Decorating for Dummies 101 - Commandments

The Ten Commandments of
Dummy Design

#1 Do not add something to your home unless it is useful and beautiful. 90% of items should be both.

I picked a strong color in this area because it is fairly small and I can escape it if the color is too strong! Notice the elements I chose to make the entryway function and out boxes, key hooks, closet, mirror, etc...

#2 Pick a color scheme and delineate from it only when you are making a conscious statement.

This is a view of the kitchen from two angles. Even though there is a picture on the fridge and various groceries, etc on the counter, the color scheme still speaks due to the repetition of the colors that have been carried over from the adjacent mudroom and laundry room. The colors coordinate with the rest of the rooms on this floor.

Color Blogsite

#3 Every time you buy something, throw something away.

A drawer full of decorating supplies. Notice how everything coordinates even inside my drawers so that it is easy to create spaces that work together aesthetically.

#4 Don’t buy items that aren’t essential to the way your family lives, even if everyone else has one.

What you "need" to start your home...
The items "everyone" is buying...
For the aspiring Mario Batali...

No changing table...oh my!

#5 Use what you love. Hide or throw away whatever you are apathetic about.

Stu's block toolbox surrounded by his footballs and all-stars! The colors of these items fit within the color scheme of the room, yet they are toys that can be played with!

#6 Steal, Copy and Imitate, then Add, Delete and Finish.

A bookshelf that is still bothering me. I like the 1st and 3rd shelves, but don't know how to fix the middle. I might end up just filling it with books! How novel!

#7 Choose a style, choose a sub style, and keep those in mind whenever you add a piece to your home.

Bold or Safe?
Warm or Cool?
That is your style...

Thick or Thin?
Simple or Complex?
That is your sub style...

The rest is just the icing on the cake...

#8 Learn the difference between what you like and what can work for you.

I love Italian design elements, but cannot decorate my farmhouse as if it is an Italian villa, so I took a piece of Tuscany (the plastered paint color) and put it into one of my favorite spots in the house. It works here because it is a small space that can handle the big color and doesn't step too far outside the style of the rest of the house. Check out more photographs of this space here.

#9 When you want to change your style, start small and start cheap.

I found the leather boxes at Target on clearance, and they were the most expensive part of the this mudroom. They cost around 6 dollars each, so that's about $25...the rest of the room cost about $10 more!! That's IT!

Cheap Projects

#10 If something doesn’t seem quite right in your space, take a picture, evaluate it, then remove something from the space. If you must, add something.

This is the initial view of the computer room. More projects and improvements have been made to help those huge white areas, so check back soon!

The first addition to those white walls was this great framed poster which ended up on the wall above the small table next to the ladder. It is a poster I found at a garage sale for $1. I went through and touched up all of the sketch work in black, painted the frame black and then used a white craft paint to paint all of the blank areas to cover up a bunch of pieces of tape that I couldn't remove. Miller and Paine is an old department store in downtown Lincoln that used to be one of the nicest in town and now no longer exists. It was fun to save a little bit of history and I think it turned out quite well for about $2 total :)

BONUS: If you find something on clearance and it fits your style…buy it and buy it in bulk!