A beginners guide to decorating

If interior decorating and styling is new to you it’s not uncommon to feel completely overwhelmed. For many people the thought of colour schemes, deciding on a style , choosing furniture and accessories and then knowing what to do with it all is enough to leave some people rocking in the corner!

But I’m here to tell you that it needn’t make you break out in hives. Here are some easy tips and tricks that even the most novice decorator can follow and use to create a dream space.

Decide on your style – I’ll admit I used to be one of those people who would buy decor items and furniture on impulse ( I had an obsession with chairs!) and then realise once I got home that it was completely random and didn’t go with anything I already had. This is because I didn’t know my style.

Once I defined this and understood my style it actually made me excited to go shopping and the great thing is you can mix up different styles to create interest and reflect your personality.

Image by domain.com.au via Pinterest

Choose a colour palette – This is an important point because colour is what brings cohesiveness to a space, without a colour palette you risk your home looking like a rainbow exploded in your home!

The best way to achieve harmony with colour is to make the walls the dominant colour in the room and because of this I suggest using a neutral colour.

The secondary colour source will come from your furniture and decor items – such as rugs, upholstery and soft furnishings. And lastly but something I love are accent colours which are brought into a room with artwork, cushions and decorative accessories.

Image by Nordic Design featured on nyde.co.uk

Add the right rug – the amount of times I walk into a room and see a rug that is too small for the space is more than I care to see. The reason why this is a problem is that if a rug is to small it actually makes a space seems smaller, which no-one wants.

My tip – think about the area the rug is for. Are you using a rug to fill a whole room, in a lounge area or are you using it to frame a dining space?

Once you decide, measure the space around the outside edge of the furniture (eg, a square or rectangle). If you’re placing the rug in a small room and wanting it to cover most of the floor allow for a 20-30cm gap between the rug and the walls in the room.

If you want to define a dining area, the rug should be wide enough so that when the chairs are pulled out they remain on the rug.

For a lounge area the rule of thumb is to have the front legs of the couch on the rug and if you have an occasional chair/s the legs should be on top of the rug. When furniture is on top of a rug it anchors the room and makes it feel larger so allow for approximately 20-30cm of rug behind your furniture.

Image by studio-mcgee.com via Pinterest

Layer it up – The best way to add visual interest to a room is through texture, pattern and height. When choosing accessories think about your style and colour palette and buy pieces that reflect this. Get creative and choose different materials such as linen, wool, jute, velvet and consider different surface textures such as shiny metal, rough concrete etc – there are so many I risk writing a thesis to list them all!

When displaying your decor items such as frames, vases, plants arrange them so there are different heights. They can be grouped together to create a vignette or displayed symmetrically to make the room flow.

Image by Immy and Indi via Pinterest

Don’t neglect your walls – walls are the perfect space to add wow factor to a space but so often forgotten. To create the perfect feature wall here is a tip a swear by.

Before hanging artwork, place the selection of prints on the floor in the layout you like. Once you have this, place masking tape on the walls in the same layout and size as the prints on the floor.

This helps you get a visual idea of what the pictures will look like on the wall and whether you like the layout and it allows you to change it up before you’ve put any holes in the walls.

Image by avenue lifestyle.com via Pinterest

An extra bit of advice and probably the most important is have fun with it. Decorating needn’t be the stress that causes you heart failure or a marriage break up!

Like anything, perfection can take time so don’t be discouraged if a space doesn’t come together in one go. It takes practice, trial and error and patience and over time as you grow to understand your style more, the whole process becomes a lot easier….well until you change your mind again! 🙂


Image & brand credits: domain.com.au, nyde.co.uk, studio-mcgee.com, Immy & Indi, avenuelifestyle.com and Pinterest.


Are you a lover of all things interior but when it comes to your home you have no idea what your actual style is?

Check out my free and simple style quiz that will help find your interior style and ways you can achieve the look.

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Inside You'll Find:

What is the right height to hang artwork?

What is the right size rug for my living room?

How do you decorate a small space?

How to find out what your interior style is.

How to choose a colour scheme for your home.