3 Tips for Learning to Design

You many not have schooling in visual design or what you think is a well-developed sense of style. But you can cultivate your own sense of design in order to design your own room.  Here are 3 tips for gaining your own sense of style.

1.  Learn from the best
Every day, there are magazines, television shows, blogs, internet videos and articles written about design.  Generally, they have photos or videos of some of the best design accompanying them.  Take the time to look them over.  If you want to be inspired to do something great, you will want to spend your time reading and looking at the best books, articles, and pictures.  There are a wide variety of sources for interior design tips, from Pinterest to Better Homes and Gardens to a simple Google search.  In many places, there are shows like the Parade of Homes that allow people to wander through model homes.  You can use these opportunities to see what you like and what you don't like.

2.  Learn the basics
Lets face it, design is a lot more subjective than doing a math problem.  But visual design is based on principles that can be learned and used, just like in any other subject of study.  Take the time to find out about the basic principles of design, such as line, symmetry, proportion, contrast, color, etc.  These principles will help you understand what makes a good design, which will help you come up with your own.  You can even look at the RoomDesign lessons here:  http://www.howtodecoratemyhome.net/

3.  Take the time to analyze
So you have found a picture of a room that you like or you have seen someone's house that you love.  What about it do you like?  Why is it that you enjoy that design?  Is it the theme that you like, or the color?  Do you like its uniqueness, or its harmony?  Once you have found designs that draw you in, take the time to figure out what it is about the design that you particularly enjoy.  As you analyze different designs over and over, your own sense of design will evolve and you will be able to come up with your own ideas much easier.  Remember to learn from the best, and your basic knowledge of design principles will help you understand what you are looking at.

Room design can be a fun and rewarding activity. With a little effort, you can learn more about good design and create your own room designs in your own house. 

The Right Living Room For Your Home

For many homes, the living rooms is the most public and most used area of the house. Whether it is used to entertain guests, spend time with the family, or lounge while watching television or reading a good book, living rooms tend to be a natural place for us to gravitate towards. Your use of the living room and the style you decorate it in can vary greatly. Here are a few simple decorating guidelines that can help make your living room become the room you want it to be.

Seat positioning -

When using armchairs and sofas, be mindful of how near or far they are from each other. The living room is a natural place to have relaxed conversations, and as such, it should accommodate this. When placing sofas and chairs, try to make sure that they are always within 8 feet of each other. This will make it easier for people to talk with each other. Place the seats so that they face the room's focal point so people can see and hear everybody else.

Make it cozy, but not too cramped-

While you want the seating close enough to easily communicate, its important that there is enough space for everybody to feel comfortable and not feel stuffy and cramped. Make sure that there are open paths to walk between the pieces of furniture. Walkways of about 2.5 feet (30 inches) can give a nice aisle without making the room feel too spaced out. If you have a coffee table or other furniture in front of the sofa or chairs, you should leave 14-18 inches to allow for comfortable knee space.

Anchoring the furniture -

A great way to give the room a centered feel is by placing a rug in the center of the room. Make sure that it is either large enough for all of the furniture to fit onto it, or small enough that the edges touch the furniture pieces surrounding it. Facing furniture around a focal point, such as a window, television, or fireplace, also helps to achieve this.

Other useful ideas -

  • If space is limited, use nesting tables to save room.

  • Install in-floor electrical outlets to make plug-in access easier and to make the room more flexible when rearranging furniture.
  • If you are not placing a piece of furniture against a wall, make sure that the back is presentable and does not need repair or to be upholstered.
  •  Longer sofas are great for creating more seating space without more furniture.
  • Ottomans make great additional seating and can be moved near a cabinet or table when not being used. Upholstered ottomans can also serve multiple purposes, such as a footstool or extra table.

Use these tips to get started in making a living room that is comfortable and meets your needs, whatever they may be. For other useful decorating tips and methods, visit our website at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net.

Creating Your Perfect Family Room

Since families come in all shapes and sizes, family rooms should too . Whether yours is designed for an exciting night watching the ball game, playing cards with a group of guests, or letting the kids wear themselves out, you can make the perfect family room for your situation. Here are a few ideas that will help you create the room you want and need.

