What does the term
interior decorating mean to you? Perhaps the words connote lengthy, boring chores and stressful shopping sessions at the nearest furniture store. Maybe it makes you think of a professional designer who swoops in with a magic touch, making everything look perfect. Or, maybe interior decorating is your favorite past-time. Whatever the case, the surrounding environment of your home is completely yours, and mastering its design can provide an enormous amount of peace, joy, and simplicity for you, your family, your friends, and your guests (and your furry four-legged friends as well). The challenge of home decorating lies not in your ability to follow the latest decorating trends, but in the skill of creating a space that is an authentic home, a true reflection of who you are and what matters to you. This skill focuses on the big picture (the entire home) as well as the tiny details (a certain vase or shelf) that complete the picture.
We've got a few guidelines for developing your skill in interior decorating, and for mastering the creation of a home that is truly reflective of who you are, from the foyer to the attic.
It's a very good place to start! The entrance of your home provides a first impression, so it's worth revisiting your front door if you're launching a redecorating campaign. Above all, the question you should answer is,
Is this space welcoming?. Bright tones, warm hues, playful light fixtures, and a central focal point will all be good ingredients for creating a welcoming entrance. If the surrounding rooms have a cohesive colour scheme, consider incorporating that theme into the entryway as an initial introduction to that colour scheme. Most importantly, address function before frills – don't opt for a new picture frame or an eclectic elephant statue when what you really need is a shoe rack for organizing the cluster of shoes piling up just inside of the door.
Artwork brings value to your home, in the form of style, personality, charisma, and -if nothing else- an interesting conversation piece. If you have artwork stored in the attic, pay the attic a visit and reevaluate what types of artwork sing to you – whether it's sculpture, painting, pottery, photography, or glasswork (or even an odd assortment of antique typewriters). The art that you place around your home has the potential to emphasize the theme in a room, as this black-and-white art does in this black-and-white dining room. It also has the potential to emphasize your playful lack of theme, if you prefer a mismatched gallery wall hung with frames of various mediums, shapes, and sizes.
In home renovation projects, one of the most common themes is the addition of light. Forget adding an extra vase, bookshelf, appliance, ottoman, or other solid object in your redecorating scheme – the item most worth adding may be a bit more difficult to buy in the store. Look at your space and evaluate whether or not the light is adequate. Does the amount of light in the room make you feel tired or invigorated?
First, focus natural light – can you upgrade to a lighter, breezier curtain? Can you add a mirror to reflect the light entering through the window, or can you move a piece of furniture out of the way so that it doesn't obstruct the light? Next, focus on balancing the artificial light – add light wherever you see fit (as demonstrated in this photo, this may not necessarily be the ceiling). A unique lantern or mini-chandelier can work wonders for a space.
Walls create intimate spaces, but they also create cramped ones. If you're constantly feeling the need to freshen up a space by changing up the artwork and buying more storage racks, it's time to take a look at the layout of your space – your walls may be boxing you in. Keep in mind that with walls, less is usually more.
This bathroom has a partially-see-through partition that obscures the space beyond while maintaining a sense of openness. This can also be achieved with a transparent partition (these are commonly seen in standing showers, but are useful in small homes seeking to divide space without blocking it off completely). A folding partition is also a good solution, and it doesn't involved knocking down walls.
As mentioned in the introduction, your home is yours. Don't ever sacrifice your personality for a home that is
picture perfect – surely, the most picture perfect home for you will include many elements of your personality, lifestyle, and memories. If you like sitting on the floor, give your living room some floor cushions and a low table to match. If you like recycling, create a unique chandelier using recycled materials. If you have an antique chair that's been passed down for generations, be sure to put it in the spotlight of the room. Sit back and have a look at your current space: if you could have it exactly the way you've dreamed, what would you add? Start with that vision, and make the room a unique reflection of your own creativity.
If you're ever hesitating between two colour schemes, remember that lighter colours make for fresher spaces, always. This rule is simple and time-tested, and when you apply it to your space, these light colors will breathe life into it. Thinking about a new dining room table? Perhaps all you need is a bucket of sky blue paint for those dark wooden chairs. If heavy shades are weighing down your home, it's time to have a critical look at the colours of your furnishings to decide where you can add strategic bright points to your space.
If you're looking for more color scheme inspiration, check out this ideabook featuring Stunning Colour Combinations to Covet
Creativity is the virtue of turning problems into opportunities – no space is too small to hold creative possibilities. It's easy to get used to the status quo, imagining that lights are meant for the ceiling, that floors are meant to be opaque, that windows are destined to be rectangular in shape, that books must be placed within shelves, and the list goes on. Defy your assumptions by taking a step back and critically examining your home's layout. Re-imagine your closet. Consider converting unused rooms into more useful spaces. Whatever the creative ideas you come up with, remember that all of them can be done.
Wondering why your space feels cold, drab, outdated, or sparse? Textiles have an enormous influence over the feel of your space – they are, after all, the things that you touch when you're in it. A fuzzy throw can add a sense of luxury, while a burlap covering can add rustic appeal. Velvet makes for a soft, decadent experience, while a patchwork quilt adds a quaint, country touch. Your textiles should be materials that you enjoy feeling: from curtains to tapestries to rugs, evaluate which textures reflect your personality, and fill your space with those textures that you most appreciate.
A home should feel lively (as coincidence would have it, you live there). If you're on a mission to freshen up your home, a plant can work wonders in this regard. Create a greener space by including a planter on your patio, a succulent in your bathroom, or an herb garden in your kitchen. Nature has a way of taking center stage within a home, so don't be surprised if your newly-added plant soon becomes the natural focal point of friendly conversation. The green hues of leafy plants are nicely offset by warmer tones of red, yellow, and orange – if you already have enough plant life in your home, consider an orange pot for your aloe plant or a yellow tray for your kitchen herb garden. These bursts of color will help bring all the more vibrancy to your plant life!
Feeling green? This ideabook offers 10 ideas for using plants to decorate your home.
In most cases, simple is best. There are many instances where a space could benefit from an absence – rather than an addition – of objects. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Get rid of books you won't read, and pitch the collection of mostly-used candles. Opt for one statement piece as opposed to a grand assortment of objects that all compete for attention. Even a plain colour scheme (like the one in the picture) can exhibit great beauty when it is displayed in clear, cohesive simplicity. A benefit of simplifying is that, through this de-cluttering process, you may discover a blank canvas that allows you to bring new decorating ideas into bloom.