How To Decorate Your Home From Scratch When You Do Not Know Where To Start
Maybe I should have named this post, “The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Decorating Your Home.” Let me first start off by saying that I am NOT an interior designer. I did not take one design class in college. And even if I would have, I am sure I would have probably skipped the class 99% of the time…(don’t read that part, Mom). But I have seen every single Pottery Barn (Ballard Designs, West Elm etc) magazine since 1997.
And I have read so many design books from some of my favorite designers…and by read, I mean I looked at all of the pretty pictures and analyzed every single detail. Not to mention, I have redecorated all of my homes more times than the weather can change in Ohio in one given month.
There are a few tips and tricks I have discovered over the years. And when you have no idea where to even begin, this should hopefully help. I know decorating can be overwhelming. But when you start decorating all willy nilly with no plan in mind, damage can be done. Things you do not need or even want get purchased and paint colors that are all wrong get painted on your walls.
Let’s start from the beginning…
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Decorating your home~where to start?
Ask any professional designer and they will probably tell you the same thing I am about to tell you. Remove everything out of your room (or push everything off to the side). You need a blank slate. I am not saying that you will never see that couch again that you just took out of your room but you might need it out of there so you can visualize your space.
Guess what? That couch might look better positioned somewhere else in your room. You’ll never know because you keep seeing it pushed up against that wall.
Take the front room in my house, for example. Since we moved in, I had my settee pushed up against the side wall. Something about this room wasn’t working for me. It always felt off. But I just assumed I needed that couch up against that wall. Isn’t that the normal thing to do?
One day while cleaning, I moved everything off to the side and started rearranging the furniture. The settee got moved to a new spot in front of the windows and it completely transformed the space for me…just by moving the settee.
Find your starting point
I don’t recommend that your starting point be a paint color. That step comes later. I suggest starting with something that has a pattern or a bold piece of art that you love. A rug is a great place to start. Even fabric for drapery or pillows is a good starting point.
(Related: See how I made those curtains here)
Find a few colors in your rug or fabric that you love and you just took one step closer to finding your color scheme. Here’s a tip too…most fabrics have colored dots (or squares) on the edge of the fabric.
Those are used for many purposes but what you really need to care about are the color of the dots. Those are all of the colors used in that particular fabric. Have a color in there that you love? Guess what, that can be your wall color. Take it to the paint store and see if they can color match it.
(Related: See where I find designer fabric for a great price here)
Choose your color scheme and start painting…but only if you are ready
If you have an idea what direction you want to go with your color scheme, get painting. If you still are unsure, do not rush into painting just to get it over with. Get everything else done and then decide on a paint color.
They (the professional designers) say painting can be the best budget friendly thing you can do to decorate your home. While I agree with that, if you need to paint your whole house, painting doesn’t seem so budget friendly anymore, now does it?
You don’t want to have to do it all over if you pick a color you end up hating. Take your time with this step. See the bit of brown wall in this picture? These walls will get painted soon but I didn’t want to rush it. Maybe I wanted to do something different in my hall then the rest of my house. Painting your house takes time.
(Related:See my rug round up post here)
I have had my share of awful moments standing in Home Depot for 100s of hours and bringing home 256,255 paint swatches. It’s so painful and usually stops me in my tracks.
My biggest suggestion is to get on Pinterest. Yep, that’s what I said. Told you I am not a professional designer. Look for the most popular color in the shade you want on Pinterest. Chances are if it’s crazy popular on Pinterest, it will look beautiful on your walls. Look up Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. I guarantee you that you will see so many pins just about that one paint color. If Revere Pewter seems too dark to you, go one shade lighter on the swatch card.
Have a favorite designer you
stalk follow? Look to see what colors they use. That’s exactly what I did. I picked Silver Drop by Behr because one of my favorite designers suggested it. Head to paint store with a list of some of the most popular colors and bring home swatches or a sample.
Like I said, I ended up going with Silver Drop by Behr. It’s a very neutral color. It’s a personal preference, but going fairly neutral on your walls lets you go a little bit bolder in your accessories.
My other tip for you is to hold onto and play close attention to the paint swatch cards for two reasons. First, look at the darkest color of the paint card. Does it look pink to you? Or purple? If it does, chances are that gray color you are about to paint your family room will have a pink or purple undertone to it.
If that scares you I would suggest choosing another color. Once you find that perfect color, you can use all of those other colors on the paint swatch card to paint your whole house so that it all coordinates. How easy is that??
Start adding back in your furniture
There are (for the most part) no rules here. I really believe that decorating your home should be for you so decorate how you feel comfortable. You do not need to have one sofa and one loveseat. Can you fit two full size sofas in your room? If so, go for it! Can you only fit one couch and a few cute chairs? Again, go for it.
The only “rule” I recommend is paying attention to the scale of your room. If you have a small room, go smaller with furniture. Try not to shove that large sectional in there. Same with your furniture pieces in relation to each other. If your sofa is large, go bigger with your coffee table. A smaller couch…get a smaller coffee table. You get it.
Also, there is no rule that your home needs to look like a furniture store. Feel free to mix up your furniture. Even if you have “sets” already in your home, mix them up. My outdoor space started off as a set of white wicker furniture from our old house. I recently added in a non matching outdoor couch and ditched the white wicker coffee table for a larger one that fit the scale of the room better.
Add in texture and color
Now this might be my favorite step of all. I can do this final step everyday and it’s probably why I redecorate my house a million times. And for the most part this step is where most of my DIY projects are born. This step can take your house from snoring to beautiful. It’s the little things that make such a big impact.
Pillows, plants, throw blankets, baskets, flowers, vases, lighting, window treatments….and more. Slowly layer in texture and color into your home and you’ll be amazed by the difference it can make.
And if you know me, I love pillows more than I love chocolate (and that is saying alot). It’s a great way to add color and texture to your room. What more can you ask for?? Check out this post to see the many different ways I make my no sew pillow covers all pictured on this couch…
This past year, I have embraced plants…real ones, the ones I can kill in a hot minute (See how I keep them alive here) Guess what though.. I have not killed any of them (insert dancing emoji lady). I amaze myself everyday. If you can’t handle the real deal, don’t fear the faux. I say it all of the time. Add in some faux plants and greenery. A pop of greenery can take a room up a notch. Baskets are also a great way to add texture into your room, throw a plant in a basket and you killed two birds with one stone. Poor little birdie…
See how I made my own faux fiddle leaf fig plant here. Need a good faux one? I have heard great things about this one. I purchased the one pictured above from Hobby Lobby. While I love it, it is quite small. I have it stacked on a ton of books in that basket for extra height which has helped.
Window treatments are a great way to add color into your space. I have made most of my window treatments.
And one day I will do a round up of all the ways I have made my own curtains (I did! See my window treatment round up here)
I am sure you might be wondering why I didn’t tell you to pick your design style first? I really believe that your home doesn’t need to fit any molds. I love mixing styles. It adds so much character to your home.
My office for example has modern bookshelves, a traditional desk and a touch of farmhouse. This combination is my favorite and every room in my house has this same formula.
You can see more about my home office here
At the end of the day, it is your house. Decorate it any way you want!
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