Many family rooms are in the basement, where space is more readily available. Because basements typically lack a lot of natural lighting, it is usually important to have adequate alternatives. Floor lamps are portable and easy to change so they can be a great lighting option. Using colors in your color scheme that reflect light is also a good idea, and can also help to give the family room a lively, energetic look.

Family rooms often are one of the biggest rooms in the house. You might consider breaking the family room into different activity areas. While you might have one area for watching television, another section could include a table for eating that doubles as a great surface to play games or for children to do artwork. Ping pong and pool tables are also a nice addition to a family room. Make sure that if you have an entertainment section you remember to position activity sections in a way that allows traffic to flow behind and around it - this will keep television watchers and gamers from being frequently interrupted.

Because family rooms are typically a very busy room, you need it to be easily cleaned. Slips and covers on couches and sofas are a great way to keep food and drink spills from causing any permanent damage. Options of hardwood or tile floors are a way to make sure floors can be kept neat with little effort. If you choose carpet, select an option that can be easily and quickly cleaned. Use drawers, tubs, bins, and baskets to make sure you have plenty of room for your favorite movies, games, gaming consoles, remotes, blankets, toys, and whatever else you choose to keep in your family room.

You will want to easily accommodate a crowd. Use large couches and sectionals to provide seating for the largest number of people without requiring many pieces of fixed seating.  Bean bags and ottomans are also a great and easy way to provide additional seating that is easy to store, and having a few folding chairs in the closet can be handy as well.

These simple tips will help you create a family room that is capable of serving all the different capacities that you will need it to. Making the “perfect room” can be hard, but by following some of these guidelines, you will have the right room on hand, whatever the occasion is. For more tips and tricks on how to decorate your home, visit our website at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net

Giving Your Living Room A New Look

It isn't too uncommon that we get bitten by the re-decorating bug and have the urge to freshen up the rooms in our home. If you are like most people, though, the bug often bites at inconvenient times when the budget is tight and resources are spread thin. You may have said to yourself, “This room looks old and a fresh, new look would be great...but right now just isn't a good time.” After giving it little more than a wistful thought, you write it off as another impossible dream that just can’t come true any time soon.

The great secret about the dream in this scenario is that it can come true. It can and should have a happy ending. Freshening the look of your living room doesn't have to break the bank. It won’t necessarily cost you a fortune to change things up enough to get a new, refreshing look. Here are a few easy and affordable tips to mix things up and give your living room that fresh, new feel you’re looking for.

Change your couch with a slipcover -

A slipcover is one of the easiest and most affordable way to change the look of your furniture. You can update the color scheme of your entire room by getting a few new covers for your sofas and chairs. This gives you the style benefit of a new set of furniture without a large commitment or cost.

Switch out your throw pillows -

Swapping out your throw pillows is another easy way to mix things up in your living room. You might even even change the pillows with the seasons or during holidays. Throw pillows are an easy and affordable way to regularly give your room a fresh, new look.

Add a rug -

Flooring makes up about 30% of what you see in a room. Adding a rug, whether on a carpet or hardwood floor, will give your room a new floor look and feel without the cost or hassle of actually redoing the entire floor.

Modify your walls -

Painting a single room is a easier and cheaper that painting your entire house. Pick a new color that fits with your current home decor (furniture, rugs, etc) and spice up your room at a reasonable cost. Adding molding or trim can be a little addition that makes a big difference. If you are looking for something a little more bold, paint just one wall and add something new like a painting or clock for a nice focal point.

Swap out your pictures -

An important design element in nearly all living rooms is the pictures. Swapping out some pictures seasonally or with the holidays can create a nice compliment to your other decorations. Switching full color photos for black and white will also help to create a fresh, new look.

These are just a few quick, easy, and affordable tips on how to revamp your living room without breaking the bank. Please share the tips, hints, or thoughts that have worked for. For more ideas about decorating your home, visit our free online lessons at howtodecoratemyhome.net. 

What color should I paint my room?

