How to Decorate Your Home

Tackle that room with four white walls and your grandmother's couch!

Decorating Tips

How to Decorate Your Home

Tackle that room with four white walls and your grandmother’s couch

-Jennifer Trannon

a couple painting wallsMy friend Katie recently moved into a new house. I was slightly envious as she and I sat with another friend bouncing around home decorating ideas for wall colors and sofa tables. Then Katie looked at us and said, “I would rather get braces than go through this again.”

It’s hard for me to imagine, because decorating is one of those things I love to do. I love the challenge of a naked room with endless possibilities. I love scouring flea markets for the perfect piece to make the room feel just right. But I have helped enough friends for whom paint chips were drudgery and frustration rather than fun that I now understand that my passion is not shared by all.

So for those of you who have left your walls white because you just didn’t know where to start, here are a couple of things to get you going:

1. Start with something you love. This “something” can be anything-the paint color you saw in a magazine (or your friend’s living room), a print you bought on vacation, or a fabric swatch you fell in love with. It can be big or small-just make sure you love it.

2. Use magazines for guidance. There are so many home decorating magazines out there. Pick up a few and flip through the pages, tearing out any pictures which catch your eye for any reason. After you’re finished, spread the pictures around you and look for common elements. Notice all your pictures have leather couches? Or yellow walls? Or white woodwork? Maybe those are some elements you’d like to incorporate into your room.

3. Once you have your ‘something you love,’ the rest of the room can work around it. If it’s a fabric, take it to the paint store and ask someone to help you choose a color that will complement it. If it’s paint, do the reverse at the fabric or furniture store.

4. Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you see a color you love in a friend’s bathroom, ask for the name of it. If you’re not sure how to mix patterns, ask someone at the fabric store for help.

5. Take some chances! Paint is just paint! If you hate it, you can always paint over it. I recently painted my kitchen RED. I knew I was taking a chance, but I also knew I had a quick fix if I was disappointed (I wasn’t!)

A friend of mine literally had a living room with white walls and her grandmother’s couch for as long as she’s lived in her house (over a decade now). I held her hand through the process of painting the walls (brown) and making her seldom-used living room into a computer room/office. The whole family loves (and uses) the room now. So go into that room you dread, pick up something you love, and get started!

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