Do Your Design Homework

Creating a well-designed home is more than a matter of shopping for furniture from time to time. Whether you’re decorating a room from the ground up or planning a smaller spruce-up project, it’s important to start by doing your homework.

First, ask yourself a few questions. Do you live a formal lifestyle, perhaps hosting sit-down dinners on a regular basis? Or do you tend to be more laidback? Give some thought to furniture styles, as well. Do you feel most at home in a traditional setting or do you prefer a more contemporary atmosphere?

If you’re the least bit unsure about your likes and dislikes, try this exercise: Look through a variety of magazines, searching for rooms that you find appealing; there’s sure to be some common ground among them that will give you a sense of where to start. Better yet, have each member of your family do the same thing.

Next, think about the colors you gravitate to. A good gauge may be as close as your own closet; the colors you’re most comfortable wearing are often the ones you’re most comfortable living with. If you’re a jeans-and-t-shirt type, navy blue may be a good choice. You might even take that color cue literally, selecting a denim blue sofa for the family room.

Last but not least, are kids or pets part of your family? If so, that will affect your choices, too. In terms of upholstery, chenilles wear better than delicate silks and dark colors are more family-friendly than bright whites. Better yet, consider seating pieces with slipcovers you can throw right into the wash. As for floor coverings, antique rugs are good looking but carpets with built-in stain resistance are much easier to clean.

Taking the time to do your homework will invariably help you make better decorating decisions, which will be more cost-effective in the long run, too.

By Louise Lange