One of the biggest decisions to make when remodeling or designing your home is the color scheme you will use for each room. The color of the room not only affects the mood that the room creates, but also influences what furniture and decor you will purchase and use in that room. While it is always possible to repaint the rooms in your house, it is much easier to instead begin with color scheme that you enjoy enough to be willing to make other decisions, such as furniture purchases, based upon what you already have. The hardest part of finding the right colors for your home can be knowing where to start, so here are a few ideas for what colors schemes might work for you.

Living Room  -

White or other neutral colors for walls, sofa, and chairs accented by warm or cool colors often work well in living rooms. If the room is used for relaxing and reading, cooler colors will work best. If the room is more commonly used for entertaining and playing games, warmer colors may be a better choice. Just remember that white or light colored carpet and furniture can be hard to keep clean, especially if you have small children.

Bedroom -

Because bedrooms are personal spaces, there can be more flexibility in choosing colors that the user of the bedroom prefers. However, remember that bedrooms should be a relaxing environment, so cooler colors that are calming and peaceful, such as blue and purple, work well.

Children’s Room -

If the children’s room is meant to relaxing, blue and other cool colors are a great choice. If the room is meant to encourage activity and playing, then warm active colors such as red will work well. Keep in mind that bright yellow in large quantities does tend to lead to more fighting among children and siblings, and can lead to baby’s crying more often.

Bathroom -

Tranquil colors including green and blue help to create an inviting atmosphere. White is also a great choice in bathrooms, as it expands the small size of the room and signifies cleanliness. 

Entryways and Hallways -

Neutral colors are often the best choice for hallways and entryways. Colors such as off white and beige can help transition the color from room to room as you move throughout the house.

Dining Room and Kitchen -

Warmer colors that stimulate appetite and conversation are a great choice for kitchens and dining rooms. Red is often a popular color for this reason, but if used in excess can be overpowering. Apricot and other orange tones help to create feelings of enthusiasm and excitement without being as overwhelming.

To learn more about how to use color in decorating your home, visit our free online lessons at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net

How To Decorate Your Home: Tips on Accessorizing

The best way to give your home a personal flair that is uniquely you is accessorizing. Accessories are the finishing touches that make your a house feel like a home. Home decorating accessories include everything from plants, lamps, pictures, paintings, and pillows. You can add almost anything else to give your home a touch of your personality. Here are several basic ideas that can help you to get started in decorating your home.

Grouping –

When you use a collection of items, it typically works best to keep them together as a grouping instead of spreading them out as individual pieces. Curio cabinets and sofa tables are often used to display collections. You should considering grouping your collections in odd numbers (3, 5, 7). Whether you hang your decorations, or place them on shelves, spacing them out at varying heights is a great way to create a more dynamic look.

Here are a few examples of how  grouping accessories together can work.


Throw Pillows –

Throw pillows are one of the most common accessories used in home decorating. They can be a fun and easy way to add a splash of color and fun to any room. Throw pillows are a great accessory because they are easily replaced, and can be changed out for special occasions, or seasons and holidays. Be sure to consider the style and color of your room when you are looking for new or additional pillows to use.

Area Rugs –

Area rugs can help define a space and help pull it together through color and texture. They tend to be the “show offs” of room accessories, and add design, mood, and pattern to a room. They are extremely useful in establishing a style to the room that other accessories can support. Placing area rugs at an angle, or angling a sofa or other furniture across a corner of a rug can help add excitement to your room.

Wall Hangings –

Wall hangings and framed art are popular accessory in most homes. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you generally want wall hangings to take an entire space. A small hanging or framed art piece on a large wall leaves the wall looking disproportionate and naked. When placing wall hangings, it is best to start at eye level and adjust up or down as needed. If you are hanging a collection of hangings or art pieces, make sure to leave at least 4-6 inches, so the pictures don’t look cluttered.

There are an infinite number of things to accessorize your home with and just as many ways to use them. These tips are a few basic ideas in how to get started in decorating your home. For more ideas on ways to decorate your home, visit www.howtodecoratemyhome.net.

How To Create A Focal Point

When beginning to decorate a room, you may have so many ideas of things you want to do that finding a place to start can be difficult. How many chairs should the room have? Should the floor be bare, or would a rug add a nice touch? Are end tables necessary, or will they just clutter up the room? Can I just use the items I have or do I need to start over? 

