How to Decorate

Three Parts:Choosing Your Decorating StylePlanning New DécorFollowing a Decorating Process

Decorating a room requires creativity and craft. Luckily, there are hundreds of blogs, magazines and books available to help you navigate the world of home décor. Decorating is successful when you budget, research and sketch out your new décor before you start to make changes.

Part 1
Choosing Your Decorating Style

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    Choose your style before you start. You can tailor your décor and your research based on 1 of these common styles, or a mix of a few.
    • Country. French Country and Americana both use rustic accessories with an emphasis on natural and painted wood. Furniture and accessories are weathered, but you can use white, pastels or more vibrant reds.
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    • Minimalist. Unlike most other styles, the minimalist decorator wants a clean space with a few focal points. The furniture design is more important, because a sleek couch or Lucite coffee table doubles as art.
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    • Retro or vintage. With this style, you want to comb the flea markets for older furniture from any decade you favor. Try 60s kitsch or turn of the century gilded looks. The older the age you want to replicate, the more expensive your vintage purchases are likely to be.
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    • Contemporary. Take minimalist style and throw in some comfortable accents. Choose 1 bright color to make the room more interesting and plan to make a wall or 2 into an art display.
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    • World Chic. Use Scandinavian, Asian, African or American Indian rugs, throws, vases and accents. A room that is decorated with cultural flair will intrigue guests and showcase your travels. [1]
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    • Sophisticated. If you like a classic style, then you probably like white, black and grey with a few splashes of color in between. Use traditional lamps and well-made textiles for an upscale feel. [2]
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    Find blogs, books and magazines that embody your style. For example, Country Living magazine is a good place to do research for country décor, while Handful of Salt is a great blog for contemporary decorators.
    • Get a library card and check out decoration and design books from your local library. Libraries usually carry magazine subscriptions for national magazines, like Country Living or Better Homes and Gardens.
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    Start a Pinterest page. Go to and start an account. Create boards for each room of your house.
    • Look through pins in your decoration style. If you can’t decide what your decoration style is, looking through home décor pins and pinning what you like will help you flesh out your eclectic tastes.
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Part 2
Planning New Décor

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    Decide your budget. If you are planning on replacing furniture, rugs and wall paint, make sure you set aside at least $1,000 per room. If you are doing superficial decoration, you can keep a lower budget of $100 to $500.
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    Choose a room design tool. Thanks to smart phones and tablets, you can find an application or website to take the guesswork out of decorating a room. The following are good decorating tools: [3]
    • Use the Autodesk Homestyler website if you are planning to remodel, put in new flooring or change walls. Go to
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    • Download the 3D Room Designer application by Crate & Barrel, if you are in the market for furniture and general décor.
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    • Try to “Arrange a Room” tool from Better Homes and Gardens. This tool works well for trying new furniture and paint colors.
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    List the things you need to buy for the area you will decorate. Write “budget” next to items you want to keep on a low budget and “investment” next to furniture items, art or high quality paint you want to splurge on.
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    Get crafty. If you like to work on home projects, then embellish curtains, make accent pillows or paint used furniture. You will save money and the décor will feel unique. [4]

Part 3
Following a Decorating Process

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    Make paint color decisions first. There are some general rules you should follow when picking wall and ceiling paint.
    • Use white or off-white colors, if you want the room to look large and bright.
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    • Try an accent wall. If you want a certain wall to showcase a fireplace, piece of art or piece of furniture, paint a single wall a different color.
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    • Use wallpaper in place of paint, if you want a pattern in your room. You can use the wallpaper on a single accent wall or on the entire room. Remember that painting or wallpapering a whole room can make it feel smaller.
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    • Buy a paint that has primer and paint in the product. Although it is more expensive it’s likely to last longer.
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    Choose flooring next. Replacing carpet or laying down wood/laminate flooring is a big job. Consider hiring professionals to make sure it’s done right.
    • Laminate flooring looks like hardwood flooring, but it is much less expensive and easier to install.
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    • Consider an area rug, whether you like your hardwood or carpet, buying a large area rug can instantly change the look of a room. It can also protect the floor in high traffic areas.
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    • Go to a home improvement store, like Home Depot. Choose a type of carpet you like and ask them to finish the edges for you. You can customize your area rug at half the price.
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    • Don’t overdo it. If you decided to paint walls a color other than white or if you used wallpaper, you should consider going with a more neutral flooring choice.
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    Buy furniture. If possible, put extra time and money into pieces of furniture that you use a lot, like a couch, armchair or dining room table. These can be “investment pieces” that will add comfort and style to the room.
    • The architecture and design magazine Dwell has a guide about how to pick the right sofa for your style. Go to and search for “shop for a sofa.”
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    • Shop Ikea or Target for accent pieces, like bedside tables, TV consoles and shelves. You can always paint these smaller pieces to accent your home.
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    Add art. You can buy expensive art and have it framed, or you can make the art yourself.
    • Instead of buying a piece of art, find several images that compliment each other. Frame them in vintage frames, and then place them together on a wall.
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    • Consider using a decal or a painted design in place of framed art. If you rent your space, then a customized wall decal may work the best. Use it on a clean white wall.
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    • Keep some walls blank, and don’t be afraid to put wall hangings on the same wall. Art should accent your space and provide a focal point.
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    Choose accents. Pillows, throws, curtains, ottoman, wine racks and knick-knacks are your final step. Use mirrored trays or hanging mirrors if you want your space to look larger.
    • Add a floor lamp for some mood lighting. You can find them at Ikea or through stores like Pottery Barn and Home Depot.
    • Keep a favorite vase filled with fresh or fake flowers. Just like other décor, flower arrangements can be done in almost any decoration style.
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    Start small and make changes over time. You can always add more. Decorating is a process, best done over time, rather than all at once.
    • If your budget is small, replace furniture, lighting and flooring in steps, until you achieve your final look.


  • Refresh your home décor by decorating seasonally. The same Pinterest accounts, blogs and magazines you use to decorate a whole room also provide seasonal craft projects and retailers. Your Christmas or summer décor can be tailored to fit your personal style.

Things You'll Need

  • Library card
  • Decorator magazines
  • Paint chips
  • Laminate flooring/carpet/area rug

Article Info

Categories: Home Decorating