The Way to Decorate When You Are Starting Out or Starting Over

Few things in life are as daunting as decorating your very first home. With so many alternatives available and so many decisions to make, it’s difficult not to feel overwhelmed. A lot of us just escape to the familiar or the expected, leaving a path of disappointment (and Linen White paint) in our wake.

That condition isn’t limited to the young. Nowadays it’s not unusual for people to find themselves starting over in the age, with the end of a relationship or a movement precipitated by a new occupation.

Whether you’re starting out or starting over, these measures can help you navigate the challenging process of decorating a house for the very first time.

Kate Jackson Design

Pick what you like. A great deal of folks don’t understand what decorating designs they like. It’s not that they don’t have opinions — that they just don’t understand how to articulate their preferences.

The easiest way to figure out what appeals to you is by looking at photos of other houses. And at the risk of sounding self-serving, the simplest way to do that is by perusing the photos on . Save your favorite ones within an ideabook. You could even scour design books or clip pictures from magazines. After you have gathered at least a dozen images, sit back and then compare them. Which are the common denominators, in terms of color, furniture design, pattern and density of objects within the room?

Keep in mind the architecture of the area you’re living in and the limitations that might impose. High Victorian will generally not operate in a cracker-box condominium.

Alexandra Lauren Designs

Produce a budget. Figure out how much you can spend. If you can’t afford to decorate the whole place at once, select the room where you spend most of your time and make that your priority. This way when the rest of your house is at a state of upheaval, you’ll have at least completed place where you can escape.

Historic Shed

Sketch out a floor plan. I know this sounds like a drag, and something a schoolteacher would counsel you to do. (“Make sure that you prepare a floor plan before you begin your assignment.”) But the Internet has created this step enjoyable. You’ll find free floor plan programs all around the net. My personal favorite is that the room planner offered by Jordan’s Furniture at Boston. It’s comparatively simple to use, is flexible, provides a good selection of furniture templates and doesn’t limit you to proprietary furniture brands.

If you would like to see how your floor plan translates to real life, put these moving boxes to use and “construct” furniture from them, or make footprints of every slice out of paper, blankets or towels.

Jute Interior Design

Select a color palette. Many people today say you need to pull your color palette in the floor. Others advocate starting with a bit of art. I suggest beginning with the item you’re most in love with. If that’s a rug, pull the color palette out of that. If it’s an art you have or a costume you adore, let that dictate the decoration. If you’re madly in love with the color yellow, begin there.

Once you have your palette established, let the rest of the decoration spring out of that. Use neutral colors for investment pieces, such as the couch and dining table, and put the color in paint or accent pieces such as cushions, lamps and art. This way you can change the color palette if you feel like it without spending a lot of cash.

More tips for picking a color palette

guides to every color in the color wheel

Seattle Staged to Sell and Design LLC

Paint. Please paint. It’s the least expensive way to personalize a room, and it’ll provide you the maximum bang for your buck. Even in the event that you prefer white, find a wonderful white which brings atmosphere.

If you’re reluctant to paint the whole place, just paint an accent wall. If you’re fearful of committing to a bold hue, opt for an in-between color. I guarantee you it will look more interesting than Linen White.

Professional tips for painting walls

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

Invest in the right furniture pieces. A couch is going to remain with you for a long time, so get a good one. Even in the event that you think that’ll have it only briefly, it is going to end up moving out of the living room to the family room to the cellar to the college dorm. Don’t skimp. The same holds true for a table.

I also think it’s well worth investing in a single good, supercomfortable reading seat. Choose neutral upholstery, such as white, taupe or gray, to your investment pieces.

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

Measure everything. Measure your distance prior to going shopping (as well as the doors, stairs and lift openings leading to your own domicile), and deliver those dimensions when you go shopping.

Furniture will seem smaller at a showroom with 20-foot ceilings than it’ll look in your living space. And don’t buy matching sets of furniture, unless you want your house to look like the sales floor at Sofa City.


Where to skimp. If you need to lower expenses, do it with accessories: Search for cushions, mirrors and lamps at places like Ikea, Target, T.J.Maxx and Marshall’s. The dirty little secret of decorating is that in case you mix in a few cheap things one of the more expensive items, nobody will notice.

Kate Jackson Design

Include something old along with your something new. Do not buy everything new. Go to an antiques shop, or in the event that you can’t afford that, visit garage sales, flea markets or auctions, and pick up a few accessories which don’t seem like you bought them off the shelf at the import shop.

Pieces with background give a room character and thickness, and are what differentiate a house out of a furniture showroom.

Restyled Home

Contemplate “temporary” furniture. Plenty of specialists advise against purchasing “temporary” furniture. Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t necessarily subscribe to that theory.

It may have a long time to find just the proper pieces for a house. And nobody likes camping out for six to 12 months, waiting for the perfect item to show up.

In case you don’t have family members you may borrow pieces from, and the satisfaction of getting something filling that place outweighs the price of it, then go right ahead and buy it.

Garage sales are a great place to find filler pieces, as is Ikea (the source of the chandelier). I only paid $75 for a table and two seats in the behemoth. Are they the best I could afford? Can they last? No and no. But they provide something to sit in and dine at till I find the specific pieces I would like. Then, I will give them to charity and not feel like I have sacrificed much.

Kate Jackson Design

Hire a pro. If you’re still unsure about all this, then you can always seek the assistance of a professional decorator or interior designer. (you will find almost 50,000 of them listed on .)

If you can’t afford a soup-to-nuts decorating occupation, then just ask for an hourly consultation. The designer will help you clarify your personality, steer you toward the right furnishings and help in the development of a long-term plan.

Kate Jackson Design

Chill. Your initial home likely will not be your final home. So don’t feel like you’ll be alive with every choice for the rest of your life. Sure it makes sense financially and environmentally friendly to get base pieces which will transition out of your very first home for your second, third and fourth. But that throw pillow is going to be around for only a few decades. Same with these sheets and towels, and that table lamp. So have fun.

More: A Designer Decorates a Blank Apartment in 4 Days

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