If you ask yourself the following questions, you'll be a long way toward deciding what to buy, what to get rid of, what to include, and what to do in your new room.
- How will I use this room?
It's a "no brainer" that a bedroom will need a bed, a chair, and a lamp. But will you choose a beautiful armoire to be a second focal point for the room or do you need to reserve a major space for your exercising machine?
If you're working on a family room, will you have a large entertainment area or will the room be filled with a pool table?
- Will I use this room every day or just occasionally?
The answer to this question will help you decide how much to spend on your decorating project, what colors to use, and what pieces of furniture you'll need. If you're working on a guest room that will be slept in once a month, you'll spend much less than on a master bedroom that you'll use every day. And a guest room can be a space to experiment with bold color, new design, and luxury items. But a master bedroom should be done in a soothing, familiar color and include practical and useful furniture.
- What is my favorite color and how can I use some of it in this room?
It's obvious that if your favorite color is fuchsia, you probably can't paint your family room or teen boy's room fuchsia. But you can find ways to bring that favorite color into almost any room in your home. Use towels, flowers, paintings with fuchsia, or cording trims to bring that color to the room. Start with an accent piece that's multi-colored, including your favorite color. You'll be surprised how that stand-out favorite color becomes the focal point, even if the room is plain beige!
- Does my room get enough natural light?
If your room has dark corners or shaded light all day, you might want to select colors to brighten up the space even on the darkest of days. Or you'll need to look for ways to add artificial light with decorative lamps, track lighting, or recessed lights.
- What furniture do I need and where should I put it?
Not all rules apply to every room you'll decorate but there are some tips about arranging furniture that work pretty well for any room. They're a good starting place.
Here's a mini-course on furniture arranging:
- Determine the focal point of your room. This will be the focus of all the furniture in the room.
- Decide first where the largest pieces of furniture will go. This includes a sofa, a bed, or a large table. Next, decide where you'll place large chairs, chests of drawers, or an armoire. Last, find a place for small side tables, mirrors, occasional tables, and stools.
- Be sure that all seating areas have good tables and lighting near them.
- Balance is important to a room. To balance a room, pair a large sofa with a similarly sized pair of chairs on the other side of the space.
- For easy and friendly conversation, make sure that the major seating is within 8 to 14 feet of other seating.
- Use a decorative or neutral area rug as the foundation for the seating area. Make sure that the rug is anchored with furniture around all the sides and on the corners.
- If I could be anywhere in the world, where would I be?
This may seem like a strange question, since you're not going there. But what you can do is add special touches to your room, any room, that reminds you of your favorite place. Do you love the beach or the mountains? Do you dream in snowy white snuggled up at a charming bed-and-breakfast inn? What mood do these places create for you?
For starters, if you dream of the mountains, find ways to bring warm green, brown, natural elements into the room. Decorate with log-cabin style and add rustic elements like acorns, blue jays, and pine. If the beach is where you dream of being, add some elements that take you there. Choose a sisal rug over a hardwood floor instead of sandy colored carpet. Paint with colors of the ocean and waves. Accessorize with shells, starfish, or netting draperies. Create elements of your dream place in your space.
If you plan ahead, ask yourself these 6 questions before you decorate, and work according to your plan, you'll feel happy and at home every time you walk into your new space.