3 basic rules of home decorating

Don't get confused by the ads that tell you Home Depot or Lowe's is your one shop stop for everything. Create your own flair.

Don’t get confused by the ads that tell you Home Depot or Lowe’s is your one shop stop for everything. Create your own flair.

I don’t have an eye for interior decorating. I know when things match, sure, but putting them together in a stylish way is not my forte. Basically, in the decorating department, I am all thumbs. Short of hiring an interior decorator (expensive), or leaving the place bare (boring), or throwing whatever I can find together (tacky), I’m stuck. Or so I thought.

I decided to get creative – Googling, reading, flipping TV channels – and stumbled across some ways to find inexpensive and fun decorating ideas that even the most design-challenged of us can make beautiful. It might take a little elbow grease, and a bit of ingenuity, but the end result can be worth it and help you find the decorator within.

First, start flipping channels. Design shows are everywhere! My husband is a big fan of the HGTV (Home and Garden Television) and DIY (Do It Yourself) networks. There have even been shows that featured folks from Fayetteville, and a few years ago an HGTV house was in nearby Serenbe. The shows repelled me, initially, but I’ve come around. I even picked up a trick or two. I now know that lighter colors tend to make a space look bigger. I’ve also realized that neutral colors bode better for resale value. A color theme involving curtains, couch pillows and throw rugs can give a room personality. And I’ve learned that a room can come alive when you paint an accent wall a different color than the other walls. Now which colors look good together is another story … but one step at a time. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Just as there are TV shows full of hints, there are plenty of magazines in which you can see beautiful and ingeniously decorated rooms in color. Don’t flip past the ads – they’re sources of decorating ideas, too. Know what you’re looking for (your preferences, budget, space limitations, room function, etc.) and be mindful of your goal. Keep in mind that with the holidays approaching, you can incorporate colors of the season that can make your home festive and inviting, and magazine ads often feature pictures that give you plenty of ideas with which to work.

There are many stores in the Fayette area that offer classes on home décor. From learning about paints and which colors to use, to finding out the best way to use flowers, to learning about framing pictures, you can become quite competent with very little money spent. Don’t limit yourself when deciding where to take classes. Sometimes the least likely furniture or tool store, or the place where you buy crafts, can teach you exactly what you need. Local colleges and continuing education programs, or even recreational centers, can offer a course to help enhance your skills.

Maybe seeing how the design elements come together, in the privacy of your own home, works better for you. If so, there are a plethora of apps and online programs available that let you pick everything from wall colors to furnishings to accents, and get a view of what the finished product will look like. Home Interior Design and Homestyle Interior Designer are two apps that can help, while Sweet Home 3D, IKEA Home Planner, and My Deco 3D Room Planner are virtual software programs that can give you a realistic look at your vision as it comes to life. Better to see it virtually, before the paint is on the walls.

Do you have a friend who sees designs in her sleep? Maybe she has a flair for decorating? Try to tag along on her next venture. Whether she is putting up picture frames or purchasing bookcases, you can glean insight on your friend’s buying decisions, and what to place where, and why. Who knows? Some of that skill and insight may rub off on you. Or at least you can duplicate her success in colors of your own.

Lastly, the Internet really does have everything. Not sure where to place your plants? Google “plant placement” online. Want to figure out how to make a China cabinet look classy, not cluttered? Google it online. You can even view images to get idea of what the final product can look like.

Above all, when decorating, keep these three basic rules of home decorating in mind:

1) Tone What kind of tone do you want to set for the room? Colors, styles and textures can all play a part in setting the mood. Knowing the type of feel you want your space to have is a great place to start with the decorating process.

2) Function A room that looks pretty, but is not useful, doesn’t serve its purpose well. A playroom for the kids is not the place for breakable knickknacks (and probably not white walls). Try to make choices that work for you to actually enjoy the room, while making it look great.

3) Identity Yes, a room, or a space, can have its own identity. Light and airy? Serious? Playful? You can make decorating choices based on the personality you want your room to reflect.

You’ve got some hints. You’ve got some direction. Now start looking and see what strikes your fancy. Then go for it!