These concerns, and many more just like them are questions that will surely come up. So, where should you start? The first thing the decorator must consider is the room’s focal point. The focal point is the place where the eye first comes to rest when entering the room. It can be anything that the design of the room is built around and draws attention. Focal points can be made to include almost anything, varying in size and type.It may be a piece of furniture, or it may be the architecture including a fireplace, a piano, or a tall, antique armoire — or even a spectacular window view. In many homes the television is the focal point.

Every room can and should have a focal point. From the kitchen, to the den, to the bedroom, there are an infinite number of ways create a place or item that works as a “center” for the room.
Rugs, mirrors, and chests can make great focal points in halls and entryways. Bathrooms can use mirrors and cabinets to make even the most simple room feel inviting and comfortable. Entertainment centers and bookshelves be can used as a great foundation to build the rest of your room around in a den or living room.

They key to creating a successful focal point is through drawing attention to it in the way you direct the other furnishings of the room. Make sure that all the accessories and pieces of furniture lead to, and not away from the focal point(s) you have in your room. Place the chairs and other seating furniture around the focal point so that everyone can view and enjoy it.

As you learn to create and use focal points as the anchor of your room design, you will find the balance and feel you desire for you each and every room in your home. You and your guests will enjoy rooms in which you attend to the focal point.

To learn how to find your room’s focal point, as well as other valuable interior decorating ideas, visit our free online lessons at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net

How To Decorate With Color

Have you ever seen a room that is filled with colors you never would have chosen to decorate your own home, yet you loved the way the room looked and felt? Did you find yourself asking,  “How were they able to pull it off using those colors?” Well believe it or not, the decorator of that room didn't randomly pick a few colors, try them out, and wind up pleasantly surprised. Chances are, the decorator was able to effectively decorate the room with colors she loved because she understands and follows the basic principles of color.

It’s helpful to understand 3 basic elements of color when decorating a room.

1) The Psychology of Color - Did you know that colors can work as visual stimulants that affect our mood in ways we may not realize? Aggressive colors such as red, yellow, and orange can stimulate, energize, and help to liven our moods. Passive colors, on the other hand, such as blue, purple, and green can help to calm and relax us.

2) The Color Wheel - The most fundamental tool for understanding how colors can be used in coordination with one another is the color wheel. The primary colors of red, blue, and yellow are the basics of the color wheel, and all other colors are derived from these. Secondary colors of orange, green, and violet are formed when two of the three primary colors are mixed together. Tertiary colors are derived by mixing a primary color with a secondary color, blending them into less vivid colors.

3) Using Color to Create Atmosphere - Understanding the psychology of color and the color wheel can help you to create a unique atmosphere in any room of your home. For example, when decorating a kitchen or family room that is often used for entertaining and socializing with guests, you might consider using the warm or active colors. When decorating a den used for reading or a cozy bedroom, you might chose calm and soothing colors that help you to create an atmosphere conducive to relaxing.

When you understand the basics of colors and how they can be used to influence the atmosphere of your home, you’ll be able to create the exact look and feel you hope to achieve. To learn more about how to use color in decorating your room or home, visit our free lessons at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net.

How To Get Started In Decorating Your Home

The way you choose to decorate your home is an extension of yourself - an outward expression of your personality. For some people, the ability to translate their personality through modifying their surroundings seems almost second nature. They instinctively know how to combine colors and styles in a way that reflects their individual tastes and preferences. For most people, however, it can be difficult to know where to start. While many may know what colors they find aesthetically pleasing or that they like the look of a particular sofa or armchair, knowing how to combine all of the elements of room design into a cohesive whole can seem overwhelming. If you seem to struggle knowing how to get going, here are a few simple starting points that may help you in your attempt to design a home in a way that is uniquely you.

Set A Deadline  - With so many options available to you in how you decide to decorate your room or home, projects can be endless in their nature and quantity. Whether for a single room or your entire home, pick a date by which you hope to have your project completed. Failing to do so can culminate in an unending series of run-on projects.

