DIY Decorating Ideas

The “Do’s and Don’ts” of DIY Decorating

DIY Design Series

Do you want your home to be creative and reflect your personality, your passion, your pizzaz?

Read on for “The Dos & Don’ts” of DIY decorating. Embrace your style!

                1. Don’t Shop at one upscale home furnishing chain store!

It’s safe to say we all love the look of Pottery Barn, Boston Interiors, West Elm, and upscale home furnishing stores. The style, selection, availability, and convenience all make these easy options to decorate your entire home with. If everything in your home replicates what is in the store, it does not show who you are and how you want your family and friends to feel when they come to sit with you and enjoy time together. As a designer, decorator, stager, I choose not to buy furniture at any one store.

                 2.   Do Embark on a design exploration.

Too many young families rely on someone else’s taste to decorate their home. With some education and exploration, you can design your own room from several sources.

First gather your information. It takes time to gather a collection of furnishings for a room when you go to several sources. But don’t rush! Try not to get into a comfort zone feeling the need to have your home decorated quickly. If you want your house to look different from everyone else’s home, make it personal, make it yours by furnishing it with furniture, lamps and accessories that says who you are. Be creative.

                   3. Do Start with Ideas

How do I get started with designing my own space? “But I don’t know how”, you might say. Well, I will give you a few simple ideas to create your own space that shows your personality and separates you from your friends and neighbors.  There are some guidelines that can offer ideas. One is the 60-30-10 Rule which you can see here.

Showing your own style does not mean you need to spend a lot of money on the most revered interior designer. Their creative and unique styles can be seen and studied in magazines. I love decorating magazines. It is one of my treasured pastimes. It is where I find the decorating ideas that work for me.

Some of my favorites range from Veranda and Architectural Digest to Domino, Elle Décor, House Beautiful, House and Garden, English Home, Traditional Home and Country Home.

I enjoy walking though Renovation Hardware and Ikea. I love Ethan Allan and Pottery Barn (yes, I look!). West Elm and Johnathan Adler have fun, contemporary ideas. Anthropologie has some of the most eclectic and fun furnishings. One of my favorite stores is Home Goods. And I might mix and match from each store. But I will not buy a set of anything except for dining chairs. Yet, even dining chairs do not need to match to create a great look!

Everything need not be the same style or period.  That does not necessarily make for good design. Good design is more like a piece of music. One goal is to have a harmony that you decide on, with your budget and with your colors.

                  4. Do Embrace Your Style & Taste

John Rosselli and Bunny Williams have become famous for their design. They are high on my list of fabulous designers.  But what makes them famous is that they introduced ideas on how to create your own style and story. They explain the thought process is behind their design. Their rooms are inviting, handsome and comfortable. You want to be in that room for a reason. It might be the fabric or painting or windows that makes it special or the combination of all the decorating elements. offers combinations of fabrics and wallpapers that are coordinated to create a look within one company.

Sister Parish also had the same philosophy. She had a unique style and tried to bring great design without a huge decorating budget. Yet her style was so revered, she went on to design the White House for Jackie Kennedy. Her granddaughter and great granddaughter follow in her footsteps with a unique and beautiful line of fabrics and wallpapers under the name of Sister Parish.

Another wonderful example of designers with a flair is a design company called Madcap Cottage. They say they are full of whimsy and fun design. They create their own fabrics and have a special flair for adding unique touches to a room. I especially love their painted floors!

                      5. Don’t Spend A Fortune

Find unique accessories that show who you are. You can go to thrift shops and find great things online as well to bring something unique and different to your home that shows who you are and what your interests are presently. I love thrift shops. Many churches have them. I think they are often the best! I find old plates that I often hang on the wall, fun paintings in great frames, old serving dishes from around the world, bird cages and baskets too. These will make your home warm and inviting.

                      6. Do Take Sage Advice

Years ago, I was a home stager. I redecorated homes that were going on the market for sale. About half of the homes I redecorated to bring them to a more sophisticated level by replacing a few pieces of furniture or a rug. Sometimes they were builder’s homes that were large and needed furnishings to help people understand the perspective and size of the room.  Some of the finds from the thrift shops, whether they were antiques or pretty plates enhanced the rooms. It was a lot of work and took a lot of inventory, but it was a great business.

I will do a separate piece on staging a home.

Look at some of the websites below and see the difference in the styles. These companies present great style. Your budget can be small to large. Make it as you wish!