Decorating Tips

There are many decorating tips that can make any move less taxing.

When you are to transitioning from apartment living to buying your first house, the task can be both exciting and overwhelming. Many people feel having a “whole” house to decorate is the most overwhelming part.

Often the furniture you have been living with is a collection of hand-me-downs and bargain basement finds combined with a few good pieces you’ve purchased. The apartment remained very neutral because of landlord restrictions. And the fact you didn’t want to put a lot of time and effort into a place that you knew you would be leaving.

You now have a house larger than the apartment…where do you start?

Decorating Tip: Hire an interior decorator

This is a great idea if you have discussed with the decorator how much input you intend to have in the process ahead of time. Her decorating tips and expertise will certainly be welcomed. However, remember you are the one living in the house…the final decisions should be yours.

There are many horror stories about the decorator who arrives and announces that absolutely everything must be thrown out and you must start from scratch.

Is this really necessary?

Decorating Tip: If the decorator advises you to throw everything out , the first thing that goes is the decorator!

Unless it is your choice to throw out everything, it is seldom necessary or realistic. Unless your taste has changed 180 degrees, many existing pieces can be incorporated into your new home.

Decorator Tip: Mixing family heirlooms and “gently used” pieces with new gives the room personality. Your “hand-me-downs” can be great accent or conversation pieces.

Take a careful, and honest, look at the hand-me-downs. Some pieces may be kept because they have sentimental value. Some may be kept because they will serve the purpose until you can afford the new pieces you’ve chosen.

Another great decorating tip to consider when moving into a new space is walk through the entire house, looking at how each room relates to other rooms and passageways.

New homes tend to be more open with one room flowing right into the next. Older homes have more defined spaces, with definite delineations between rooms.

With this in mind, choose a color scheme. The wide-open floor plans of newer homes may require you to carry one color through several rooms if there isn’t a logical place to stop one color and start another.

Colors create specific sensations in all of us, so choose colors you are comfortable with and not whatever colors are the latest trend.

Which comes first…fabric or wall colors? Great question!

Decorator Tip: The general consensus among decorators is selecting a paint palette is less of a hassle if the fabrics are chosen first.

It is much easier to find a paint color to go with a fabric than to find fabric to go with paint. You can always have paint colors custom mixed… a textile manufacturer won’t change a fabric color just for you!

If you have already decided on a fabric or need to use existing upholstery pieces, read idea #3 On the Decorating Ideas page

Remember, your walls will be the largest field of color and have the greatest impact. Choose two or three coordinating colors for the trim and ceilings. No, ceilings DO NOT have to be white!

Decorating Tip: A good rule of thumb when combining colors is to use your primary color 65-70%, your secondary color15-20% and your accent color the remainder.

Decorating Tip that saves frustration: Prioritize your rooms

If you can’t decorate the whole house all at once (and few of us can!), list them from the most to the least important. Can’t decide on a “must do first” room? Where do you spend the most time? Usually, it’s the family room or living area. It would make sense to start there.

For each room you intend to decorate, ask yourself

what that room will be used for.
How much traffic will it get?
What kind of natural light will it receive?
Is there already a focal point (fireplace, Palladian windows etc) or do you need to create one?
What special pieces do you already have that could be incorporated into the new decorating plan?
Once you answer all these questions, you are ready to make your new choices.

Write your plan down and take it with you when you shop. Don’t be influenced by the latest trends if they don’t fit in with your plan. At the same time, don’t be so rigid that you can’t bend a little to accommodate a great find.

If you haven’t already done so, read the Decorating Ideas pages. They provide a basic plan for tackling your decorating project.

Decorating Tip: Organize your samples and ideas.

After you’ve spent the time to collect paint chips, fabric samples, design ideas from magazines and sketched out floor plans, it’s helps to keep everything organized.

Your samples and ideas are of no use if you can’t put your hands on them when you need them!

The Deco-Organizer is a great tool. It provides a system that easily allows you to record all your information and measurements and keep them right at your fingertips.

No more hunting for all the little samples and slips of paper you wrote measurements on! It’s an easily portable organizer ready to go anywhere.

Everything is right here in one binder!

Decorating Tip: Gather ideas from many sources
If you are at a point in life where home decorating is a new interest, look to many resources for information and inspiration. There are thousands of books and websites dedicated to home decorating…you can’t possibly read them all (but I try!).

Throughout this site, I have included several additional sources I think are worth a look. One great site is Home Decor 101 – It provides numerous resources on interior decorating, gardening, home organization, and more. It’s an enjoyable and interesting site to explore.

Armed with these ideas and decorating tips, you are ready to take on any project!