Decor 101 – How to Decorate a Home You’ll Love

I’m excited to start writing a series on Decor 101 to share with you. I’m going to share ways for you to take your home and make it into your dream home!

I’ll group all the basic’s together so that they’re easy to navigate, search and find. To start with, I’m planning to share tips on:

  • Where to Start
  • Space Planning
  • Paint Choices
  • Furniture and Fabric Choices
  • Rules to Follow

I’ll also try to answer as many questions as I can through the process.

I know that decorating your home is a huge undertaking. I know many people can’t decide what to do so they do nothing. I know that other people copy a design and wonder why they don’t love it.

I truly believe that you are the best person to decorate your home!

Yes I’m talking about you!

I love changing up things in my home and I’m not afraid to repaint a wall if it’s not exactly what I want it to be.

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way I expected them too and sometimes they turn out even better than I could have imagined. I always always want the latter, but I usually learn more from the former.

Most of the lessons come in the form of – I didn’t follow all the steps that I know I should have; or I didn’t spend the time that I should have doing research.

I am constantly amazed at some of the talent and tips that I find online. I’ll be sharing my favorite places to find inspiration along the way as well.

Since I share all kinds of home decor info for you I figured I’d start at the start. Where to Start!

Also – we moved into a new house late last summer and I feel like I’m moving very slowly on getting things put together the way I’d like. Oh I have plenty of reasons – I had surgery, then we had a grand baby and then another (woohoo) and then it was the holidays. Whew.

Now it’s time to get started!

So join me in Decor 101 and let’s talk about all the ways to make our houses feel more like home!

Decor 101 - how to get started in a room

Here are my Decorating Rules to Live by – Decor 101

I will tell you over and over that most of the decorating “rules” are really just guidelines.

A great designer will break the rules to make a room look amazing and we’ll all be in awe.

It’s great to know that you don’t have to follow the rules, but none of this matters when you’re staring at a blank room, or even just a blank wall and you can’t decide where to begin. You’re paralyzed about making any decisions so you just don’t.

Yes, I’ve been there.

Sometimes I still hit this wall – I’ve got an area I want to work on but I’m just not inspired to get it done.

Or in the new house I’ve got areas to work on but they all seem overwhelming.

We’ve got an abundance of tile and the tallest ceilings everywhere. Right now I’m finding ways to work around the things that I’m not planning to invest in and that’s part of every project.

Sometimes the rules are a nice safeguard to start moving forward. Like the bumpers on a bowling alley.

So here are some rules for you:

(These aren’t actual design rules – these are the basics I think you need to know before Decor 101!)

Your Home Your Taste

You are the person/family living in a space. No matter what anyone says, at the end of the day your home reflects you and your lifestyle.

You deserve an amazing space.

You deserve to walk into a home that makes you feel comfortable and welcome. Whether that home invigorates you or relaxes you, it should feel like home and a place you want to spend time.

This means that you need to consider what makes you feel at home and then remember that when you start working on your spaces.

If the trend in wall colors is gray and you don’t love gray (I don’t love gray), you have my permission to not use any gray anywhere in your home.

If every kitchen you see is white and you don’t want a white kitchen, again, don’t do it.

If you love hot pink and you can’t find any photo’s of people using hot pink; well first we need to talk because I’ve got photo’s. But really, please use pink.

If pink is your color then pink it is.

Sometimes you have to block out all the noise online to really focus on what YOU want in your home.

Remember that Your House is Your Home

Sometimes it’s hard to look around my house and appreciate what an amazing place it really is.

I can be quick to notice all the things waiting to be done and forget to pay attention to all the beautiful details. We are fortunate to have high ceilings (that need the lights replaced), many windows (some of them need curtains still), lots of wall space (that needs to be painted).

See what I mean?

Remember that your home is meant to convey a feeling. At the end of the day I want my guests and family to feel welcome and comfortable in my home.

They are more likely to notice the hospitality than the paint.

They are morel likely to remember how they felt in our home than what the colors the walls were painted.

If we don’t know how we want to live, no amount of stuff can make a house feel homey.

When we understand that our home is a tool for living well, decor becomes more than a background. It’s a player in our story.

It’s always a great idea to take a minute to remember why we want to change our home.

Decor 101 – The answer should always be so that our family can live better in it.

Looking at paint chips in Decor 101

Don’t Try to Keep up with the Joneses

The Jones’s, the neighbors or what’s popular on the internet right now.

Never ever ever use this as your reason to decorate.

Inspiration, yes. The internet is a great place to be inspired.

Never decorate or change your home for anyone else but you and your family.

You know that’s a Decor 101 philosophy!

Let me just give you a couple of reasons why:

First, there are always going to be people who love what you love and there are people who will never love what you love. It’s a great big world out there and that’s why there are so many styles to pick from.

If you decorate to make your neighbor say “wow” you may find that you never feel totally at home in your own house. You may find yourself cleaning a lot to try keep up with a “lifestyle scene” that doesn’t really fit your family.

