top of page

4 Essential Residential Decorating Principles

Are you looking to give your house or apartment some new vitality? Do you wish you could reinvent your living room or bedroom as quickly and easily as they do on those network cable design shows? Well it’s simple, just call your team of professional designers, tradesmen and craftsmen this afternoon and ask them to renovate your home while you run out to the supermarket. Oh wait, you don’t have a team of professionals at your beck and call? Oh, well this is awkward… I guess you’re out of luck. Well maybe I can still help… here are some basic principles that you can follow to make over that living room, office or den just like those good looking experts do on TV.


1. Inspiration:

Is there an existing, natural focal point in the room that inspires you. A natural focal point might be a fireplace, built-in shelving, art, windows with a great view etc. If there isn’t a focal point, create one with a new piece of furniture or piece of artwork. Whatever the focal point is, think about how you want it to relate to the other components of the room. Draw inspiration from it and plan around it. Color schemes, furniture placement & room finishes can all be inspired by a well-chosen focal point. Once you determine these things you can get started with furniture size and placement.

Knowing the rooms focal point allows you to think about purpose & flow. Define the rooms’ purpose. If it’s multi-functional that’s fine, just don’t try to make it be all things to all people. Next, figure out the flow. How will the room be used? How will people enter and exit the space? How does it relate to or open to the rest of the house? For example, a fireplace should always be in view of the seating areas, a large window won’t only have a great view but also can let it a lot of light. You may not want to have a television in the direct path of that light when plant might be a better fit. Always be thinking about scale and balance. If something has potential, try it out. If it doesn’t work, take it back and try something different.

Scale: Furniture, artwork and lighting should all be chosen based on the size of the room. First sketch out the room and take measurements and make sure to account for the necessary space for walking and movement through the space. Also, the height and weight around the room should be balanced yet varied. Symmetry is not necessary but if you have a heavy chair on one side of the room you may want to offset that with a bookshelf, cabinet or trunk on the other side.

3. Infuse YOU:

Even if you’ve drawn your inspiration from a page in a magazine, your room should still reflect you and your personality and your style. I know people say, don’t let what other people think influence your decisions; well in this case, it should. Take a step back as you’re decorating and think, would my friends think that this room is “me” (or us) or would they think I’m trying to be something I’m not? Don’t be afraid to show that you’re unique and that you have personal “taste.”

4. Take your time:

Have fun with this. It’s really about the journey. What you love today may change tomorrow and that’s okay. You don’t need to do everything at once or purchase everything all at once. Well-designed rooms take time. Once you establish the basic look and feel of the room then you can let it evolve and grow with you.

Photo Credit: Flickr: YankeeBarn

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
bottom of page