On the day a new home becomes yours, you turn the key and the door swings open with excitement. Each room is filled with potential. As you wander from room to room, it begins to sink in that your empty space is just that—totally empty. While empty can be exciting, it can also be daunting. Many new homeowners worry about where to start decorating.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry if your new home starts to feel stark and bland. With a few simple tricks, you can make it a warm, inviting spot for welcoming friends and family.
Close your eyes and imagine how your family will use each room. Will there be an adults-only space? A gathering spot specifically for the kids and their friends? Rooms need to take on the traits of the users. If you’re a movie buff, a bookworm, a parent of toddlers, or an artist, you’ll find the most success when you let your passions drive your décor. In this way, your room will not just suit your tastes but work well for you. Picturing how the room will be used helps establish your decorating goals.
Start with the big three: Color, floor and windows
Next, find your focus by concentrating on the first three basics for every room: paint color, rugs, and window treatments. These three key elements will stay with you for a long time. While you might rearrange furniture and toss in new accent pillows, the basic three are an anchor holding the room together.
- Paint: Because painting an empty room is quick and easy, you can create a transformation in a day. Whether you go from clean, bright white to a rainbow of hues or vice versa, your wall color instantly sets the stage for everything that follows. Paint all the walls for a cohesive look or create an accent wall for added interest.
- Rug: Laying down a rug not only creates warmth visually, but it ties together all the décor and furniture pieces it touches. Make sure to select one large enough for your furniture’s front feet to rest on it.
- Window Treatments: Window blinds can accent a beautiful view and create a stunning focal point. They can also do the exact opposite and hide a not-so-great view behind a pretty design. Either way, window blinds are such an integral part of a room’s look and functionality that they should be one of the first things considered rather than an afterthought. Plus, they’re especially important in bedrooms and bathrooms for some much-needed privacy. Make them a priority upon move-in.
Keep your vision in mind for how the room will be used and study the overall look you desire, then pick window blinds—from wood to vertical—in just the style you need. You can darken a room, make it safer for kids, cover a patio door, create a home theatre, or make it easier to clean just from your choice of window blinds. Use customized window treatments to instantly add personality, privacy, and warmth.
Find a focus for furniture placement
With the big three—color, rugs, and window treatments—anchoring the room, you’re ready to arrange furniture.
Begin your room plan by finding a focal point. Some common focal points might be a great view or a fireplace or other architectural feature. If your room doesn’t have a natural focal point, create one. An entertainment center, an artfully arranged bookcase, a china cabinet, or electric fireplace can all become a room’s focal point.
Use your focal point as a guide and arrange seating around it. Be sure to consider traffic patterns in your home by allowing enough room to walk between pieces. If the size of your room allows, float some pieces away from the wall and you’ll actually find the room looks bigger than if all the pieces are placed against walls.
Let the items you love guide you in your choices for the finishing touches. Inspiration can come in many forms—it might be a teal ceramic lamp you scored at a garage sale, a beautiful oil painting that belonged to your aunt, or a set of lush velvet throw pillows. Somewhere, you’ve got one piece that speaks to you.
Use that one piece as inspiration for choosing similar décor. Select vases, accent pieces, pillows, throws, and pieces of art inspired by your favorite item. If you don’t love anything you already have, this is the time to let it go.
Go light and bright
No room is complete without the right lighting. Lighting affects not just the mood of the room but your own mood, too. There are three lighting factors to make your room complete:
- Window Blinds: While you may have added window blinds for privacy or to highlight or hide a view, they have another purpose. Blinds are perfect for controlling sunlight. Before adding or changing any electrical lighting, take advantage of your window blinds to maximize natural sunlight. The tilt wand allows you to direct and reflect light in different ways and at different times of the day so your room can stay naturally lit.
- Light Fixtures: If any existing fixtures need updating, it might be just the lift your room needs. While one choice is to replace the fixture, you can also change globes, shades, and even paint the existing fixture.
- Lamps: Use tabletop and floor lamps to set the mood in your room so there are no gloomy corners in the evening. Consider how your room is used when you choose your lightbulbs, as they vary between a natural sunlight look and a warm glow.
Change as needed
Be sure to embrace change as part of the decorating process. In a new home, you may find you thought you’d use a room one way, but it better suits the family in a different way. Or, if you bought a bigger home that you’re planning to grow into, your needs will change as your family expands.
Keep in mind that the three anchors—color, rugs, and window treatments—will always act as the base of your room. They’ll make it easy to rearrange furniture and re-accessorize as often as your needs change.