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Home Decor 101: Beginning Home Decoration

Updated on February 16, 2013

Moving into a new place or redecorating an old one and having the freedom to make it your own can be exhilerating.  But with all of the options available and the things that need to be done, home decorating can also be a little overwhelming.  Choosing your home decor, however,doesn't have to be overwhelming if you know where to begin.

Clean up

First, make sure the space is clean.  It is much easier to see the possibilities in a room if you can see the room.  Also,having a clear space will aid in having a clear mind. Most people like to begin with as clean a canvas as possible.

Purpose

Every room has a purpose, most even have multiple purposes.  For each room you must decide what those are.  The bedroom, for example is for sleeping.  But, will you also be dressing there?  Will part of that room be designated for other purposes such as office space? 

Habits 

You should also consider your habits.  I have a small table next to my front door because the first thing I do when coming in the house is lay down the mail and my keys.  Having the table next to the door gives me a place to put those things instead of carrying them into the rest of the house and dropping them on the nearest available surface where I will likely forget that they are when I go looking for them. 

Getting Ideas

Consider what other people have done.  If you are at other people's homes, take notice.  What do you like?  What don't you like?  What might you do differently?  Also, peruse magazines and watch home improvement shows.  Most people I know can't afford the sort of display one finds in magazine adds, but that doesn't mean you can't take away ideas and try to find lower cost alternatives.  Many home improvement shows, on the other hand, are geared toward low cost.  I admit freely to being an HGTV junkie.

Begin With What You Have

After that, the real fun begins. When deciding the look of your room, especially if you are working with a tight budget, start with what you already have and plan your design around that. Whoever lived in my house before me did a really nice job laying down flooring in the kitchen. Since replacing flooring is not cheap, I decided to plan my kitchen around the floor tiles, picking up on that color scheme for painting the rest of the kitchen. In my livingroom, I have a couple of peices of furniture with really good bones. I also found some fabric that I really liked for curtains (which was also on clearance!). I used the curtains to determine a color scheme and the furniture to determine an overall theme. Other ideas might include a peice of artwork, knick knacks or fixtures in the house. Beginning with what you already have will help to give you some direction as well as saving you the money you would spend starting from scratch.

Furniture

The next thing you will want to consider is furniture. Is there adequate seating for the people who will use this space on a regular basis? Is there sufficient storage? Do you need a couch? Bookshelves? Also, do you want everything out in the open?  I know some people who feel that a home entertainment center looks a bit gauche when having friends over for dinner, so they keep their television and related equipment in a beautiful wooden wardrobe.  The doors open when the television is in use and close to hide everything inside of a lovely piece of furniture when it is not. 

Finishing Touches

Finally, there are the finishing touches which include paint, curtains, art, etc. I would, however, recommend not settling on paint color until you have solidified decisions on furniture. It is much easier to find paint to match your couch than a couch to match your paint. If you began developing your vision with items you already have, then you may already have a general idea of the sort of color palate you want for your room.  Looking for paint  is one of my favorite things to do.  I have learned some tricks to finding just the right color.  Pick up some pain chips-- cards with paint colors on them--that look like they may fit your ideal, take them home and post them on the wall.  When you have narrowed it down to one general color, go back to the store and get small half pint samples of two or three shades that are relatively close to one another.  These can usually be purchased for two or three dollars a piece.  Paint swatches of these colors in different parts of the room as light falls differently in different places.  What looks right in a shadowy corner may be a little too pink or a little too green in the sunlight.

Home decorating is a chance to express your self.  Rather than being an intimidating process, choosing home decor can be an exciting challenge which can bring order and beauty to your home, bringing you satisfaction and making it a place you will enjoy being.

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    • BrightMeadow profile imageAUTHOR

      BrightMeadow 

      10 years ago from a room of one's own

      Cheryl,

      I find I am a little less lost when I start with something that I already have. Especially if it is something that I like.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 

      10 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for the valuable information on how to decorate on a budget. I agree one should salvage what one can use and accent it with items at an affordable price.

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