Home Decorating Tips

Formulate a Decorating Plan

To prevent styles from clashing and lending some continuity to the design plan, the living room and dining room feature the same wall color.

Before you begin making changes to the interior of your house, you'll need to formulate a decorating plan. Perhaps you want to decorate a brand-new family room, or maybe you're redecorating a vacant bedroom now that a child is grown? Whatever the undertaking, the more attention spent on details, the better the results.

These days, you can choose from scores of materials, finishes, fabrics, and fixtures. Magazines, videos, books, and Internet articles (such as these) are unending sources for ideas. Neighbors and relatives, especially those who've been down this road before, might have helpful suggestions. And, should you want more guidance, you can turn to a design professional.

A first word of advice: Forging stylish rooms that resonate with character and comfort doesn't happen overnight. Ideally, we would all like to be somewhere else while work is under way, but that's not always possible.

Having a sensible plan for how to make do until the workers depart or the paint dries is the next best option. Try not to be tempted to take on the whole house and be done with it.

Tackling a single space at a time will better allow you to control the chaos, especially when young children are present. It's easier to empty one room of furniture -- and find berths in other rooms for misplaced beds and tables -- than three. Overhauling in small increments is also less time and money-consuming and more immediately gratifying.

On the practical side, when hiring professionals such as carpenters, electricians, and painters, it may be more economical to have them complete all the work within a specific time frame. One lengthy visit will entail more preparation and patience on your part, but savings could be substantial. Be sure to hire a reliable professional who will lay out your options and help you choose the smartest route.

Before the saws buzz and the dust flies, specify one room as your headquarters. A quiet nook where the family can muster for dinner or watch a movie lends stability. If the kitchen is involved, arrange a temporary galley with a fridge near the bathroom.

Use the bath sink for water, and be sure to include items you use everyday such as the microwave or coffeemaker. And generate some fun: Colorful paper plates and cups interject a festive picnic air and cut down on cleanup. To safeguard the kids, implement the out-of-sight, out-of-mind concept and devise a separate entrance that segregates the work zone from the rest of the house.

Be sure youngsters understand that this area and all its dangerous tools are off-limits.

On the following pages, you'll find much of the information you'll need to think through every phase of your decorating project from conception to happy completion. To start, read more about decorating tips for new homes on the next page.

To learn more about interior design and get tips and information on decorating your home, visit:

  • Interior Decorating: Get tips on how to decorate your home and read about organizing a project and selecting an interior design that fits your lifestyle.
  • Decorating a Room: Find out how to decorate a room from floor-to-ceiling.
  • Decorating Styles: Are you traditional or eclectic? Learn about decorating styles for your home.
  • How to Design a Kitchen: Create a kitchen that works for you and get tips on how to choose and place appliances and create a decorating scheme.
  • Kids Rooms: Get tips on decorating your child’s room, with information on colors, smart strategies, and money-saving tips.