8 Steps to a Beautiful Home

1. Flooring

Like most large things in our home, flooring choices are extremely important in practicality, function and design. Our flooring is the first step and foundation for building our decorating scheme. Before you decide on floor coverings, consider how the room will be used and what kind of wear and traffic it will have. For instance, kitchens and bathrooms are hard wear areas and should have tough flooring while living spaces and bedrooms usually need the warmth of area rugs or carpet. What is appropriate for some rooms will not be appropriate for others. Decide whether you need hard or soft flooring before considering color choices.

It is best to choose a key/inspiration item before attempting to choose flooring colors. If you haven’t, choose what you like best for your home and then find a key fabric or item that works well with the flooring choices. Now, start building from there. Floors take a tougher beating than any other surface in your home and are comparatively expensive to cover. In terms of appearance and durability it is always worth buying the best quality you can afford.

Do not make decisions about purchasing new flooring until you are sure you cannot revitalize the existing floor in any way. For example, old wood floors can be sanded down and resealed giving them new life, carpets can be stained or painted, and tiles can be painted or stenciled. Hopefully you are beginning to get the picture. Try being creative with what you have before spending the money it will take to replace these items.

2. Walls….Trim….Molding….

Paint, wallpaper, and architectural moldings each have a purpose in your decorating project. They are the backdrops for everything else you do. I consider these elements to be the second step in your decorating project. The mood, ambience, personality, charm and style of your room or home are all effected by these components. Your flooring and key/inspiration items should be the springboard for the color and style choices that need to be made for your walls, trim and moldings. Remember that personal choice and family personality traits are always the bottom line. Your home is a reflection of you and your family, and it should be pleasing to you.
back to top

3. Furniture

Furniture (including accent furniture) is singularly the most high-priced decorative expense you will have in your home once you take into consideration that the flooring and walls are already permanent fixtures. Furniture choices are the third step in designing your room or home.

First, we must define the uses and needs of a particular room. In some cases it is obvious, while in others, our lifestyle and purpose for this space will dictate the style and pieces needed. Ask yourself these questions first:

Who will use this room most often?
What activities will occur in the room?
How often will the room be used?
How much sunlight will my selected fabrics be exposed to?
What look and style do I prefer?
Is storage area or desk space needed?
What colors will I like to live with?

Once you have taken the time to consider these above questions, the huge array of choices will be narrowed for you. Large upholstered pieces are a big investment, so I suggest you consider buying solid or tone on tone classic pieces in colors that are versatile and compatible with many styles and colors schemes. I then would recommend bringing in pattern on the smaller accent furniture pieces, accent pillows and window treatments. By the time you finish the third step of your design project, excitement is in the air. It’s starting to look like something wonderful! Be patient, you’re not done yet. It is very important to follow through with the remaining five steps.
back to top

4. Window Treatments, Bedding Ensembles, Accent Pillows

Window treatments, bedding ensembles and accent pillows in most homes are an essential decor and functional necessity. The latter two is more decorative than functional. Window treatments can be both. These elements are the fourth step in achieving a beautifully decorated home.

Your choice of window treatments will vary, depending on what you want the particular treatment to accomplish. This is where you must start! Consider some of the following questions:

Do I need privacy?
Does privacy need to be partial or total?
Is filtered sunlight okay?
Do I want as much sunlight as possible?
Do I have a good view I would like to frame?
Do I want function only, or both function and window décor?
Do I want to block out the view through the window?
Do I want the window(s) to be decorative focal point in the room?
How important is the ease of control?

Once you have decided on the objective for your window treatment, your options for choice become more manageable. Soft treatments are just what the name describes… fabric window treatments. Hard treatments are blinds, shades, shutters, and verticals. Each has a very distinctive purpose, so think this through carefully.

In each style imaginable, fabric choices and trims add thousands of different looks and possibilities. Patterned fabric, solids, textures, stripes, plaids, sheers, semi-sheers, etc. can all become the most dazzling window treatment(s). Your taste, style, color scheme and required function are the variables that should be considered before you decide what type of window treatment you want to have for your home.

How we dress our beds is an important element to the decorating of any bedroom. There are so many different ways and styles to utilize. The bed should be the focal point of any bedroom, so your bedding choices and decorations are significant to the overall design of the bedroom. This is true even for children’s rooms.

Accent pillows are an important and valuable decorating asset for your design project. They are an inexpensive way to balance color, pattern and create personality for any room.
back to top

5. Lighting Your Home

Proper lighting provides illumination, creates interest, improves safety, and establishes mood and ambiance. Good lighting is both functional and decorative, and careful planning will give you the best results for both attributes. The amount of lighting needed will vary depending on the wall color, natural light available and personal preferences. Lighting becomes the fifth step in decorating a room or home. We are building each step as a building block on the previous; as a result the lighting choices are narrowed due to the earlier steps being completed first. Lighting should address both the functional and decorative needs in each room in your home. After determining the activities that take place in each room, establish what lighting elements will be necessary to accomplish the job.

6. Artwork

Art is a powerful accessory if used and hung properly in the home. It adds style, color, personality, charm, wit, elegance, beauty and just about any other adjective you can imagine. Your personal taste is the most important factor when choosing art for your home. It should be a reflection of your personality and preferences and is the sixth step in decorating a room or home.

Artwork framed or unframed is a picture of objects, scenes, landscapes, people, animals, etc. that you enjoy looking at. It can be found everywhere and anywhere! The challenge of finding just the right thing can be a fun adventure. Do not rule out any possible source. I have seen wonderful art at hardware stores, garage sales, auctions, and flea markets and in local bed and bath shops. Look everywhere! The obvious places to look are art galleries, furniture stores, home decorating specialty stores, craft stores, antique shops and accessory stores. Do not forget to check your Grandmothers attic!
back to top

7. Accessories

Accessories give your home a lived in, comfortable look. They are invaluable in helping to achieve color and design balance. The accessories and artwork in your home are direct reflections of your interests, personality, taste and style. They do not have to be expensive to achieve the goal. Color, scale and balance are far more important than monetary value. Accessories are the seventh step in achieving a beautifully decorated room or home. Without them a home will feel cold and incomplete.

8. Floral/Greenery

In my opinion, trees, greenery and floral arrangements are the final and eighth important element in a completed design project and they should not be ignored. Flowers and greenery provide life, interest, balance, color, sizzle, impact and drama. Their part in the overall-decorating scheme is vital to a beautiful room or home.

The designers at Windows of Fashion/Surroundings can help you with your complete decorating project. Our showroom is full of decorating ideas.

Happy Decorating!