Basic Interior Decorating 101 Tips for a Decorating Beginner
I believe that anything can be considered “decorated” as long as it has been strategically placed and enjoyable to YOUR eye — not mine, not the decorating magazine, but YOUR personal taste.
There is a science to much of the decorating you see. A lot of it includes much more than someone thinking it looked good in a particular spot! That persona actually plans, maps, and measures the ideal spots and makes a judgement call based on what they find.
You may or may not be aware of this, but MUCH of decorating is an illusion. Meaning, objects are strategically placed in a position that make something appear to the eye that isn’t actually there. This is why I love decorating so much is because I use these tips to create illusions in my home to distract the eye from problems that I don’t want a guest to notice!
Here are a couple basic decorating tips that are (for the most part) universal for all styles.
Interior decorating 101 tip #1: Curtain Rod height
This is extremely important in creating the illusion of ceiling height and space in your home. The standard curtain rod height is 4″ to 6″ above the window frame so try mounting your curtain rod 8″ above the frame to create the illusion of height, installing as close to the ceiling as possible.
The standard curtain rod width is 3″ passed the window frame on either side. To create a wider looking window, install your rod 4″ to 6″ passed the frame. Floor length curtains should either just touch the ground or be around 1/2″ from the ground.
Interior decorating 101 tip #2: Use of lines in your decorating
Use lines as another way to make a space feel taller, wider, shorter, skinnier. For example, vertical lines tend to make a room look taller but skinnier.
Horizontal lines tend to make a room look wider but shorter. Use horizontal lines if you need your space to look wider but already have high ceilings and use vertical lines if you want to make your ceilings look higher.
Interior decorating 101 tip #3: Choosing the Right Colors
It might sound crazy to you, but there is a psychology to colors.
I will list off the general psychology for the main colors.
Red: Passion, love, sexy, elegance, power, strength
Blue: Peace, tranquility, harmony, healing, trust
Yellow: Energy, happy, positive, joyful, hot
Green: Life, growth, positive, energy
Purple: Rich, Spiritual, Artistic, Eccentric
White: Goodness, freshness, purity, clean (I couldn’t make the word “white” white for obvious reasons)
Black: Powerful, elegant, sophisticated
Makes sense, right? Because green reminds us of grass and the growth outside. Yellow reminds us of light and the sun. Purple was used as a royal, rich color in ancient times. White is spotless and clean. Black is very bold and therefore powerful. Blue reminds me of water and the light ripple effect.
So choose your colors wisely.
Reds, purples, and blues tend to be a better color choice for bedrooms because it encourages love, tranquility, or richness.
White and black are often colors used in foyers, dining rooms, and the front room (not family room) because these colors give the impression of richness, elegance, and power.
An exercise room or family room are good options for yellows and orange because those colors encourage physical energy and being awake.
And that is a VERY basic science of color psychology.
Interior decorating tip #4: Lack of Natural Light
This can be a fairly large problems for many families. In a case like mine, my home is a small rental home with many halls and few winders. Other times it can be just the lack of appropriately placed windows that catch a lot of sun. Either way, there are solutions to help the lighting problem.
Mirrors bounce light into other spaces. This is an old trick “in the book”. Strategically place a mirror in a spot that can bounce light into dark sections of your space.
I have a mirror above my couch in the family room and it does a great job in catching the light from our window and placing it in the dark corner on the other side of the room.
A light color scheme can also make a place look and feel lighter. Light colors are more likely to “reflect” light while dark colors “soak” light.
Avoiding dark, thick curtains will also do the trick. They look weighty and make the room appear much darker and smaller. Always use light, breezy fabric to make a room appear lighter and larger.
Think white curtains blowing in the wind in your beautiful bungalow at the Bahamas.
If you would like to learn more about basic interior decorating 101 tips, sign up for my free course Five Lessons For Discovering a More Creative You where I mention this exact post but I also go in detail about how I incorporate my decorating tricks. You can check my course out HERE.