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Find Your Decorating Style

I Want What I Want When I Want It, But What Do I REALLY Want?

How to find your decorating style and know where to begin...

If you are like most people, you know what you want and what you don't want. And that's great! Sometimes, however, we are unable to communicate what it is we want in a way that others are able to understand.

When you are shopping for items in your home, this kind of shopping can be extremely frustrating. If you don't know what you are looking for, you wander aimlessly searching for things. Sometimes you see something and it may not be the right selection, but you purchase it anyway because you are just exhausted and need to get something.

Once you get it home, you find it doesn't work or you just don't like it and have to return it. What a pain that is!!! So, how do we determine what we like and dislike, what we want, what we may need and what we really desire?

The answer is simple, you need to get clear on all of these things through education before you go out shopping.

Shopping 101

Lets begin by having you find out what you like and discovering a way for you to communicate that to others.

I want you to go to a bookstore or grocery store and sit with the home and decorating magazines. Begin flipping through them, finding photographs of rooms you really like and appeal to you. Make note of them or set the magazines aside. You can also do this with decorating books but magazines are much less expensive.

As you are searching, you will find things that jump out at you and eventually you will see a pattern emerge of rooms you like and styles that represent the kind of home you want.

Styles are typically grouped into the following basic categories:

  • Traditional (formal, dressy, rich fabrics, cherry wood)
  • Country (antiques, pine, collectibles, cozy warm feeling)
  • Contemporary (clean lines, dramatic)
  • Romantic (soft, elegant, ruffles, lace)
  • Oriental (antiques, dramatic colors, high style)
  • Southwestern (earth tones, textures, artifacts)
  • Transitional or Eclectic (mixes of any style)

    Knowing basic style categories will further help define your style preferences.

    Purchase a couple of magazines that represented your style so you will have them as reference. It will help you when you are looking for furniture, colors, accessories, etc. later on. This exercise will also help you find a definition to your style.

    My Family and Home

    Do you entertain a lot? Do you like to read? How many people are in your family? Do all the kids in the neighborhood come to you house? Do you have small children? Do you only entertain a few times a year for family and friends? Do you have large dinner parties with business associates? Do you prefer to have a home where jeans and T-shirts are considered formal wear?

    Who are you and how does your home get used? This is an important part of the process because the answers to those questions will determine where you should begin decorating your home.

    I have heard designers and decorators say the first room you should always decorate is your master bedroom. The theory is you are in this room the most and therefore it should be a well centered, organized place. If you wake and sleep in a beautiful place, you will be happier.

    My argument is that I am awake more in the den or kitchen than I am in my bedroom and I like my public spaces (kitchen, family room, living room, and dining room) to appear pulled together first. This, of course, is based on my lifestyle.

    What is YOUR lifestyle?

    If you are a person who loves to entertain formally, then you should consider working first on your living room and dining room. If you like to entertain informally with friends and family, work on your family room and kitchen spaces. If you are a cook and everyone congregates to your kitchen, then by all means do that room first. If you are a homebody and just love relaxing in your bedroom, do that room first. If you are a busy professional and are rarely home, then the bedroom theory from above may be the best for you. Typically, you will be in that room more often anyway.

    Once you define what areas are most important to have completed first, you will be well on your way to a finished home.

    The answer to the question, "what rooms are most important to be finished first," can not be all the rooms! If you set yourself up for that kind of overwhelm, you will not be able to accomplish anything.

    If you don't focus on what area first, second and third, you will become very overwhelmed by all the things you need to accomplish. Why do that to yourself? Break it down into smaller pieces and get it done.

    Figure out with your lifestyle what rooms are most important to finish first while keeping an overall eye on your whole house. If you see bedding that would work for your master bedroom and its on sale, go ahead and purchase it, but don't then switch focus to that room when you are almost finished with the family room.

    Once you find your style, the rest falls into place.

    by Rhonda M. Layton
    Copyright 2000-2001
    Owner, MyInteriorDecorator.com
    Author, The Decorating Bible


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