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The Smart Approach To Home Decorating

Updated on January 30, 2010

When it comes to home decorating, you may choose to hire an extremely expensive professional decorator, but for most people, a do-it-yourself approach is the best and most available option. But almost anyone who's ever decorated an empty house or room can tell you, home decorating is about more than just arranging and rearranging furniture. When faced with the prospect of creating a whole design concept, many people give up once they see how many decisions there are to be made.

Don't get discouraged: decorating is fun. There are just a few simple ground rules to keep in mind. After that, the possibilities are limitless. So before you start, relax and remember that no one's life is at stake here. You are simply working toward the goal of having a beautiful home. Any decisions you make can be changed or improved upon.

Getting Started: First Things First

Before you rush out to buy paint or furniture, step back and take some time to prepare for the job ahead. You'll likely be eager to jump in and get your hands dirty, so to speak, but the most important part of the job is the preparation that comes first. Just as you can't build a house without a solid foundation, you also can't begin a big decorating project without a solid plan.

Start by coming up with a "grand scheme," one that considers the big picture of your home as a whole rather than approaching decorating in a fragmented, room-by-room way. Think about the "flow" from room to room. Think about the feeling you'd like your house to have. Write your ideas down or sketch them out. It may seem like an added or unnecessary step at first, but coming up with this kind of grand concept will be indispensable for creating a cohesive, consistent design.

Style Savvy: Narrowing it Down

After you have come up with a grand scheme, the next step is to figure out your style. This can be difficult, because you may like many styles or just don't have a specific one in mind. Usually, though, there is a theme that runs through the type of things you like. You just may not know how to convey this look in your space.

To figure out the style you gravitate toward, flip through decorating magazines and design books. Mark the pages and items that you prefer, or cut them out and keep a scrapbook. Once you find a number of preferences, revisit your choices. More than likely, there will be common elements throughout the photos. Usually you'll see a consistent color palette, or a leaning toward traditional, contemporary or eclectic furnishings and accessories.

It may also be helpful to show friends or family members what you've gathered (as long as you like their home). Use them as a sounding board, and bounce ideas off of them. Your friends may help you figure out the style and colors you like. Hopefully, they will help you edit your choices down. Don't be afraid to ask for help or suggestions in this process. There are many options that will work.

Remember, it is important to do your homework and pin down the style you want to convey. It will inform all the choices you make as you move forward.

Continued In The Smart Approach To Home Decorating - Part 2

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