1. Write a list of things you need or desire and record the measurements of your floorplan in a notebook you can carry with you when you’re out and about. This takes the pressure out of manically looking for objects on specific days and leaves you open to suggestion when you stumble across new shops, markets or sales.
2. A hot glue gun will fix and fasten most things.
3. Do not disregard rough edges, selvedges, things that are skewed or wonky or even broken, the backs of things (or, as I like to call it, ‘side B’), fraying, uneven paint jobs, non-treated surfaces.
4. Check out salvage shops, car-boot sales, flea markets and garage sales, especially if you’re away from home or in another country.
5. Learn to spackle and sandpaper to make changes or fix mistakes.
6. Make friends with tradesmen. Encourage them to do different things.
7. Learn how to drill and plug a hole in the wall so you don’t have to wait for someone else to do it. Buy picture-rail hooks, string, wire, sharp skinny brass hanging tacks (they are unobtrusive and easily removed), and all kinds of nails. Play with the placement of your pieces on the wall to achieve the right scale and positioning.
8. Digital or phone cameras are a must for shopping trips. Always ask the shop keeper before you start snapping stuff in the store. Photograph the shop’s business card or window as a reminder.