Mighty Life List
Feb 14 2013

Decorating Your Home: 5 Tips on How to Start

“Make my bedroom the perfect place to be a girl” is on my lifelist. This is how my vanity is shaping up so far. For more details on how my room is coming along, visit Go Mighty. Gah! It’s getting so pretty. In the meantime, I should admit that this process hasn’t come naturally to me.

My friend Victoria, for example, moves her couch every few weeks, has prints framed, sets aside the throw pillows on her bed every night and replaces them in the morning. I, on the other hand, felt accomplished when I replaced the pile of moving boxes and grocery bags in the corner with cardboard file boxes. They have lids — for fanciness.

When I finally decided to redecorate my room, I Needed a starting point. How does one even do this? Victoria is a friend and the editor of the interior design blog sfgirlbybay. She agreed to hold my hand through this process, and this is what I’ve learned working with her so far.

1. TAKE STOCK OF RESOURCES

How much can you spend? How much do you want to? Simple questions that shape the rest of the process. Money sets your timeline because you don’t need to spend hours bargain hunting, or mapping DIY projects.

You should also figure out what you already have. If you don’t need a new bed, can paint your dresser or dye your duvet, your investment shrinks. Here are some good tips from Real Simple on how to do things on a budget.

2. MAKE ONE SOLID DECISION

My non-negotiable was pink walls, and it informed the rest of my decisions. But you can also take an object you love and extrapolate. I’ve mentioned before that I adore the disco ball at the Jane Hotel in New York, but it could easily have been a photograph or a bowl of pebbles. My Death Star disco ball told me I wanted my room to be a testimony to celebratory decay, so that was our starting point for the process.

3. PULL THE TRIGGER

Dithering is the greatest enemy of any large undertaking. After you’ve logged a hundred hours on Pinterest, you have enough information. Eventually you put brush to wall and credit card to counter, and your room materializes. This is the exhilarating (and for me, terrifying) part. Remember there’s no one way to do this, and everything is reversible.

4. CLEAN THE SLATE

Box everything up and get it out of the room. I did this because i had to paint, but you should do it regardless. Once everything is out, only replace the things you use or love. After about a week of living in a perfect space, I was hesitant to even open the boxes. Most of it has gone straight to the thrift shop.

5. MAKE IT YOURS

If you replace everything at once your house can end up feeling like a hotel. You need objects that have a patina, things that tell a story about who you are. Avoid the hotel effect by incorporating things you already love and forgiving some of their flaws. Nothing has to be new to be perfect.

5 Responses to “Decorating Your Home: 5 Tips on How to Start”

  • Jennifer Says:

    “Dithering is the greatest enemy of any large undertaking.”

    This is the truest statement I’ve ever read. I also saw this one today:

    “Start with whatever you can do right now.”

    I feel like someone’s trying to tell me something…

  • Sarah E Says:

    Your vanity table and mirror are To Die For. I would feel so glamorous if I put my makeup on at that table!

    Though your timeline has changed, I hope you still get a good day (weekend?) to simply luxuriate in your finished space :-)

  • deva Says:

    I am a photographer, so our big non-negotiable was lots of photography on the walls and shelves. We are slow decorators, and I worry we will finish decorating our very lovely house right before we move out of it (which the plan is to be in it for another 6 or 7 years, so I hope it doesn’t take that long!). We already have a lot of photography up, and are planning on hanging more!

  • neo Says:

    I love the idea about having a favorite dress on display! And are you nixing the disco ball or just going to order something less expensive? I hope you still do the disco ball. It sounds so fun.

  • A Day in May Design Says:

    These tips are really great, thanks so much for sharing!