I am often asked for home decorating advice from people hoping for a quick answer of color, style and painting techniques. Although I’d love to help, there is never a simple answer when it comes to home decor. Your room’s ‘flavor’ is as complex as you are, as varied as each member of your family, as interesting as your pets. Akin to the clothes you wear, room decor is personal. Therefore the first rule in decorating is that there are no set rules – only guidelines.
Here are just a few of those guidelines:
Trust Your Own Style and Taste You know more about your favorite colors, furniture styles and art than you think. Your home should reflect your personality.
Focal Points Choose one favorite or grand element in a room, say a fireplace or a large picture window, and make this the focal point of the room. Decorate around the item or area – placing furniture and objects around it to attract a visitor’s attention and to give the room cohesiveness. Windows are great for this, especially if your favorite flower garden or fountain is just outside.
Choosing A Theme Every room begins with a theme – even if eclectic. This could be a color, or a style – my favorites are French Country and Farmhouse. Having a theme gives you a starting point to carry you through each phase of room decor. (More about the phases later.)
Deciding on Paint If your room doesn’t have any distinguishing elements (see #2) consider painting a wall a unique or even your favorite color. This creates a focal point where there once was none. A co-ordinating piece of framed art or decorative wall decor will set it off nicely and with a comfortable chair, an interesting table or a gorgeous bed frame you’ve just created the majority of the room in a few steps.
Don’t Forget the Floors Area rugs are an inexpensive way to define a room. You can lay them straight or on an angle, purchase them to match wall colors exactly and they come in all types of designs and styles.
Art and Mirrors The glass from framed art or simple mirrors reflect light from natural and and added light sources and give dimension to a room. Mirrors perform double duty as well as they create an illusion of space.
Lighting My favorite decorating aspect – lighting. There are so many wonderful chandeliers, table lamps, ceiling fan lighting, track lighting, monorail systems – there is just no end to the variety. Go on a quest to find just the perfect lighting for each room and you won’t be disappointed. Your local home hardware or renovation store represents about 1% of the possibilities – shop online for lots of ideas, custom made, vintage and more lighting sources. You will never regret the time and even a little added expense to have fixtures that no one else has – they make the room!
Furniture Placement Just when you think you have everything in place and your room is ‘finished’, try this. Move the furniture around. Try it on an angle, try groupings of chairs, add a nook for reading only, re-arrange around a different focal point – then sit in the room and imagine having one friend or five in that space with you. In your mind, live in the room. You’d be surprised how many times just changing the placement of your furniture can make a room feel new.
Potted Plants Plants clean the air, make a room feel alive and impact the décor of a room. If placed strategically large plants can hide flaws in a room.
I hope these tips and ideas start you on your creative path to decorating your home or room. I strongly suggest getting a few books on your favorite style to get the ideas flowing and help you define your taste before you begin.