakes' to inspire you with new ideas. Push the boat out and have fun!

4. You told me recently about your trip to Hobart, Tasmania. Would you tell us what the reason behind that trip was? Also how you found the experience.

I was invited to give a talk to the Colour Society of Australia and to teach a class of interior design students how to create room color schemes. It was a perfect excuse to visit a beautiful part of the world and make new friends! The Australians are so laid back ... I'd love to go and live in Oz for a while ... maybe the lifestyle would rub off on me!

5. Speaking of which, you have traveled and lived in quite a few countries. Do you think this has helped you to develop more insight into interiors and design?

Yes, definitely! It's very easy to get stuck in conventional ways when everyone around you seems to do things in the same style. Travelling puts new possibilities right in your face. You are forced to consider how your life would be different if you lived in this other culture instead of your own. Once you've peeked into your life - and your home - from an outside perspective, there's no turning back. And you realize what a fabulous range of choices you actually have.

6. If someone were to ask you a question on your website Dream Home Decorating such as "I want to completely redesign my living room, but don't know where to start" - what basic pointers and advice would you offer them to get them started in the right direction?

I would ask them a lot of questions, like:

  • a) Who is currently using this room, at what times, for what? Which of these functions do you want to keep, and which new ones, if any, do you want to introduce?
  • b) What do you love about the room as it is now? Which pieces, if any, of your current furniture and accessories do you want to keep?
  • c) What's your vision of a fabulous new living room? (Look for examples in magazines and books.)
  • d) Out of all your ideas, which three are the most important to you? (This helps you focus your attention and resources so that you don't end up investing your hard-earned cash in unimportant stuff.)

  • 7. So what do you think the future holds for Dream Home Decorating and your love of design and interiors?

    Well, in the past 18 months I've answered hundreds of Dream Home Decorating readers' Color Questions, and got a pretty good sense of the information/education most people would need in order to create great color schemes for their homes without making expensive mistakes, or having to hire a pro.

    So now I'm writing an e-book about creating Color Schemes That Always Work. The illustrations in the book show how different color schemes can change a room almost out of recognition! It's a very systematic, easy-to-follow approach where you'll learn exactly how colors work. You'll end up realizing how little you actually need in terms of fancy furniture and expensive accessories to make your home look seriously good :-)

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