5 tips for decorating your home

Cleaning and sorting

Most of us have many things - far too many things - that we don't take care of in our homes. So a good place to start is to look at each item in your home - from the sofa to the little picture frame with the family photo - and decide if it's important to you. You can divide your things into 4 categories:

  • I definitely want to keep it because it has emotional value to me
  • I'm not ready to let it go yet, so it'll go in the attic until the next round of decluttering - and then it'll go if I haven't missed it.
  • It's too nice to throw away, but I won't miss it - sell it
  • It's got to go - throw it out

The big lines - the mood

Find out what style suits you. What do you like? Do you like clean surfaces with no frills or are you into florals and patterns? Do you like bright colours or dark ones?

It might be a good idea to collect photos of furniture etc that you 'just like' without necessarily thinking about why, but just that they speak to you and you like them. Then when you see them together you will see a connection and then be able to describe style. And then it will be easier to see what to go for in your next purchase, because it just has to match your pictures.

Make a plan and budget for each room

Break the task down into smaller parts so it's more manageable and easier to create consistency when you know what needs to be done in each room.

Analyse your spaces: where does the natural light come from, where is it nice to be in the space, what functions should there be, what are the walking patterns etc - you may not exactly need to decorate your spaces the way you "used to". For example, the living room doesn't have to be based on the position of the TV, or just as the utility room doesn't have to be all practical.

Often we spend all our budget and time in the living room and kitchen/family room - the 'public spaces' we show to friends and family - but we also spend a lot of time in the more 'private' spaces, so it's a good investment to spend some energy in both the bedroom and utility room, because waking up in a quiet, beautiful bedroom or folding laundry in a cosy room rather than a poorly lit and cold utility room is a really nice way to start the day.

Remember. ALL spaces are important - the decor should be for your enjoyment, not for your friends or instagram.

Lighting

Never skimp on lighting! Many people have far too few lamps - as a rule of thumb, you should have at least 1 lamp for each function in each room, plus overhead lighting. And you can never really have too many lamps. Look at lamps as both practical and beautiful objects that decorate your home. You can change the mood completely with light.

Textiles

Rugs, cushions, plaids, wall hangings, curtains, sheepskin - all kinds of textiles create warmth and are an easy way to bring a room together and create cohesion throughout your home.

A large rug under the dining table or sofa and coffee table creates space in the room, giving furniture a place in the room and not just a random spot. A cushion in the bedroom the same colour as the throw in the living room creates a reference and makes the two rooms belong together.

The details / still life

Now that you've cleared out all your things, it's time to find the ones that mean something to you. Put them together in groups that have a connection: the same materials (e.g. ceramics or glass) or the same colour (e.g. a vase, a box, a book in shades of blue) or that come from the same place (childhood memories or travel memories) - the connection doesn't have to be visible to anyone but you. You can make small arrangements on tables, shelves, window sills, in bookcases, on the floor - any horizontal surface.

That way, you'll be able to see your things better than if they're all in a long row on the windowsill.