Have you struggled for years with decorating? Maybe you think its just, not your thing? Today I am going to let you in on some secrets and show you how to decorate like a pro!
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After months of going through the thousands of steps it takes to get into your own home you are finally where you have dreamed of being, in the home you have always wanted. There is just one huge problem, it’s empty!
So many of us get to this point in our lives unprepared and for others, this may be your second or third time around but most of us are guilty of this one mistake that will forever change the course of our homes.
The world tells us we need to fill, fill, fill. So we do what we’ve been taught and immediately start filling the space with stuff. Rarely is this done in any sort of intentional fashion, us regular folk simply go to the nearest furniture store and purchase whatever set catches our eye at the time.
You know the sets I am talking about, the kind where everything matches, the problem is the homes that most of us are drawn to never have matching sets of much of anything, especially furniture.
So in six months, you will be left sitting there wondering why your home doesn’t look like the beautifully styled photos you see all over Pinterest. The problem is what most of us go out and do once we move into a new home is the exact opposite of what a designer would do.
When it comes to interior design it is all about the details and most of us don’t take the time to dig deeper and look past the pretty image and dissect it for what it truly contains.
We don’t pay attention to the baskets, rugs, throw pillows, artwork or how they all work together to create a well-styled home.
We often don’t realize the most common problems in our own homes like the curtains being hung all wrong or the rug being too small for the space.
These often overlooked factors are the details that separate the pros from the “just living in it” folks. Don’t get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with those “just livin in it” folks (I used to be one) but for those that are currently striving for something different there are some things that have to change in order to get there but if you’re willing, its possible for anyone.
How To Decorate Like A Pro: The Steps
If I had to bet on it, I would say the design process for most people goes a little something like this. You move into a new house/apartment, you start out all excited about how amazing it’s going to look, you’ve pinned every beautiful living room shot you could find like there is no tomorrow but once you actually get into the space you either realize how little you do have or that the items from your old home just won’t work in this one….. Right here…. This is where things are about to take a horrible turn and you’ll forever be in home decor purgatory… You go shopping!
Not just any shopping either like a whole home haul shopping trip where you buy for multiple rooms all at one or two stores. You come home feeling accomplished and ready to execute all of those things you pinned on Pinterest.
There are several HUGE reasons why this won’t work and if a Pinterest worthy home is what your shooting for I’m sorry to say unless you’re Martha Stewart it most likely will never be achieved doing it this way.
You see when it comes to decorating there is a process you need to follow in order to end up with a well-curated look and one fell swoop shopping trips with no thought behind them is most definitely not involved. Actually, you may be shocked to know that “Shopping” is actually the next to LAST step!
Finding Your Style
This step is all about deciding what you want. There are thousands of looks out there and we could all probably find something from each style that we are drawn to, but to actually love a space for longer than a few months it has to embody who you are as a person/family. If not it would probably feel like you are living in a strangers house, right?
So take the time to research and discover what decor style actually speaks to you, not the one that’s super popular or the one you see all over Instagram. I mean the style that continually pops up when you begin to look at the photos you’ve been drawn to over the past year or so.
Most of us have some form of inspirational account whether its Pinterest, Instagram, or even Facebook. We have all likely went through a mad dash of pinning all of our favorites somewhere. Take the time and go through those, ask yourself what keeps appearing?
Maybe its wood elements with bright whites or mid-century modern with a hint of contemporary style. The answer you come up with here will be the answer to your home decor needs and if you aren’t honest with yourself now you may come to regret every single decision in six months, so, please take the time to figure this out.
MIX IT UP
95% of the time I find it best to use a mixture of new and old pieces while decorating. This keeps your space from looking staged, not lived in and too uniform. Mixing in grandmas old vase with a new globe and books you picked up can make it look more intentional and curated. So sit down and figure out what pieces you currently own that would work well with your newly determined style. Just because something isn’t the right color or the right finish doesn’t me you can’t still use it, so don’t mark everything off before thinking about it thoroughly. Are there ways you can change things up to fit your new style?
Change Your Thinking
Shopping for furniture has actually been one of my least favorite parts of the design process for years. Partly because I was doing it all wrong and partly because I hate the pressure.
So basically furniture shopping on the showroom floor is pretty much my idea of a nightmare. The entire process is intense, I mean you’re in there to drop some dough and your being pulled in fifty different directions and by the time you leave you have purchased an entire set of something you didn’t even want one of let alone the entire collection.
It is so easy to become sidetracked and then end up with items that weren’t on your list or items you don’t love, Yes you may think you love them now but will you love them in six months? Probably not.
That being said when it comes to furniture I firmly believe that this is where the extra money should be spent on a quality piece vs five small pieces of something else. This is where I believe tons of people mess up when it comes to their homes. They simply spend too much on the wrong things.
Yes, I know when you are sitting there staring at a blank space dropping a ton of dough on one sofa sounds like a horrible idea vs buying several things and in some cases, you may be right but overall I believe its much better to invest in a quality piece even if its more expensive, even if you have to save up for it and even if it means you can only get one item today.
Fact is you are actually saving yourself money in most cases because that one piece will be with you for years to come and you won’t feel compelled to throw it out on the curb in a few months because you truly love it.