Set A Budget - Just as projects can go on and on if you don’t set a limit, the amount of money you spend decorating your home can be infinite. Set a budget early in the decorating process to give yourself reasonable parameters in your home decorating initiative.

Prioritize Your Projects - Whether you are working on a single room or your entire home, pick your priorities. It can be so easy to get lost in a myriad of rooms and aspects of home design, often leading to an overwhelming sense of “too much to do”. Focus on the rooms that you are most important to you (often the rooms that are most commonly used, especially when entertaining guests), and work your way through each part of your project systematically.  

Learn The Basics - Understanding a few key elements of room design can go a long way in effectively decorating your home. Knowing how to apply the basics of color schemes, design styles, and simple concepts such as focal points and spacing can give you a great place to start in planning any room. For a great resource on the basics of home decorating, color, and style try our free online lessons at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net.

Coordinate - If you live by yourself, then designing and decorating a room or home primarily affects one person: you. However, most people live with others - roommates, a significant other, or family members. Make sure that your plans to design and decorate your home are also in sync with what others who share your residence want as well.

While there are endless tips and suggestions when it comes to home decorating, these simple steps are a great place to start. To learn additional hints, tips, and principles, visit our free online courses on home decorating at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net.

You Can Buy the Iron Man Mansion

I know I'm a little slow on this blog, but lately I've been thinking about the Iron Man 3 movie. I suppose that by now everyone’s already seen it. My wife’s got a strange crush on that Robert Downey Jr. guy so I secretly got tickets so we could see it on opening night.

For some reason I am always sleepy. I can fall asleep anytime and anywhere. I’ve always joked that when I take a job as a movie critic I’ll stop the practice of using stars to rate the movies. Instead, I’m going to use eyes. A movie can either have two open eyes, two closed eyes, or one eye open and one eye closed. Iron Man 3 receives two open eyes. because I stayed awake through the entire movie. (The Coke Zero and popcorn helped a bit, I’m sure).

Motovo, (a real estate site) posted a listing for the mansion. Obviously,it’s just a joke, but the ad they’ve written seems pretty real and is fun to read:

This luxurious, modern-designed estate offers a breathtaking view of Dume Cove. The previous home of billionaire Tony Stark, and his not-so-secret identity, Iron Man, this expansive home includes 25,000 square feet of living space that is perfect for hosting lavish gatherings. As one would expect from a technology magnate, the Iron Man House is wired with state-of-the-art gadgets to make modern living as painless as possible. For the gearhead in the family, there is an expansive garage and workshop. Also included are marking from Iron Man’s tumultuous career.

You can see the entire ad at http://www.movoto.com/real-estate/homes-for-sale/CA/Malibu/tony-stark-mansion.htm

If you really want to become a home decorator who knows her/his stuff, you should consider visiting our free website, www.howtodecoratemyhome.net. At no charge you can use lessons that teach principles of art, color, accessorizing and more. Come check it out and then tell your friends. They’ll be glad you did.

Laundry with Sarah Palin

My wife hates doing the laundry, so we have a little arrangement thats worked very well for us. She washes the clothes, I fold them, and the kids collect their own clean clothes and put them away. (It’s amazing how many shirts an 11 year old boy can go through in a week.)

I don’t mind folding. I stand at the side of our bed so I have a large area to work on. I make piles of shirts and pants and everything else. I try to sort them by person, but quite frankly there are lots of clothes that I can’t place with anyone in particular. Fortunately, my wife and kids know what belongs to them.

The best thing about folding though is that I get to watch something on Netflix. I usually try to make the time more productive by watching a documentary. Well, this morning I watched Sarah Palin. The Undefeated.

Have you seen pictures of the inside of her home? I liked seeing that her home looks a little like our home. It looks like a home that a family can actually live in. Too many of the homes I see in decorating books and on decorating programs don’t seem family friendly. They are certainly beautiful, but they don’t seem very functional.

If you really want to become a home decorator who knows her/his stuff, you should consider visiting our free website, www.howtodecoratemyhome.net. At no charge you can use lessons that teach principles of art, color, accessorizing and more. Come check it out and then tell your friends. They’ll be glad you did.

