4 easy steps to design a space

I'm taking a bit of a break from my DIY projects and decorating plans and all that jazz for the...night...
(At what point do you admit you have an addiction? Hah!)

Anyway, several people have asked me lately about some decorating tips and advice (which was both surprising and flattering), but it inspired this post.

If you're anything like me (maybe you've already found a good therapist and can recommend someone? :-p I kid.), deciding how you want to decorate/style a room is sometimes harder than actually doing it. I hate making decisions.

But these 4 tips will make it a bit easier when you're decorating a space. Mind you, there are a TON of different approaches to tackling a room/house, but this is something I've found that really works for me!

(pin it and make me famous) ;-)

1. What do you need the function of the room to be?

Some rooms are easy- like a bathroom. Only a few things should happen in there..but other rooms, like a living room, bedroom, office- those are open for a little more interpretation. For example, do you have kids? Do you entertain often? What do you like to do in your living room? In your bedroom or a kid's room, how much time do you spend there? Do you keep toys in the kid's room or prefer it to be only a relaxing/sleeping space?
Basically decide what needs to happen in that space. A room should be as functional as it is pretty. That will determine almost everything about it- how much storage you need, space you need to have open (the flow of the room), type of furniture and fabrics, etc. 

Check out this dual purpose office/play room. Notice there is a dedicated space for each activity- playing and office-ing- plenty of storage for toys on the right and office things on the left, and an open area in the middle for more play room (you don't want kids tripping over computer cords after all...or eating them...). 

2. How do you want the room to feel?

Light and airy? Sophisticated? Comfortable? Relaxed? Chic?

Notice none of those words are style words- like contemporary, traditional, shabby chic, rustic. Decide how you want to feel in the space first, then find out what style best represents that feeling so you can start gathering and searching for ideas. But if you don't know the feeling you're going after, it will make other decisions harder. Instead of looking at something in a store and thinking "Is this contemporary?" Ask if it would help add to that feeling you're shooting for.

The dining room on the left feels light and fresh, while the dining room on the light is a lot more sophisticated and fancy. 

*Start to notice what it is about these spaces that makes it feel this way- like colors, textures, and furniture.

3. Choose a color palette. 

Whatever you do, DON'T paint a room first. I've done this before and I'll tell you why it's a bad idea (unless you're doing a very neutral wall color)- you will spend so much time trying to find other decor to tie in with your walls and the rest of the room it will be SO frustrating. So instead, find a piece (piece of fabric, curtains, pillow, piece or art, etc.) that represents the colors you want in that space, then plan everything around that piece, including wall color. It's so much more logical and easier to find items in the colors you're looking for this way. (This is also just one of many ways to plan a good, cohesive color palette, especially if you consider yourself a "noob" to home decor).

Notice in these pictures there is a piece that "ties it all together". In the kitchen it's the art on the wall, in the living room it's the bold floral pillow. Each room uses a lot of color (which I love), but it all coordinates because of that "starter piece". It doesn't have to be all matchy-matchy, but the colors do all compliment each other. Remember contrast is good, clashing is bad.

I'm currently in the process of turning Jillian's room into a shared space to make way for baby #2 and I'm going through this EXACT process. When I'm farther along I'll show specific examples in each area, but my color scheme was inspired by this wallpaper from Anthropolgie:

Once you have your starter piece you can choose which colors you want to bring out and use more of, and which colors you still like but don't want to stand out as much.

4. Now get inspired and start finding ideas!

 Pinterest is your best friend. Create boards with elements in each of these 3 areas that you like and put a caption specific to what you like about the picture. Do you like the room layout? The color scheme? The use of texture? How it feels? Whatever it is you like about it, remind yourself what that is so when you're shopping you can recreate that. (And don't be disheartened by the crowd that says "Oh, did you get that from Pinterest?" all unimpressed like...before Pinterest people got inspiration from magazines and stores and no one thought THAT was any less creative).

 (check out my decor board- one day I'll organize it by room...one day...and my inspiration for the new girls' room)

Notice trends and common themes in what you're posting. 
For example- I noticed I was pinning a lot of white, bright kitchens. I painted my cabinets white, changed the wall color and added a backsplash, but I couldn't figure out what was missing until I revisited my board and noticed all of the white kitchens I loved had some type of green plant in them- AHA! That was the common element I was missing. I added a couple of small plants on my windowsill above the sink and it really completed the whole look.

And that's pretty much it. Notice BUDGET is NOT one of the main ideas- that's because no matter what your budget is, you can still create the look and feel of what you're going for. You will always be able to find a more/less expensive version of certain pieces. It's OKAY to pin/find examples of super expensive things if they inspire you!

And remember that decorating is a PROCESS and rarely ever done all at once with everything completed in a week (or a month even!). Do what you can, when you can and enjoy the process of seeing the space transformed! 

Happy decorating friends- and keep the questions coming- you make me feel like maybe I actually have good ideas instead of just crazy obsessions. :-p

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