Chapter 1: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
The most important home décor tip is to remember that this is your home, your personal space, and your sanctuary. It is you that the home must please! It really doesn't matter what a visitor or decorator might think or suggest, or what fashion trends might indicate. What styles comfort you? What art inspires you? What colors welcome you? These are the questions to answer.
Within the framework of your own home décor preferences, continuity generally helps increase the comfort quotient, regardless of style. Colors, styles, and themes should ideally work in harmony with each other -- at least that is the safest bet!
Depending on the amount of space with which you have to work, consider that less can indeed be more. Uncluttered spaces provide a mental breather, helping us relax and unwind. On the other hand, even a home filled to the rafters with cherished art, accoutrements, and memorabilia can appear welcoming and comfortable as long as colors, styles, and themes share an overall sense of continuity.
The architecture of your home or apartment may be Spanish, Mediterranean, Craftsman, Victorian, Tudor, Ranch, Colonial, Contemporary, Southwestern, Historic, Modern, or any of a wide range of other possible styles. Many home decorators select furniture and home décor designed specifically to match such particular styles of architecture. This can work well, since the overall look will certainly be harmonious -- and ideally, to begin with, you've selected an architectural style that indeed brings you visual comfort and reflects your own preferred sense of style.
Selecting furniture and décor to match a specific architectural style is an easy way to decorate, particularly when shopping online, since many manufacturers and artisans describe their offerings according to architectural type. Your local Public Library is likely a great nearby resource to help you get started, offering a wealth of excellent architecture and décor books that showcase specific architectural styles with corresponding furnishings.
If your goal, however, is to furnish and decorate your home with considerable personal flair, you'll be glad to know that a wide range of themes often work well with specific architectural styles. For example, simple, handcrafted, rustic furniture and home décor tends to work beautifully with almost any style of architecture, ranging from Mediterranean to Craftsman to Historic. Within the rustic handmade category, hand-carved wood and hand-tooled leather are wonderfully compatible materials, with warming, relaxing, and inviting tendencies. This style likewise can help beautify even the most nondescript architecture, turning a basic contemporary home, dorm room, or office, into a homier, more alluring place.
If you've chosen a Modern-themed building or loft space, décor with a sense of simplicity -- even sculptured steel or simple wrought iron -- might best match your personal sense of comfort and esthetic. A minimal array of bright, eclectic colors can work well to highlight and cheer such austere spaces. On the other hand, neutral and even steely tones are another compatible option, cultivating a sense of elegance and fashionable sophistication.
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