Think of this as a little 101 in decorating. While we all
cannot possess the eye for exquisite design and detail — we can decorate our
homes as though we do. In some ways,
interior decorating can be thought of as a formula with specific steps;
building blocks that will help create your very own interior design.
On the other side, there is an art to decorating; a flair
that doesn’t really follow any rules or formulas. While you may not have an
artful flair, you can begin to learn how to develop one.
How? Well, there are some basics when it comes to pulling
together the interior design of a room. By following these 10 steps you can
begin to create a peaceful and functional interior space that takes your four
walls and makes them feel like home.
Interior design must begin with a functional layout of a
room. To begin, we suggest looking online for the numerous free offerings of
online tools for room layout and design. In these design programs you can input
room measurements, furniture measurements and then play with room layout to see
what is most optimal.
We learn a lot of our floor plan mistakes the hard way, so
why not virtually design your room first, avoiding the drudgery of moving heavy furniture
around, and failing repeatedly to get the proper layout.
Functionality of your home is very dependent on individual
lifestyles. If you have an empty nest, then you may be more willing to invest
in expensive pieces and room decor, while busy families may prefer an open
floor plan that is unobstructed by numerous decorative objects. Consider your individual living needs and
then choose the right design software that can help you achieve your ideal layout.
2) Splurge on Seating
Most designers will tell you that if you are going to
splurge on one item, then let it be the sofa.
Choosing the correct seating for a room is overwhelming! What color do
you choose? What fabric? What size? How much should you spend? What is a good
quality sofa? This New York Times article offers some insightful advice when it
comes to choosing a high-quality sofa.
Visiting numerous design showrooms will also help you in the
initial search of style options that suit your needs and tastes. But before
venturing out to shop, MEASURE! It would be awful to fall in love with a piece
only to discover that it is too large for your space.
We suggest you narrow down your choices to a few final
options and then choose based on highest quality. A sofa can be a lifelong
investment when the best quality is purchased, so buy the best that you can
afford. Oh, and choose a fabric that you won’t grow tired of…who wants to live
with a floral patterned couch or a dated “it was hot when I bought it” color
the rest of their lives?
3) Decorative Objects
It seems frivolous to add objects into a room that have no
real use. Why would I buy something that I cannot use? Well, the answer is
simple—because it makes a style statement, thereby adding to your decor.
An eye for appealing aesthetics is something that you may
not posses right away, but through trial and error, you can discover the
correct assortment of decorative objects that work in your home. A lot of
interior designers say that if you absolutely love something, then buy it, you
will find a place for it and a way to make it work. This mantra may work for
those of us with a seasoned design knowledge, but not for the more timid
newcomers to design.
If you are at a loss, we suggest browsing through magazines
and interior showrooms to see what you love. Take notice of the way showrooms
display their decorative objects; notice that most things are placed
thoughtfully into groupings and not strewn about individually through the room.
Most of all, buy what you love; what speaks to who you are.
Adding decorative objects may seem silly, but it adds to the
overall style statement of your home. Image Source: Residents Understood
4) Add Some Green
Plants are commonly an after-thought. This is a design
mistake. You may think that you have a room completely, immaculately designed,
but look to see if you have incorporated plants and natural elements.
It is amazing what happens to the warmth and design spirit
of a room the minute that you add a tall potted palm plant. Immediately the
room seems fresher and more properly put together.
The Huffington Post offers numerous houseplant suggestions
that make your home brighter and the air cleaner. Even if you consider yourself
anything but a green-thumber, you can still incorporate easy-care houseplants
into your interior design—you will be so that glad when you admire the new
level of interior design your room achieves thanks to greenery.
5) Add Layers
Layering a room is paramount to comfort and visual warmth.
Look to the room in the image below. A fuzzy area rug is layered over the rooms
main carpeting; pillows are perched in layers on the bed and on the chairs;
curtains layer the windows; a blanket layers the side of a chair….
All of these elements form a cozy stratum within the room
that help it achieve a well-decorated aesthetic. While considering the layers
that you would like to add to your design think about choosing varying textures
and fabrics— think velvet pillows, silk curtains, mohair blankets, and plush
All of these different textiles make the layering effect
even more lavish. Go from blah to beautiful by layering your room today.
6) Incorporate Black
This little-known trick works! No matter what your design
tastes— country to minimalist— every interior design should incorporate a few
splashes of black.
Why? Black adds a sense of depth, character and focus to a
room like no other color can. It can be
as simple as incorporating pictures in black wooden frames, or a black graphic
print on your curtains, or a black stripe lining throw pillows… it doesn’t
matter where you choose to incorporate this bold color, as long as you
incorporate it somewhere.
Some may argue that this same effect can be achieved through
other bold colors, but we suggest you just try it with black and see what
7) Create Vignettes
As mentioned above, decorative objects can take a space from
bland to outstanding. Not only do you have to incorporate decorative objects,
you also have to place them into proper vignettes.
In home decorating, a vignette is a grouping of objects or
furniture. You can create a vignette
through a grouping of art on your wall, or a grouping of objects on a table, or
a grouping of chairs near a window to create a conversational seating. By
arranging your items in this manner, you create areas for the eye to stop,
relax and stay awhile.
Try arranging your favorite objects on a coffee table, or
create a centerpiece of candlesticks on your dining table…anything goes as long
as it is a cohesive grouping. If you are new to this idea, then start slowly
and keep your groupings limited to 3 items that have common elements such as
color, theme, or texture.
8) Make It Yours
This is where you get to have fun and showcase your
personality. There is nothing worse than a home that doesn’t speak to the
owners loves, travels, tastes, passions, and hobbies.
If you love color, then find ways to incorporate color through
pillows and removable wallpaper. If you have travelled the world, then showcase
the pictures you have taken or the items you collected while traveling. If you love giraffes, then incorporate some
giraffe print on a foot stool or area rug.
Get the picture? Make the interior design speak to who you
are. This is where you get to have fun and create your own personal
9) Stick With Classic Lines
Whether you are a poor student trying to furnish your first
apartment or you are upgrading to the home of your dreams—it is always best to
keep the lines of your larger (more expensive) furniture pieces classic.
Classic lines are classic for a reason—they will never go
out of style. Why spend $5000 on a sofa with bold angular lines that will date
itself in 5 years? You can incorporate trends in less expensive pieces, but its
best to keep your main furnishings simple, clean and classic.
Look to the dining room in the image below. The black dining
chairs are classic and go with any decor; they stay on-trend via the leopard
fabric that can easily be changed, while the shape of the chair will never go
out of style and is a great investment piece.
10) Take a Picture and Then Edit
This might be one of the most important steps. After all, a
picture is worth one-thousand words. Standing back and taking a snap shot of
your room allows you to peer through a new perspective. In a way, a photograph allows you to see the room for the first time, through a
Suddenly it becomes glaringly obvious that a picture needs
to be moved because it is hung too high, or that you have too many small
objects cluttering the room, or that the pillows really don’t work.
Taking several snapshots of the room from different angles
is the best way to edit a room of its clutter and items that simply don’t
work in the space.
Do you feel like this was a little 101 in decorating? While
this certainly doesn’t cover all the design secrets (only an interior designer
can do that), it does get you started on the right path to creating a
well-designed home that is functional and attractive—a home that speaks to who
Everyone can incorporate these tips: layout the room
properly, splurge on a great sofa, arrange decorative objects into vignettes,
layer your rooms, add plants, incorporate black, stick with classic lines, take
pictures to edit, and most importantly make it yours.
What little tricks do you have up your sleeve to make your a
home a well-designed space?