Do you want to know how to decorate your home? If you want to love opening the door to your home every time, some careful planning when you decorate will make this a reality. The key is to think in terms of the big picture. Choose items starting with the large pieces, down to the small ones. Remember functionality before making any purchase to avoid clutter, and items that end up stuffed in a closet.
Decide on the purpose of each room. Don't start buying things until you have an idea of what you need in the room! For example, you might see a sale on beautiful large vases. But if you have no purpose in mind for them, they will end up taking up space. Plan BEFORE you shop.
Decide on colors you like. Some experts say to pick 3 and focus on those.Of the 3, think about which of those colors is more of a "flavor of the month" that you might change your mind on later. This is a great choice for smaller accessories later. For now, focus on the 2 colors that you feel like you want to live with for a few years or more.
Choose a material. Think of a material that you would like your furniture to feature. This might be a wood tone such as cherry, pine, or ebony. Or if you prefer industrial or modern styles this might be a metal finish or plastic color. When it comes times to buy furniture, it doesn't all have to match perfectly as in be from the same set. But most rooms benefit from having a theme featured when it comes to the type and color of the material.
Credit: Amberdawn 2011Think: flooring. Think about your largest purchases. Probably the biggest investment that you not likely replace very often is your flooring. Whether you prefer carpet, tile, laminate, or hard wood, do not compromise on the flooring you purchase. For me, I waited months for a store-wide sale to crop up and then I went with my favorite. This way I saved some money, and I got the look I loved.
Focus on other large pieces next: furniture. Again, when you buy a couch, be sure it is a color and style that you are sure you will enjoy for at least a few years. If you have your doubts, or if you think "wow, that's different...but I don't know if it's me," you should wait. You want a couch to look inviting to you and feel comfortable, not make you look at it twice as though it's a challenge to your sense of aesthetics.
Credit: Amberdawn 2011Select a wall color. Paint costs MUCH less than a new piece of furniture (if you do it yourself) so you can be more daring with paint than you were with the furniture. (Disclaimer: I love to paint. If you don't, you might want to re-prioritize the furniture and paint philosophy for yourself).
However, you still want to put some care and planning into your color choice, because even though it won't break your bank to repaint, it does take time and energy. So bring home lots of samples that are possibilities. Once you find colors you like, put the samples beside your flooring and then your furniture to make sure you like how they look together.
Some people are afraid to paint walls a dark color, especially small rooms, because they can make the room look smaller. However, if your room has enough light, and you use light colored furniture for contrast, the effect can look very stylish and sophisticated.
Credit: Amberdawn 2011Accessorize! Again, be purposeful with what you purchase. Most of your items should suit your taste AND a purpose. Mirrors bounce light around a room. Canisters, jars, boxes, or baskets will provide extra storage, but so can ottomans, coffee tables, and TV stands. If you like the look of glass or polished metal, these will also reflect light around. This will reduce the amount of lights you need to have on and make the room feel lighter and airier.
You can change accessories much easier than furniture so go ahead and be daring with color.
Remember, too many accessories will make your room start too look cluttered, so instead of adding accessories as years go by, change the accessories for an updated look.
Above all, have fun. Hopefully these steps take out some of the guesswork if you have a blank canvas, but they shouldn't make you feel limited or afraid to decorate. If you break one or two rules because you found something you MUST have, then enjoy it. When it comes to art, broken rules can lead to even more interesting and beautiful design. If you'd like more tips for how to decorate, I've included resource links below. Happy decorating!