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Tips Decorate your Home

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Moving into a new home can be one of life's great joys, but it can also be a time of uncertainty, especially when it comes to furniture. How do you make your space look its best while reflecting your personal style? If you do it right, you'll end up with a comfortable, happy home. If you don't do it right, you'll end up with a hodgepodge of furniture, fabrics, and paint colors that never condenses into an appealing whole. With a little planning and following the same steps as a professional interior designer, your chances of success will be much better.

In order to reach your goals, you first have to know where you want to be.

don't start with a furniture store

Many people have heard the advice not to go grocery shopping when you're hungry because it can lead to bad choices. The same goes for furniture stores -- don't panic and go shopping just because your apartment is empty. Yes, you need a sofa, but if you picked it up just because you liked the pink striped piece in the store without taking measurements or thinking about the rest of the room, stick with it. The rest of the room needs to be built around this sofa, if there is too much space it will always look awkward.

Start with the room you want to set up, equipped with a tape measure and scratch pad.

Know your measurements

Matching the size of the furniture to the size of the room is crucial. A deep sofa can easily overwhelm a small space, and a sleek chair can get lost in a spacious loft. Before you start designing, measure the length and width of each room you'll be decorating, as well as ceiling heights and elements that might get in your way—stairs, columns, radiators, and other obstructions. It's also a good idea to measure the window openings and the wall clearances below, above, and to the sides of each opening to prepare for drapes.

"The number one mistake most people make is buying the wrong size item—the sofa won't fit in the room, the sofa won't fit in the door, the desk is too small, the desk is too big, the nightstand is hanging over the door," says David Kleinberg, a New York-based interior design firm. said David Kleinberg, founder of Design Associates. You can avoid problems like this if you measure your space carefully.

Create a floor plan

Once you have room measurements, you can use them with floor plans to give you a bird's-eye view of your entire home. “Every job should start with a floor plan,” says Alexa Hampton, president of Mark Hampton, the New York-based interior design firm her father founded. "You have to understand space."

One option is to draw up a floor plan the old-fashioned way with paper, pencil, and ruler. However, most professional designers use drafting software such as AutoCAD. Apps between these two extremes aim to make it easier for homeowners to create simple floor plans (some can even measure automatically using your smartphone's camera, but double-check the numbers), including Magicplan, Floor Plan Creator and RoomScan Pro.

Once you have the outline of the room, start experimenting with placing the furniture, making sure that the footprint of each piece of furniture is scaled to fit the dimensions of the drawing.

decide what kind of life you want to live

This is the tricky part and there are no right or wrong answers. Rooms can be traditional or modern, formal or relaxed, visually warm or cool. “You have to do your best to figure out how you want to live in a given space,” Ms Hampton said. “How would you do it? How many people live there? What are your ambitions?"

For example, decorating a home for someone who regularly hosts big dinner parties should be different than decorating a home for someone who eats out every night. Anyone planning a lavish fundraiser deserves a different living room than those who just want to binge in front of the TV.

The benefits of copying

Check out design books and magazines, as well as online resources like Houzz, Pinterest, and Instagram to hone your personal style. "Find out which style appeals to you the most," says Bradford, an interior designer in New York City, and make a profile of favorite images.

If you have a photo you like, research the details, advises Mr. Kleinberg. "See where you're using pattern, where you're using solid color, and where you can use color successfully or not," he says. It will also help inform everything from the type of furniture you prefer to possible drapery strategies.

post it down

To take your floor plan idea a step further, use painter's tape in a real space to outline where furniture will be placed on the floor and walls.

"We used blue tape on the floor to wrap the different elements," says Anne Maxwell Foster, owner of New York-based interior design firm Tilton Fenwick. “Where does the rug go? Does it need to be cut? How far out does the coffee table come out? Even though we do everything to the nearest sixteenth of an inch in our furniture plans, it helps to be able to visualize it in the room and move around. "


There's no way around the bill: If you can afford an unexpectedly expensive chair, you'll spend less on the rest of the house. "You want to make sure you're strategic about how you spend your money," says Mr. Ford. "The budget gives you a road map for how you allocate the cost of items to the room." He notes that if you find a unique dining table, you'll still Exceptions can be made, but to foot the bill, you have to consider where else you can save money.

planning stage

Finishing drywall, refinishing hardwood floors, and painting ceilings are all messy jobs. It's best if this type of work is done before adding any furniture or accessories to the room, if possible.