Discovering Your Decorating Style

Jumping into decorating an entire house is no small project. It may be challenging to find the line between personal taste and a structured palette, but a few basic guidelines will keep things looking cohesive. To begin with, pick a place for a first impression. It may be the way the front porch is styled, the color of the front door, specific landscaping outside, or something else that catches the eye upon first glance. There should be a few key elements that pop, which are planned out strategically on an otherwise neutral background. Place transitions of style and color in natural places – for example, keep the downstairs palette a little more soothing, with the bolder design elements upstairs. Furniture should be cohesive but not necessarily an exact match – a little variety adds to the aesthetic appeal. Create strong verticals with tall mirrors, wall hangings, or by mounting curtains higher than the top of the windows. Add pop to otherwise neutral spaces with texture by mixing up materials – this can include different textiles, metals, finishes, and even textured paints. Most importantly, trust your instinct – your personal style depends on your personal taste, and sometimes, that could mean defying all the rules!

First Impressions

Find your decorating style through practice. Begin at the front door, if not before. Your door is the entrance home. It greets guests and draws you across the threshold from the outside world, where things are chaotic, into the warmth and hearth of your personal space. What do you want your door to say? A red door is a symbol of welcome and a sign of safe haven for many. Perhaps another bright color will warm your heart. If you are a lover of summer and warm weather, paint the front door a cheery yellow or sky blue. If Christmas is your favorite time of year, consider a rich pine green. A stained wood lends a rustic appearance, as if your house in an extension of the forest, or an organic oasis in the city. Continue to pull the eye by carrying the aesthetic over the doorway and into the foyer or entryway. Place a meaningful object like a religious talisman or a vase of flowers where they are the first thing you see when you come home.

Color and Design

How do you create a comfortable home that is not only interesting but also is a soothing backdrop for everything that goes on inside? Keep the downstairs color palette relatively neutral and continuous throughout the rooms on the first floor. Try several shades of warm cream, or a soft gray that looks good in various light. Upstairs is the place where you can play with color a bit more. Try a dramatic deep blue or hunter green in the master suite, or a subtle, rosy hue in a guest room. Your furniture does not have to be matchy-matchy in order for your home to have a cohesive design. Try a few pieces from the same style, or, once you feel more confident in your design skills, you can mix up periods, such as rustic and Mid Century modern. Keep those pieces in the same color so that they are pleasing to the eye; in this way they will blend and not clash.

Height and Space

Draw the eye upward with art hung high. Use a level, and a ruler to keep your paintings and prints symmetrical and geometrically sound. You can use bookshelves to create dynamic spaces, or a chair in a quiet corner. An unexpected choice is stacking art on the floor, which adds interest. This is a good choice for those without small children or curious pets around. Keep trying things, until you have a home that feels like you. Remember, style is a work in progress.

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