I get asked all the time if I would decorate someone’s home or offer suggestions on what they should do in a room. I’m not an Interior Designer but through classes I’ve taken and experience I have come to love putting a room together. I love the challenge of doing a room inexpensively or with things I already have. So, I thought I would pass on advice I give to others. Of course, if there is anything I can do to help feel free to ask.
First…..DECIDE WHAT YOUR STYLE IS.
You know what you like. You know what is pleasing to your eye. If you aren’t quite sure what you want there are magazines, books, online designing sites, and Pinterest. Below are some samples of different styles:
There’s contemporary that clean-lined and simple (link).
and then there’s the more involved looks of:
- Victorian Country – cozy, floral, cushions and pillows, plaid
- European – rich colors, silks, dark wood, metals
- Early American/Primitive – wood, worn, comfortable
- Shabby Chic/Vintage – painted furniture, slipcovers, layering, collectibles
- Cottage/English – light, airy, florals
- Retro – color, vintage, mid century
I find that many people like to mix styles. I do, too. Here are some examples:
These pictures combine most of the different styles I mentioned above. Now days almost anything goes but there are rules to mixing.
The question I get asked the most is how do I know what colors to choose and how do I combine them?
My suggestion is to go to a fabric store keeping in mind the furniture you have and the style you like and find a patterned fabric you like and could live with in your room. For example:
I have an olive green couch and knew I wanted to add orange so picked up some of this paisley floral fabric to make into large pillows for the couch. My colors center around the colors in the pillows and this pattern pulled the room together.
I matched my wall paint to the blue flowers in the fabric.
When accessorizing I found things I already had and supplemented with purchased or thrift store items in the same colors of those in the pillows.
Now, here’s the tricky part; putting patterns together. This can be difficult to do. At times it does take an eye to see what looks good together but with some practice you will find perfect matches.
Depending on the style of the room you may want to stay away from combining too many of the same kind of pattern. For instance, putting several large florals together won’t work unless you want a very Shabby Chic/Victorian look. Try adding a mixture of a large floral and a small floral that are alike in color and then combine them with a pinstripe or plaid. The side chair in the picture above is neutral overall but has stripes and colors that match with the rest of the room. To make it mix better I added an orange throw to help it blend better.
As you can see the polka dots in the rug match the colors in rest of the room. I don’t think I would have used a large polka dot rug but the small dots combine well with the large floral of the pillows on the couch. I also used a stripe fabric in orange and beige for the pillow on the chair above.
TEXTURE is also important. Find different ways to implement it into the room like the burlap looking texture of the lampshade.
FURNITURE AND ACCESSORY ARRANGEMENT
There is so much that can go into this like the shape of the room and arrangement of the doors and windows. Also, you have to take into account what furniture you are using. But, there are few rules to use in every room:
- Try not to block traffic patterns
- Keep things balanced – You don’t want to put all of your tall furniture on one side of the room. Balance a tall bookshelf with something tall on the opposite wall. Also, arrange your colors equally around the room.
- Arrange pictures and accessories in odd numbers (3’s, 5’s, etc.). It’s more pleasing to the eye.
- Make it personal by using pictures or collections.
I had been collecting botanical prints for a while and had them spread around the house. I thought it would be fun to group them together and I love it. What you don’t see in this picture is a large floor lamp standing to the left of these pictures. I consider it part of this grouping and makes the seventh item.
I hope these basics of design help. Bottom line is that you should make it yours, make it fun, and experiment.