Home Decorating Tips

Tips for Starting a Decorating Project

The angled, patterned tiles of this bathroom widen the space, while the faux finished walls and mosaic backsplash add interesting touches at eye level.

When starting a decorating project, you should first evaluate the room. And the best way to evaluate a room is to empty it. With furnishings, window treatments, and artwork banished, the room's pluses -- and minuses -- are ex­posed. Far better to deal with defects at this point than to waste money and effort trying to disguise them later. Check walls, ceilings, windows, and woodwork. Is there glass that needs replacing? Are there plaster cracks?

The basic elements -- walls, ceiling, and floor -- are central to the overall appearance of your room. Most often, kitchens and baths will show the greatest wear and tear. Sometimes, if you're changing houses, a thorough cleaning of the rooms in the new space instills life.

However, these well-used rooms usually require more. Tiles in floors and walls can be regrouted or recaulked. Tubs can be reglazed. Maybe this is an opportunity to upgrade the plumbing. Substituting a standard-size whirlpool tub for a bathtub is a luxurious leap forward.

And small alterations zoom a lackluster bath or kitchen into the limelight, too. Replace the doors on sound but ho-hum cabinets, and bring in new hardware.

Now's the time to find a corner where a closet will fit, add a window, or reconfigure walls and doorways. If you don't want the expense of relocating the toilet, why not compartmentalize it with a half-wall?

The wall's top can serve as a shelf for pretty toiletries or plants to increase the sense of privacy. Architectural moldings can transform bare walls, dull windows, ho-hum cabinets, or an uninteresting fireplace. For that matter, a brand-new fireplace (gas or wood-burning) would give the great room a focal point and the whole house an in­creased aura of welcome.

Electrical systems often need to be updated, especially in older homes. In addition to more outlets, consider recessed lighting, wall sconces, and ceiling fans. Faced with a blank canvas, you'll begin to see all the possibilities.

Many people do not have the luxury of decorating a home without looking at the price tag on fabrics and materials. On the next page, learn how to decorate your home on a budget.

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.