To make the place you live inviting and pleasant to be in, you need to know how to decorate your home. Whether it is a tiny studio apartment or a mansion, you will want to reflect your personal style and tastes on the walls, flooring and in the furniture you choose. While the subject of how to decorate your home is vast, there are some basic elements that apply to all living spaces and many home decorating ideas you play with.
Many people feel stumped when faced with choosing colors for their homes. This is probably due to the classic decorator’s advice, telling you to choose the color palette and major elements before painting. This is good advice for a decorator, but may not be the best way for a homeowner to proceed. Most people have no trouble choosing our favorite colors in clothing. Why not choose colors that you wear often?
Take your favorite shirt or pants to the home improvement store and have color matching done. By choosing colors that you look best in for your living room walls, you will feel a long-term sense of satisfaction while relaxing in this space. If you choose your wall colors first, make sure you keep a paint sample in the car or in your purse. This will give you a piece to compare when you shop for coordinating fabrics, furniture and accessories.
Consider the space when choosing your colors. You can also experiment with your wild side in smaller spaces like hallways. Pick out that fire-engine red in your favorite pair of shoes for this space, but make sure you choose a semi-stain finish for such high traffic areas. Matte finish and eggshell paints are harder to wash marks from and hallways get quite a few scratches as you carry baskets of laundry and other items back and forth.
If you live in an apartment and are not allowed to paint the walls anything but white, you will need to get creative with your wall hangings, furniture and accessories. However, the same concept applies. Go with the colors you choose for clothing and you will have a higher level of satisfaction in the color of your living space.
Once you have a basic color palette, you will be half way to decorating your home. You can now choose fabrics, furniture and accents that pull the space together into a unifying them. As a rule of thumb, your background color should be the lightest color in the room. However, you can also choose a darker color and offset it with light-colored main elements. You should use mid-range tones for one-third of the space and apply bright accent colors to ten percent of the space.
Choose Main Elements
The decorative elements you choose after color will be based on the main element in the room. In the bedroom, it is often the bed, or a special dresser. In the living room, it may be the entertainment center of a fireplace. Pick out a large element that you would like to play from. This will guide you towards choosing other elements that compliment the room.
Take time to look at different décor magazines to get a feel for what works and what does not. Cut out pictures you like and paste them in an album. Over time, you will place one item that you like and then find another that compliments it. You may decide to get a slip cover for the couch to make it fit better with other elements in the room. Be patient and make decorating your home a hobby. Trying to do it all at once is great for a decorator but can be overwhelming for the average homeowner.
The way you lay out your furniture will have a big effect on your comfort at home. Take a look at the high traffic areas of your home and be sure they are clear of obstacles. Do not place tables or chairs near room entrances. Give yourself a few feet of space to clear the entrance first.
At the same time, it is important not to place too much importance on clearing space. Many people make the mistake of putting all the furniture flat against the walls. This creates a dull and boring space. Try placing items at angles wherever possible to create a sense of movement and drama in the room. Group pieces of furniture together, away from the walls, if space allows. In living rooms, you should keep sitting areas between 8 and 14 feet apart. This is a social space where people should be able to make eye contact when they speak. Do not forget to include end tables or other surfaces where visitors can rest their drinks or put a book down.
In the Kitchen
Most modern kitchens also provide a place of informal dining. This can be accomplished through a breakfast nook or a kitchen island with stools. Make sure this area has a few splashes of color and interest to provide a more satisfying experience when you are eating on the run.
In the Bedroom
Try not to place the bed against the wall in your bedroom unless you have a large space for the headboard to rest against. Smaller rooms benefit from the bed being placed at an angle, making it the focal piece of the room. Go for the complete bed set with breakfast pillows and accents to create drama. It is also pleasant to have a small sitting area in the bedroom, but keep it away from areas you will be walking in the dark. You do not want to stumble and fall in the night!
By focusing on the colors and arrangement of furniture in your home, any space can be made comfortable so that it truly feels like home.