Decorating any room can be a very daunting proposition. While such things as flooring, window treatments and furniture can be a major expense, that’s no reason to take the safe route and resign yourself to rooms filled with various shades of beige.
To decorate with complete confidence in your choices, we’ve put together 10 helpful tips that will let you avoid most decorating mistakes while turning a ho-hum room in your house into a showplace.
- 1. Use something special for starters. Every room needs a focal point or a theme, if you will. Start with something you absolutely love, whether it’s an heirloom rug, a favorite piece of art or even a tea set your grandmother gave to you. From this, all the other answers will start coming to you quickly. And yes, designing smartly can be as easy as finding a single color, pattern or prized possession to build around.
- 2. Gather your options. Don’t pick your tile or carpeting without looking at your choices of furniture, paint colors and window treatments as well. They should be considered all together, not separately. You’ll rue the day that you picked out carpet over the weekend, only to find it was a shade or two off from the perfect sofa you found a month later.
- 3. Consistency counts. In an ideal world you don’t want to mix and match styles in your home. If you love modern, stick with it throughout. There’s nothing more jarring than having a home that’s done entirely in Victorian and then walking into a master suite that’s contemporary. Pick a style and stick with it.
- 4. Live with you choices. If at possible, borrow samples and live with them day and night. Colors and textures change with the lighting of a room and while you may love a color in the daylight, it may not be so lovely in the glare of interior lighting after the sun sets.
- 5. Color is free – Use it. Paint is a cheap way to redecorate a room. But you may be surprised that good wallpaper is just as cost effective and easy to apply. In fact, you can usually paper a room in a day that would take two or three days to prep and paint. And wallpaper is great at hiding the blemishes that require a lot of spackling and sanding if you were to paint instead.
- 6. Pick a single focus. Each room needs a focus – a single item. It could a fireplace, an antique piece of furniture, a stunning sofa, etc. Don’t give into temptation and confuse the eye with too many things to look at.
- 7. Watch the weather. The seasons can greatly influence your choices. In summer, people tend to pick dark floors, but choose light floors in winter. Be aware of seasonal influences, especially if you live in northern climes where the seasons can be very different from one another.
- 8. Showrooms are cavernous. Your home is not. Measure your spaces and measure the furniture you’re thinking about purchasing. Nothing looks worse than a piece of furniture (or artwork) that is too large or too small for the space you have available.
- 9. Don’t be a slave to fashion. That day-glo beanbag chair may look tempting, but don’t decorate according to the latest fashions or fads. Your home will end up looking just as dated as your wardrobe a year from now. Stick to the classics – woods, rich fabrics, stone and natural materials – and you’ll never be sorry.
- 10. Get help when you need it. No one expects you to be an expert in interior design, unless it was your major in college, of course. Ask others for help. They may have something in mind that you would have never thought of on your own because you’re too close to the situation.