How Do You Start Decorating a Room?

focal point, focal points This is the question everyone asks - Where do I start? So don't feel alone. You have plenty of company. Even professional designers ask themselves this question, no matter what room they are tackling. The following tips may help you if you are facing an empty room and wondering where in the world you should start.

So here goes - you need to start by asking yourself some pretty important questions. These questions will deal with the following issues: proportion and balance, natural light, the room's architectural elements, the function of the room, the people who will use the room. How is the room balanced architecturally? Will the room's natural light be functional for you and your family? Is there enough natural light or will you need to add more? How many people will be using the room on a regular basis and how many are apt to be using it at the same time? Is the room large enough for the main activities?

These are some of the most essential questions that need to be decided first. Before you do anything, you want to know if any of the physical aspects of the room need to be changed, and if any of them can be changed in the first place. Is the room ornate architecturally or are the lines clean and straight? Do you want a contemporary room or will the room need molding and detailing to give it the character you want? Does it have a good view? Do you want to bring the view into the room in any way? Does the outdoors inspire any thoughts about changes to the inside? What is the condition of the room? Are the walls and floor in excellent condition or do you need to make some alterations or changes?

Having said all of that, if you want to get right to the crux - Does the room have a natural focal point? Do you need to create a focal point with a piece of furniture, an area rug, a fabulous work of art? Before you can successfully proceed, you must determine the focal point of the room. By arranging your main seating around that, you have begun the process of decorating the room in a sensible manner. After that the function of the room becomes all important and you will find that it all starts to fit together nicely.

Typical focal points are: fireplace, TV, large window, area rug, large work of art. In the picture above, a unique artistic wall ornament dresses up this room's natural focal point, the fireplace.

Since the TV has come to be such a prominent and very typical focal point in a living room or family room, try to make it as appealing to the eye as possible. You can do this by encasing it in an entertainment center and by blending the color (usually black) into the room by placing other black items near it and perhaps even painting a segment of the wall behind it black. I always try to put the associated electronics, such as VCR, DVD, stereo and so forth as close to the TV as possible. The last thing you want to do is have some of these items scattered about the room. Put them together and try to make them feel part of the room, rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.

In the winter, we usually have our fireplace lit on cold nights. But during the spring, summer and fall, I will most definitely dress up this very typical focal point with either plants, candles, a floral bouquet or a decorative screen. My daughter made me a wooden screen which I designed and it resides in our family room. Easy to remove, the screen adds an added decorative element to that part of the room that otherwise would not be very appealing and it wonderfully hides the ashes that haven't been cleaned out entirely.

You can even change your room's focal point during the warmer months, perhaps to take advantage of a blooming garden, a display of your most treasured collectibles or just to have a change of pace.

Spring and summer are also great times of the year to trade out furniture from one room to another for a change. If your color palette throughout your home does not vary a great deal, you will find it easy to swap furniture and accessories from one room to another. It's like buying them all new again! Yes, it's a lot of work, but you'd be amazed at how much more you will enjoy your home if you change it around from time to time. This also helps to preserve fine wood furniture. You don't want it to get too much sun, all on one side.

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