THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON HOUZZ.
Before you grab that first paint chip, figure out your needs, your decorating style and what to get rid of.
Congratulations. You’ve decided to decorate your home. Now what?
Whether you’re furnishing your first place or redoing the house you’ve owned for decades, decorating can be a challenging task, filled with costly decisions whose outcomes could haunt you for years. How do you figure out what style is right for you? Should you tackle the job yourself or hire a pro? How much should you spend? And what steps can you take to ensure you’ll be happy with the results?
In this series I’ll take you through the entire decorating process, from initial inspirations to final floor plans. We’ll talk about choosing colors, shopping for furniture, arranging furniture, where you should scrimp and where you should spend.
But before you do any of that, look around you.
Take a critical look at your current home.
What do you like about it? What do you dislike? Are your feelings prompted by the aesthetics of the decor? The comfort? The fabrics? The colors?
Learn from that. Repeat the things you like, and don’t repeat the things you don’t like just because they’re familiar to you.
Write your list for Santa.
Create a wish list — your Santa Claus list. Write down everything you would like to do if money were no object. Then figure out which things you can do, which things you can’t do, which things have to be done now and which things can wait.
“If you don’t have that master list, it’s hard to prioritize,” says interior designer Amy Luff of Viva Luxe Studios in Bristol, Virginia.
Start collecting pictures of rooms you like. Even if you’re going to hire an interior designer, this will help him or her get a sense of your taste.
Naturally, Houzz is a great place to begin, as you’ll have more than 10 million pictures at your fingertips. You can save everything into one ideabook or make individual ideabooks for each room or each aspect of the design (wall colors, furnishings, fireplaces etc.).
Don’t try to do this in one sitting — give yourself a few weeks or months to compile your photos, as your tastes might evolve during the course of the exercise. Something that appealed to you on Day 1 might seem trite by Day 23.
Get your better half involved.
For many couples there’s often one person who’s more interested in decorating than the other. The other person might say, “Do whatever you want.”
Do not do whatever you want. Because as soon as you start buying things, Mr. or Ms. No Opinion will suddenly have an opinion. So make him or her spend some time with you at the very beginning just looking at pictures of interiors. “Spend an hour or two on the computer and look at some things together and talk about them,” says interior designer Alana Homesley of Woodland Hills, California. As you review each room, ask your partner, “What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?”
Alternatively, you can each collect a file of images independently, then sit down and compare what you’ve chosen. This way your initial selections won’t be swayed by the other person. As you review your selections together, your differences and similarities will immediately become apparent.