If you have never invested in quality furniture pieces its time to start, think classic pieces that will still be in style for years to come. Or quality wood furniture that will hold up against the kiddos.
Create a Base
Once you know the pieces you have to work with you can figure out what you still need in order to make the vision come to life. Try to be as thorough as possible, if all of your current furniture pieces are traditional then they obviously won’t work if you’re going for a mid-century modern look and vice versa. Start with the big pieces and work your way down.
Try your best to keep the walls and all large furniture pieces neutral… Some of you may be screaming right now but hear me out.
When you are sick of your bright red sofa a year after you purchase it how are you going to fix that? Wouldn’t it be easier to swap out a few pillows, lamps or artwork to create a new look vs purchasing a different sofa because you’re sick of red?
So yes beige, gray, linen, and natural colors may be boring to some of you but they don’t have to be! Once you have a good neutral base you can easily create any look that tickles your fancy… and not just once!
Now not every single wall has to be neutral, I am all for accent walls here and there but for the most part, keep it toned down for now, you can add in color later.
Things Each Space Needs
When it comes to decorating this where I have found a majority of people have the most trouble. Choosing the right accessories can be a daunting task and I understand why some people get frustrated and just don’t bother decorating at all. The thing is this is where you are supposed to have fun, where the entire space comes together.
So to make things easier for you I am going to break down the design essentials that every room needs to look its best.
Neutral Foundation: Think sofa, dining tables, chairs etc. Starting with a neutral base will change the way you decorate forever!
Texture: This is one element that is often passed up but its one of the most important. Layering in different textures throughout the space will create dimension in an otherwise bland space. This is how designers are able to make even a monochromatic room look amazing! Think chunky blankets, baskets, textured pillows or vases.
Mix Patterns: Varying throw pillow patterns is the easiest way to have fun in a space. Practice mixing pillow pattern combos and play with it until you get a combination that you love.
Natural Wood: Adding in natural wood tones in the form of accessories and or a coffee table is a great way to warm up a space and is an absolute must.
Personal Items: A house would never feel like home without a few personal items, right? Think old family photos in a color choice that blends well with the decor or an old heirloom that has been passed down for generations mixed in with new decor instantly gives you a curated look.
Greenery: Whether you are great with plants or have the dreaded black thumb you should never skip adding greenery to a space. It doesn’t matter if it is faux or real just make sure it blends well with the design.
Touch Of Black: Every single room needs a touch of black to help ground the space whether it’s in the form of a curtain rod or maybe a picture frame make sure you use it somewhere in the design.
Mixed Finishes: Mixing finishes such as brass, nickel, and bronze instantly gives your home a layered look. In most cases picking two and weaving them into different areas of the space is best.
Plan, Plan Plan! If there are any construction or cosmetic updates that will need to be done before you can start putting your look together write them down and create a plan for how you will achieve them. If you have a wall to knock down, wallpaper to put up or an area to widen who will be doing that and how long will it take?
This part is essential to a great finished room so be sure to plan out every detail. Yes, it takes a bit more time and energy to research your purchases and pick out items BEFORE you go shopping but it makes the entire process so much easier and way lighter on the pocketbook if you know what I mean. Plus you will be less likely to impulse buy when you know exactly what you need. If it doesn’t fit into your design plan do yourself a favor and don’t buy it.
Write down all products and sources grouped together by store, this will make shopping a cinch.
If you’d like to see what the products will look like together you can easily save those images to your desktop and compile them together on a word document or Picmonkey so you can move them around and play with the placement. It is always easier for me to get a good visual of what items will blend well together and I never skip this step.
Hit The Streets (or the screen)
You’re in the home stretch now, you have all of your products and store lists made and you are ready to hit the streets, or the web, whichever you prefer. Do you absolute best not to purchase additional items to lower the chance of something looking completely out of place or spending more than you need to.
Insider Secret: No matter what there are always at least one or two pieces I get that either doesn’t work or ends up different than I imagined so I always have a few ideas in my back pocket for times like those. There has even been one time that I did 100% of my shopping online and I had to scrap every single item! Talk about insane, you can read more about that here.
Think of this step like putting the icing on a cake, the furniture is the cake and the accessories are the icing. Yes, the cake is good by itself and yes you would still enjoy it without the icing but when you add icing it turns into a wonderful dessert you would be happy to serve your friends.
When your home is “naked” like that cake, you don’t really want anyone to come in before you do everything humanly possible to make the space presentable. But when your home is decorated with layers of icing there is no need to fret, you know that each piece is carefully chosen and that your home is going to be an extension of who you are, a home you are happy to show off.
Once you’ve finished the space, grab a cup of tea and sit back and admire your handiwork! You did it, no it may not look like a magazine spread but none of them truly do and it looks 100% better than if you had gone at it the old way.
Now you have invested in pieces you can use well into the future and you no longer have to worry about hating your home decor in just a few months because you have used items you absolutely love, like for real deep down love!
Interiors like this are easy to keep current and updated without having to scrap everything and start over. You have most likely saved yourself money as well so that is cause for celebration!