Whether you buy cheap or expensive roller covers, washing them before their first use gets rid of the fuzz that inevitably comes off once you start painting. Wash them with water and a little bit of liquid soap, and run your hands up and down the covers to pull off any loose fibers (a practice called "preconditioning covers"). You can start using the roller covers right away—you don't need to let them dry.
Almost anything can serve as an accessory, and that goes for found objects and household items that cost practically nothing. Architectural corbels rescued from a salvage yard make great bookends, while seashells and driftwood collected at the shore create a lovely natural grouping. A bowl filled with crisp green apples lends a bright pop of color to just about any surface, and a stack of vintage hardbacks adds height, dimension and character to an occasional table.
Space planning, which impacts scale, is essential. People often use furniture that is too large or too small for a space. I like to blame a certain retail company for the large-scale furnishings that saturate interiors today. Build around the furniture that you actually have space for. Think about the balance of a space. For larger rooms, consider establishing zones for different activities: a seating area that is conducive to conversation; another area for television viewing; a work area with a desk or table for projects or games. Even though I love symmetry, you can make things feel too contrived when you make everything symmetrical. Think about the visual weight and distribution to balance out a space. Proportion and scale are key to any design.
It is a lot easier for people to express what they do not like. By putting dislikes into the equation, we can eliminate some things and narrow in on others. For example, a bold large-scale print might remind you of something in your childhood that you do not want to see in your own space. Or a wingback chair might bring back memories of being sent to time-outs for pulling your sister’s hair. Likewise, a certain color might evoke feelings of a past design trend that you aren’t eager to repeat. These memories and reactions are very personal and individual, but also define our tastes.