Some people are born with a great eye for decorating or design. Others learn the skill and are able to apply it successfully. And then there are the rest of us. If you don’t have much of a knack for design, a few basic techniques can go a long way.
These decorating rules and principles are simple enough that most anyone can apply them. Your home might not look like a West Elm catalogue, but it’ll look presentable.
Follow The Rule of Odd Numbers
You might already be familiar with the rule of thirds for photography. Designing with odd numbers as a foundation can create harmony and visual interest,explains dsigns Cecilia Walker.
It helps to have groupings of objects in varying heights, shapes and textures. At the same time, there should be something similar about them. This advice seems to contradict itself, but the point is, there should be something that groups your items together, but also something about each of them that is slightly different.
Find Your Room’s Focal Point
A room’s focal point is its most emphasized feature. It’s the thing your eyes are naturally drawn to when you walk into the room. And everything around the focal point compliments it.
If you’re lost with how to start decorating a room, finding its focal point is a good start. Many rooms have built-in focal points: a large window with a view, for example, or a fireplace. If your room doesn’t have a built-in focal point, here are some tips and options for creating one:
- Paint one wall a different color, then accessorize with artwork or shelves.
- Decide what you want to use the room for, then create a focal point around that, For example, if you want to use a room for reading, you’d make a bookshelf your focal point.
- Nafie also suggests simply using a large piece of furniture as a focal point.
- You could use a large piece of artwork as a focal point. A large mirror also works well.
Once you find the focal point, decorate around it. Use its main color in elements throughout the rest of the room. In the above example, the focal point—the fireplace—is white. The red walls make its color stand out, and the white candles, orchid and vases all around the room compliment the fireplace.
Layer Your Lighting
Lighting could be a whole post in itself, but here’s what you should consider when you don’t know much about it. First, learn the three basic types of lighting:
- Ambient: Its also called general lighting, and its the overhead lighting meant to evenly illuminate a room.
- Task: As its name suggests, task lighting is meant to light a specific task. A lamp in the living room might light a reading area. Under-cabinet lights in a kitchen serve as task lights for countertops.
- Accent: Accent lights are meant to highlight a particular object. You might see them on painting, for example.
Adding different types lighting can give your room dimension. Start with ambient lighting in each room, then consider how you can use task and accent lighting. Real Simple has some specific tips on how to do this in each room.
Beyond these basics, you’ll probably also want to make your home look like your own. These guidelines help you get started, but you should adjust your decorating according to your own tastes and preferences. Use these rules to get started, but don’t be afraid to break them and go with your instincts if something feels right to you.