The Beginners Guide To Home Decor

Some times we don’t try something simply because we lack the knowledge not the ability. This beginners guide to home decor is the perfect place to start.

Home Decor

From small one bedroom apartments to completely gutting and renovating houses I have learned a lot about home decorating in the twenty-three years that I’ve lived on my own.

I bought my first home when I was 26 years old. It was a 100 year old fixer upper in a slightly sketchy part of town. It was bright and lovely but it needed a lot of work. Since that time hubby and I have completely renovated three homes together. It’s been several years since we finished the interior of this home and the itch to renovate is strong.

What Is Home Decor

Home decor refers to the items that you put together to form your home’s overall appearance.

This includes: furniture, appliances, paint colours, fabrics, layout, accessories, finishes, art, and flooring. It’s a vast subject but one that is worth understanding. After all, we spend the majority of our time in our homes so why not make it as appealing as possible?

Common Misconceptions About Home Decor

Sometimes the thing stopping us from decorating is the not knowing. Knowing the answers to some of these common misconceptions will help give you the confidence you need to start tackling your home decorating.

Sure, a professional decorator would be great but not many of us can afford a designer and then there are those who don’t want to hire someone else but would rather the DIY route.

So no, you don’t need to hire a professional. You just need to learn some of the basics from this beginners guide to home decor, use this to create a plan, and then embrace your adventurous spirit.

Benefits of DIY
  • You’ll save yourself a lot of money.
  • You have total control over the process.
  • You’ll learn a lot.
  • You can take your time.
  • You get to shop!

The reality is you are going to need a bit of cash to make this happen but thankfully there are a ton of ways to save money when decorating.

A little imagination, some basic home maintenance, and some smart shopping will have you decorating the home of your dreams with very little money.

Nope. In fact, having everything be brand new is boring. When you mix things up your home decor just looks good. Try:

This is a reality with home decorating. Trends and tastes change. Remember the ’80’s? Pastel nightmares for days now. The latest trend is to ditch the farmhouse which for many of us is just not an option. Thankfully, there are easy and inexpensive ways to work around this little issue.

Beat the Trends
  • Go classic when it comes to your larger furniture pieces.
  • Keep your main elements neutral.
  • Use a trending colour by painting smaller pieces of furniture, in a feature wall, or in small accessories.
  • Create your own DIY trendy accessories and art pieces.
  • Decorate with accessories that fit in with the recent trend.
  • Use fabrics to change things up to fit the current style.
  • Embrace your style and just make little switch ups to create a more up to date look.

Actually, I don’t recommend that you decorate everything at once.

Sure, we all want it to be like the designer shows where everything is found at once and it all comes together perfectly in the end. However, this is unlikely to happen and the pressure you put on yourself to achieve this can be discouraging. Trying to do it all at once can be overwhelming. It also can lead to over spending and buyers regret.

Instead, I recommend that you take your time. Break things down to one room at a time. And then break that down even further by tackling only one project at a time. Find out what you like. Shop for pieces that you love and in the end you will end up with a look that is perfectly you.

Never going to happen.

Our family life, economic status, and needs change over time. As do decor styles, finishes, trends, and popular colours. Then there are seasonal changes and holiday decorating. Decorating your home just never ends. Thankfully, as this beginners guide to home decor will show you, there are some simple and inexpensive ways that allow you to change things up without breaking the bank.

The Beginners Guide To Home Decor: Getting Started

Sometimes it’s the getting started that proves the most difficult. These tips will help get you over that first hurdle and will give you the starting points you need to….. well, get started.

  • Educate yourself – A little bit of education goes a long way and getting that information is easier now than ever. Take a home decorating course or an e-course. Check out home decor blogs, Youtube videos, magazines. and books for ideas.
  • Find out what you like – Seems a bit obvious but it is really important. You need to know what you like. So, turn to Pinterest, and home decorating magazines for inspiration.
  • Start small – To build your confidence start with a small project. Take you time and do it right. The finished look will make you feel so proud that you can then build from there.
  • Plan it out – A plan goes a long way. Mood boards are a great way to do this. Having everything planned out and in one place will keep you organized, on budget, and will help you to end up with the look you dreamed of.
  • Set a budget – Creating a realistic budget will help you stay on track and will challenge you to think outside the box.
  • Just do it! – Armed with all your new found knowledge and a plan it’s time trust yourself and just start.

Tips For Amazing Home Decor

Now that you know how to go about starting the decorating process, and you have a few ideas circulating in your creative brain, it’s time to take things up another level. How do you decorate your home in a way that will amaze?

Creating Interest

Mix old with new and high end with low end. Combine vintage with trending. This creates interest and makes for an overall, one of kind home decor look.

