How do you organize home decorating elements to truly express and reflect your personality? How do you decide on the right color for the dining room walls, the right molding and trim for the study, the best curtains for the bedroom windows, or the perfect floor covering for your living room?
And after you've put the pieces together, how can you be sure you'll enjoy living in the space that you've worked so hard to create?
By asking yourself these questions now, you're doing what designers or decorators manage as they begin to formulate a plan for a client.
Decorating pros know that following a rigid set of rules doesn't work; the key lies in combining decorative elements and styles best suited for the setting and the homeowner's preferences.
Most decorating schemes are a mix of styles. Yet it's still important to know the basic elements of each style, as well as the keys to selecting appropriate color, so you can begin creating a design that reflects your personal taste and makes good use of the objects you love.
Plan a design strategy that can really work
Decorating your home is an exercise in creativity that rarely comes together overnight, so it pays to plan ahead. Familiarize yourself with your room -- note what's working and what's not, and determine which architectural features, furnishings and artwork you want to emphasize and which elements you would rather camouflage or eliminate.
Carefully consider color and pattern
The decorating process often begins with color, yet the sheer number of available hues and the variety of options for selecting the right scheme can be daunting. You can pull a color from patterned upholstery, a rug, or a large piece of artwork that's already in your space. Or you can decorate with favorite colors that appear in other areas of your life, like your wardrobe.
Then again, you may wish to follow the tried-and-true rules of the color wheel to create the perfect combinations. Regardless of how you come to your color conclusions, just follow your personal style.
Identify a style or theme
You need not stay within the rigid constraints of a specific period style, such as Colonial or Victorian, or a sense of location, such as Southwest or Asia. But identifying the overarching theme for your spaces early on -- whether they're country, traditional, contemporary or something in between -- will help make for a unified design.
Develop design intensity and style
Intense hues are found in every style. Strong colors on Colonial walls define spaces from room to room. Contemporary walls are often punched up with bursts of full-intensity primary colors. Complex colors and combinations are more visually interesting, demanding focus. Muted hues create neutral backgrounds that spotlight accessories, furniture and window treatments. The goal is to choose colors that harmonize and complement the design elements in the room.
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