There’s nothing like moving into a new place to give you the urge to decorate. And even though you’re excited about the prospect of creating your dream home, there’s also the overwhelming stress of just how to go about it.
Use these tips to help you transition your new place from a house to a home.
Consider how you live.
Before you do anything, consider how you’ll be using your home. Do you entertain a lot? Have a big family? Lots of dogs? Small children? None of the above? Assessing what matters to you and complements your lifestyle will help you determine the styles, looks and furnishings that are right for you.
Get to know the house.
It’s critical to familiarize yourself with your new home before you start decorating. Examine the features and layout of the rooms, locate electrical outlets and figure out the direction your closet doors open. Mapping and measuring each room will give you a better idea of how to position your items. Also, consider how to integrate the styles of adjoining rooms so they don’t feel disjointed.
Get inspired, make a plan, then decorate.
Personalizing your new home is all about realizing your individual style, so the best tip for decorating your new home is to make the space your own. Take time to think about what makes you unique and incorporate decor that represents who you are. This is a good time to flip through magazines and visit designer showrooms for inspiration and ideas. Then it’s time to create a plan, perhaps dividing your decoration goals into budget-friendly phases.
Don’t try to find a place for everything.
Depending on your budget, some of your decoration plans might include furniture and accessories from your previous home. While considering style, color, proportion and balance, begin by finding appropriate spaces for your existing items, hanging pictures and placing furniture only where they fit, both physically and visually. Also, don’t try to make a place for absolutely everything. If you have an appropriate place for each item, that’s great, but sometimes you might need to put some of those things into storage or re-home them.
Don’t worry about empty spaces.
You might feel the need to fill empty spots in your new house immediately. Don’t give into the temptation. If you don’t have something to fill an empty space—something that looks like it belongs in that space—then don’t put anything there at all, at least for now, anyway. When the budget allows, you can shop for something suitable to occupy that open spot.
Keep it simple.
It might be best to keep some space empty. More is not better, and if you clutter the room with knickknacks and oversized furniture, you will have a hard time achieving the look you’re going for (unless “cluttered” is your aesthetic of choice). Fewer things actually have a greater impact. So before you go out shopping for new items to fill your rooms, take an inventory of everything you own and then cull it down—ruthlessly. You’ll be left with a clearer mind and a collection of objects you appreciate.
Think of comfort first.
Who wins the battle between appearance and comfort? There’s got to be some middle ground. But if you decide to get new furniture, then make sure you consider not only how it looks but also how comfortable it is. When checking out a chair for your new house, can you imagine yourself comfortably curled up in it with a good book? If not, keep searching. Yes, furniture should give a nod to both comfort and style, but if comfort and a relaxing environment is what you’re after, a tiny compromise in aesthetics may pay off in the long run.
Show distinct style by mixing and matching.
A few pieces with the same style are fine, but fight the urge to make everything match or you could risk your home looking like a department store showroom. Your personal style isn’t bland, beige and boring, so neither should your décor be.
Tie it together with color.
Colors are an important part of decorating your home. But if you’re not comfortable with mixing colors, it’s best to apply the 60-30-10 rule. Divide your color palette with 60 percent of the space in the dominant color, 30 percent in the secondary color and 10 percent in the accent color. Typically, this means that the walls are in the dominant color, sofas and chairs are in the secondary color and accent pieces such as pillows and vases are in the accent color.
Don’t forget textures and patterns.
Textures and patterns can play a big role in adding visual interest and depth to a room. When incorporating multiple patterns, choose three or more and vary the scale of the patterns from small to large. In essentially a repeat of the 60-30-10 color formula, make a strong statement by using the large-scale pattern as the dominant pattern. The secondary pattern should be half the scale of the first pattern but have some of the same colors. The third pattern can be similar to either of the other patterns and echo the color scheme. However, if you’re using bold colors and patterns, use less of each to avoid overwhelming your room. For a more subdued look, use tone-on-tone or low-contrast patterns.
Consider getting help from a professional designer.
If you feel you’re not up to decorating your new home, consider hiring a professional interior designer. The designers at Gary Riggs Home will help you clarify your style, steer you toward the right furnishings and assist in the development of a long-term decorating plan.
Don’t forget to have fun.
Take your time and enjoy creating a home you, your family and your guests will love. Decorating is a process, and over time you’ll add more and more layers, developing depth and dimension to your home.