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 decorating. How do you make your space look its best while reflecting your sense of style? Do it well and you’ll end up with a comfortable, happy home. Do it poorly and you’ll end up with a hodge-podge of furniture, fabrics, and paint colors that never congeal into a pleasing whole. With a little planning and following the same steps used by professional interior designers, you’ll have a much greater chance of success.
Don’t Start in the Furniture Store
Many have heard the advice to avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry because it leads to poor choices. The same holds for furniture stores – don’t go shopping in a panic, just because you have an empty home. Yes, you need a sofa. But if you pick the pink-striped sectional just because you like it in the store, without taking measurements or thinking about the rest of the room, you’re stuck with it. The rest of the room will have to be built around that sofa, and if it’s too large for the space it will look forever awkward.
Start in the room you’re looking to furnish, armed with a measuring tape and a notepad.
Know Your Measurements
Matching the scale of furniture to the scale of a room is critical. A deep sectional sofa can easily overpower a small room and svelte chairs can get lost in a wide-open loft. Before you start designing, measure the length and width of each room you intend to decorate, along with the ceiling height and elements that could get in the way – stairs, columns, radiators, and other obstructions. You can easily contract companies like Design Everest | San Jose. It’s also a good idea to measure window openings, along with the wall space below, above, and to the sides of each one, to get ready for window coverings.
“The first mistake most people make is that they buy things that are the wrong size – sofas that don’t fit in the room, sofas that don’t fit through doorways, tables that are too small, desks that are too big, nightstands that hang into the doorway,” said David Kleinberg, founder of the New York interior design firm David Kleinberg Design Associates. Carefully measuring your space can help avoid such problems.
Decide How 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, and visually warm or cool. “To the best of your ability, you have to try to discern how you would like to live in a given space,” said Ms. Hampton. “What will you be doing? How many people live there? Are there children? What are your ambitions for how you would like to live?”
The decoration of a home for someone who regularly hosts large dinner parties, for instance, should be different from home for someone who eats out at restaurants every night. The person who plans to host lavish fundraisers should have a different living room than the person who dreams only of crashing in front of the TV.
Develop a Budget
There’s no getting around the math: If you splurge on an unexpectedly expensive chair, you’ll have less money available for the rest of the home. “You want to make sure you’re being strategic about how you spend your money,” said Mr. Ford. “A budget gives you a roadmap for how to divide the costs of things between rooms.” You can still make an exception if you find a one-of-a-kind dining table, he noted, but to pay for it you have been thinking about where else you can cut back.