This goes back to educating yourself. The more you know the more confident you will feel. Some things to consider is working with texture, decorating measurements, paint finishes, wall display, and scale.

It’s the details that will make the look. Don’t forget to pay attention to the light fixtures, finishes, flooring, ceiling, and hardware.

Furniture Basics

A room layout plan will help you to properly plan your space. It will also ensure that you end up with a well organized room that you can easily and comfortably move around in.

All your furniture doesn’t have to be pressed up against the wall. Use the space you have and put somethings on an angle or use furniture to create intimate spaces in a larger space.

By starting with a neutral base that will stand the test of time you can build off of that and change up your decor easily and inexpensively. This doesn’t have to be boring. Use texture, patterns, and varying materials to create interest.

Working With Colour

Find an inspirational piece that will help guide you in the way of colour, style, and overall look.

There is a fair amount that goes into choosing the perfect colour for your home so get to know about the colour wheel. Also, get familiar with tone, tint, and shade.

This is a basic paint principle that works beautifully for decorating with colour. 60% is the dominant colour, 30% your secondary colour, and 10% for your accent colour.

Too many woods makes for visual chaos. Ideally, limit your wood tones to two. Three at the most.

Free Printable!

Take the stress out of planning your next home decorating project. This free, downloadable decorating planner is jam packed full of helpful tips, fill in planning pages, budget guide and so much more!

Beginners Guide To Home Decor Common Questions Answered

There are always a few questions that always seems to crop up when it comes to DIY home decorating. Let’s answer a few here.

The easiest and often best way to do this is to find a fabric or art piece that inspires you and use this as your jumping off point for the rest of the room.

That being said, really anything can be a jumping off point for decor. You can get inspiration from nature, a photograph, a favourite accessory, a sentimental object, or even a piece of clothing.

As hubby like to say, everything matching is boring.

So no, not everything needs to match. In fact, I would say avoid being too matchy-matchy. Mix things up with patterns, complimentary colours, sizing, and texture. The goal is to have everything in your home be coordinated and visually appealing. The goal is not to look like it came straight out of a furniture store display.


Although, there is nothing wrong with sticking to one style when decorating your home you certainly don’t need to stick to just one decor style. To mix styles effectively it helps to remember that:

Combining Styles
  • Some styles go together better than others.
  • Limit yourself to 2 style combinations.
  • One style should dominate and the other compliment.
  • Styles that mix the best together were close together in actual time.
  • Take into consideration the style of your home and decorate accordingly.

Absolutely. In fact, this is a great way to add visual interest to your home. Just keep the following in mind when doing so:

Mixing Metal
  • All metals go together.
  • Choose one dominant metal and then have the others be the sidekicks.
  • Try and limit yourself to just a couple of finishes.
  • Be mindful when choosing metals. Which metals go best with your decor and paint colours?
  • Make sure that your metal choices and finishes are subtle and not visually jarring. They should compliment each other not compete.
  • To save some money but get the look create your own using spray paint and faux metal painting techniques like I did with these faux copper projects.

The answer is too big a question to answer in this post. That being said, I’ll try and give you a few quick tips to get started.

Painting Basics
  • Any permanent elements such as flooring or large pieces of furniture that you won’t be replacing.
  • How much natural light you get and the direction that your home/space faces.
  • Whether you want to warm up the space or cool things down.
  • Consider scale – do you want the rooms to feel larger or cozier?
  • Type of room – the colours you would choose for a kitchen vs den are likely for very different reasons.
  • The overall feeling you are going for – do you want the space to feel light and airy or moody and dramatic?
  • Take into consideration the colours of adjacent rooms. You want them to flow nicely and to compliment each other. This is where that colour wheel comes in handy.

There are times where painting the walls just isn’t an option. Maybe you don’t have the time or you live in an apartment. This is when knowing how to make an impact with colour comes in handy.

When you can’t paint
  • Wall paintings, wall hangings, photography, and art
  • Throw pillows and blankets
  • Blinds and drapes
  • Small appliances, kitchen tools, and cookware
  • Accessories
  • Candles and candle holders
  • Table top trays and tiered trays
  • Small pieces of furniture
  • Comforters and bed linens
  • Towels and shower curtains
  • Rugs

Jenny’s Finishing Thoughts On The Beginners Guide To Home Decor

You don’t need to be a professional home decorator to create a beautiful home for yourself and your loved ones. What you need is the gumption to take on the project. Then, armed with the advice and tips from this beginner’s guide you can confidently start. Rome wasn’t built in one day and neither will your home but keep pursuing knowledge and one day it will be.

Let me know in the comments below what you are specifically interested in learning more about. How can I best help you?

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