My Mother's Home

One of the special things I remember about my mother is that she had a wonderful ability to make our home look great. When I was younger I thought every mom knew how to decorate and make a house become a home. I didn’t know that my mom was special. Sure, everyone who came into our home expressed compliments, but I always thought they said nice things about every home they visited. It wasn’t until I started venturing out with friends that I discovered that our home was different.

At some point I came to recognize that mom knew how to decorate because she read and learned to decorate. Maybe you know Miranda Lambert’s song, The House that Built Me. Well, the song could surely have been written about my mom and dad, and our home.

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From Better Homes and Garden magazine
Plans were drawn and concrete poured and
Nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama’s dream

The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert on Grooveshark

If you really want to become a decorator who knows her/his stuff, you should consider visiting our free website, www.howtodecoratemyhome.net. At no charge you can use lessons that teach principles of art, color, accessorizing and more. Come check it out and then tell your friends. They’ll be glad you did.

We're Hooked on Downton Abbey

So I’m hooked on Downton Abbey. My wife and I love to sneak away from the kids every week to watch each and every episode on the big screen. We didn’t catch the wave until the end of the second season so we had to watch those on Netflix. We were in a panic when we discovered that Netflix only had the first season. We wondered how we would get our fix. Thank goodness for Hulu Plus. We saw season two and were able to catch up with the rest of the world.

Well, we’ve talked many times about the reasons we’re so addicted. Is it the awesome English accents and wonderful United Kingdom location? Maybe it’s all the beautiful people and their perfect clothing. There is certainly something to be said about the post-Edwardian era stories. One of the most intriguing elements of the show has to be the Yorkshire country estate which is Downton Abbey. (Its real name is Highclere Castle).

Downton Abbey appears to be perfect, inside and out. Each floor is covered with a beautiful rug. I don’t know the origin of each Downton Abbey rug, but I can only imagine that they include Turkish rugs, Kilim rugs, Persian rugs and so on. The walls are covered in wonderful paper. Everything looks to be in the right place. English houses don’t necessarily have an absolute style, but this house is so well put together that it has it’s own style.

You can learn the principles of home design and interior decorating with our free lessons at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net

The Power of Color

A couple of months ago we decided it was time to replace the two sofas in our family room. Our kids and their friends had pretty well worn them right out.

We browsed through a few furniture stores, found what we liked, and ordered our two new sofas. Wouldn't you know... they were too large and wouldn't fit through the doors - dang! We had to go back out and find another set of sofas.

A couple of weeks later the new sofas were delivered and they actually fit - yeehaw! I shouldn’t have been surprised when my wife announced that she needed to find a bunch of new pillows for each of the sofas. She said we needed the “fun colored” pillows to help the sofas feel more inviting. The colors would tie the sofas to the paint, the carpeting, and the rest of the room’s furnishings.

Bingo. The reaction from friends and family confirms that she was exactly right. We’ve even had a few people ask if they could copy us and buy the same sofas and pillows for their home. It’s pretty clear... the “fun colored” pillows made the sofas, and the room come alive.

You can learn the principles of home design and interior decorating with our free lessons at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net


After years of teaching furniture sales, the art of home decorating, and room design, we've developed a free course for the consumer market. It recently occurred to us that everyone should have access to the same principles of design that work so well for interior designers and furniture salespeople. You can now use the lessons free of charge anytime you want, as often as you want by visiting www.howtodecoratemyhome.net

Whether you're  planning to remodel a single room, or your entire house, the task can feel overwhelming. The lessons in How to Decorate My Home will teach you all the skills you need to feel good about your project.​

There are three topics with 11 free, fun, easy, and interesting lessons:

Design Basics
  • The Purpose of Home Decorating
  • The Basic Elements of Room Decorating
  • How to Apply the Elements of Room Decorating
  • How to Select the Right Furnishings and Furniture

Color Lessons
  • The Psychology of Color
  • How to Use the Color Wheel
  • How to Use Color in Your Home

Design Style
  • What's Your Style
  • Accessorizing Your Room
  • Arrange Your Room
  • Draw Your Room Plan
You can learn the principles of home design and interior decorating with our free lessons at www.howtodecoratemyhome.net.