If you copy a home design that you found in a magazine exactly, it may not feel exactly like you wanted it too.

Secondly, most of the time your house won’t be full of the Jones’s (or whomever you’re trying to impress).

Most of the time it’s going to be you.

You and your family.

Yes, you’ll have people over, your kids will have friends over. But the majority of the time the people spending time in a house are the people that live there.

So the most important thing is for the people living in a house to love and feel most comfortable there.

Home Takes Time

I use this hashtag on so many of my instagram posts #hometakestime for good reason.

We see so many before and after photo’s on social media or Pinterest. What we miss is all the weeks and months that went into creating that before and after.

We don’t see the sleepless nights and the shopping and design dilemma it took to get from one point to the other.

We just see a before and after photo.

We want that.

Oh I want that!

Believe me, I love a great before and after. I’m a sucker for a huge change or update, but that’s not always what a space needs. Sometimes you just need new throw pillows to make your sofa go from fall to spring.

Which leads me to another point – a space may never be completely “finished”.

Now construction is not the same as decor. You definitely don’t want endless construction happening in your house.

But decor is different.

Don’t rush to fill a space just because it’s empty.

Sometimes you have to wait until the right piece finds you. Patience is not something I’m great at, but I have learned to save for a piece I love rather than go with something that will work just to be able to say that I’m finished.

The furniture and decor that I held out for because it moved me has been with me for many years, many homes and many styles. The pieces that fill a spot but have no meaning tend to get moved around and eventually moved out.

The other side of this is that things change. Styles change, needs change and your taste will change.

Which brings me to the seasons of life.

Embrace Where You Are

There are definitely different seasons to life.

We are now empty nester’s, which seems crazy. And hard to believe. (I certainly don’t feel like a grandma).

I mean what’s really crazy is that our home is rarely empty even though we don’t have anyone living with us full time. We did the opposite of most people and bought a bigger house so that we have room for entertaining and for everyone to stay when they visit.

If you’ve got children at home you are in a different season of your life. Boy I’ve been there and I loved it, but I love this stage too.

If you have baby’s or toddler’s, that’s a different season than teenagers. If you have both let me just take a minute to appreciate you!

The point is that different seasons have different needs.

I know there are women who have a houseful of kids and also have a white sofa. They are invested in keeping that sofa clean.

I’m here to tell you that I don’t have small children and I still love a pattern that hides dirt. I’m just not that interested in spending my time trying to keep anything spotless.

These choices are not right or wrong, they are simply right for the person who is making them.

Don’t fight the season you’re in, embrace it.

You want everyone’s memories to be a home that they loved and were welcomed in. I promise that you do.

You don’t want their memories to be that no one was allowed on the chairs or sofa because it might get dirty.

The season of having to keep all the breakables locked up can pass pretty quickly so embrace it. You can always use museum wax to put out a few items up high.

Decor 101 - seasons of life
We have to watch out for dog tails!

Rules are made to be broken

There are rules and guidelines in decorating. I think they’re mostly interchangeable and I’ll try to share them both with you.

If you’ve got an empty room you need the “rules” so I’m going to share all those.

I love to see inspiration and ideas and I am constantly amazed at the beautiful rooms and homes that I find online.

However, if you’re staring at a blank wall and just need someone to tell you that a wall this size needs A, B and C, I’ll also try to share that for you.

When you’re starting out decorating it’s much easier to follow a rule or a philosophy. Sometimes I just need someone to say you need to put “this” over “there” and “that” goes “here”.

I mean, I actually am not at the beginning of my journey and sometimes I still need someone to tell me that.

So Let’s Do This

At the end of the day decorating your home should be fun. You should enjoy the process!

If not, then it’s a great idea to hire someone to help you.

There’s no shame in hiring someone. If that’s the route you choose then maybe this series can help guide you in sharing your lifestyle and ideas with that person.

But if you’re reading this then I’m guessing you love the process. You’re just looking for some guidance and reassurance.

At the end of the day people will remember how they felt in your home much more than they might remember what color your sofa was.

Traci Ferguson

That’s really the most important thing. How you and your family “feel” in your home.

So don’t think you have to constantly stretch your budget to decorate. Don’t spend a lot of time hating something in your house. Does it function? Then let it.

I have a light fixture that’s driving me crazy right now. I hate looking at it, but for now it works. For now it just has to be a light. Later I can replace it. Maybe.

For now I can’t waste my energy hating it because I’ve got other things that are more important.

What Are Your Design Philosophy’s?

I hope that you’ll follow along as I share in my Decor 101 series:

I plan to share tips on:

  • Where to Start
  • Space Planning
  • Paint Choices
  • Furniture and Fabric Choices
  • Rules to Follow

Along with answering any questions that you have along the way.

So let me know if there’s a topic you need an answer to and I’ll do my best to add it to the Decor 101 series!

Besides the Decor 101 series you can find me sharing inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.

You might also enjoy:

Traci Signature | My Simpatico Life Blog

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