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A clean slate. How often have we longed for one only to find ourselves frozen with indecision when it faces us? The enviable dilemma of how to decorate a room from scratch can be fun, but it can also present so many options that frustration surpasses enjoyment. Follow a few guidelines to help the process go more smoothly.
Start by gathering inspiration: images of homes you like, spec sheets for pieces you must use, fashion or travel photos that reflect a particular mood, textile swatches you've acquired, the list goes on. Pinterest is a popular resource for this activity, but don't discredit the power of a bulletin board or binder; it will make your vision feel more immediate.
Once you've narrowed down your aesthetic points of reference, choose a few evocative key words you can call upon when making purchasing decisions. It will be easier to leave that bargain brass owl on the shelf by reminding yourself it doesn't fit your 'Warhol In Paris' scheme.
While you're thinking about how you want the room to look and feel, keep in mind the constraints and needs you cannot change. How big is the room? Is it an odd shape? Where are architectural features like doors and windows placed? How does the light shift throughout the day? Will you be reading, dining, entertaining, relaxing here?
Answers to questions like these will determine where you need to place seating, tables, light fixtures, storage, and all the other items in the room that are not merely decorative but that make the space livable.
When you're ready to start bringing in large elements, think not only about functional furniture but also the room's 'envelope'—and consider the ceiling and the floor as part of this equation.
Elements like these foster a dynamic sensibility that goes beyond just design and into the realm of style.
Finally, resist the urge to decorate the entire space at once. Granted, there are some pieces you'll want to get right away, but in general, time, patience, and an open mind are your best friends in this journey. Think of yourself not as completing the room but rather as collecting and tinkering with your decor indefinitely. This mindset takes the pressure off, allows you to relax, and enables your design vision to evolve as your taste changes over the years. (Until you move, of course, and it's time to figure out how to decorate a room from scratch again!)
Images: Lamps Plus Guest Blogging Pinterest
Anne Sage is a design and lifestyle editor based in San Francisco. Her daily interiors and fashion blog The City Sage was named a must-read by Martha Stewart Living, and she was featured in the New York Times for her co-founding of the online shelter publication Rue Magazine. She also works as a stylist and art director for brands such as Target and Anthropologie.
In her spare time, Anne is most likely to be found color coding the books on her vintage Paul McCobb shelving unit.
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