Home & Garden

my top 5 favorite decorating tips

Hear my top 5 favorite decorating tips I use in my home. Practical and easy, these tips will serve you well in your next decorating project.

An updated cottage bathroom has gold hardware, a Miss Mustard Seed landscape art print, and a vintage-style art fixture.

Today, I decided I wanted to share my top five favorite decorating tips. Maybe you’ve been struggling with decorating your own home or are getting a headstart to an approaching decorating project. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

I haven’t always had a sophisticated decorating approach. When I was younger, I would usually just buy what I thought was cute or what was the current rage. And to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with doing these things sometimes. But you shouldn’t rely on these methods solely.

Decorating takes practice. It takes a sense of creativity, but functionality also needs to be factored in or your home can quickly turn into a collection of random pieces just getting stacked on top of one another. 

Decorating combines different colors, textures and even scents. It considers the overall style of your home, the age of your home, and your current budget. Lots to consider!

But that doesn’t mean it needs to feel intimidating…

I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned over the years and especially through our own home renovation/redecorating journey. Really, basic decorating doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are my top five favorite decorating tips that anyone can use in their own home.

  1. Consider the age of your home for period appropriate pieces
  2. Use natural elements to offset costs and keep it simple
  3. Learn how to create & use different color palettes
  4. Blend different styles together for truly one-of-a-kind flair
  5. Create collections within your home over time

1. Consider the age of your home for period appropriate pieces

This isn’t to say that you can’t use decor that was made or common in a different era of your home. But let’s be honest, what looks better in an early 1900s Arts and Crafts Bungalow? Off-the-shelf decor from Target that everyone and their mom owns or vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces found at an antique or thrift store? 

It’s perfectly fine to combine the two, of course, but I like to focus more on older pieces or at least vintage-style pieces that complement the older age, structure, and natural style of my home since it is over 65 years old. Everything ends up truly looking like it belongs there this way, too. 

A tv stand has a wicker basket, a pink jar, a blue candle, and a photo on it.

If you’re not careful, some pieces that just don’t belong can look really misplaced and even downright wrong in certain spaces. This creates awkward and weird rooms and spaces, which is what we want to avoid. That can result in a really inauthentic look. You want your home to look curated for the home you have, instead of trying to make it something that it’s not. (That being said, I have seen some amazing builder grade homes that people have “taken back in time” by making ceiling, floor, and wall additions, making changes to woodwork, and adding in vintage furniture and decor. That kind of work takes way more than just decorating to transform, though)

Just be mindful. Everything will look so much more authentic if you stick to shopping with this tip in mind. 

2. Use natural elements to offset costs and keep it simple

This is one of my favorites. Especially for younger folks who may not have a lot of spending money to make their home look exactly like Instagram told them to. It’s especially useful if you have a country home style, too. Natural pieces that you gather outside can make a world of a difference in a home and make for so many creative uses.

Here are a few ideas: real eggs used as part of a spring table centerpiece, a bundle of evergreen branches in a vase on a side table during the winter months, flowers cut from your backyard garden or from the side of the road in a jar on the kitchen countertops, or a bowl of pine cones on a coffee table during autumn. 

Pumpkins are added into a fall centerpiece for a layered effect.

Those are just the beginning, too. There are so many ways to decorate with things you find outside. Dig deep with your creativity on this one. You won’t be disappointed, and neither will your wallet.

3. Learn how to create & use different color palettes

This one is essential. It’s good to learn about color combining and how to create your own palettes in order to style an entire home or a room. Color can transform and affect the entire mood of a room. 

Most homeowners these days play it safe and stick to all white, all tan, or all gray in their entire home. Probably because it’s easy or it’s all they know. (Or because that’s what HGTV says is in style this year.) 

If you want to paint your entire home the same color, because you don’t feel you have a creative bone in your body, that’s not exactly wrong either. But it really makes me question if it’s truly worth it if you don’t absolutely love the color all by itself, just as a color, alone. 

Sticking to whites, tans, and grays is safe, but if you’re not absolutely head over heels for it, why waste the time painting every single wall in your entire home that color? 

I’m not saying you can’t stick to neutrals, they are very practical. But try experimenting with other colors, too. Even if you don’t want to paint every room in your home a different color or experiment with slightly brighter or darker colors, try adding in decor that is part of your selected color scheme using some of these other colors. 

Additionally, try painting trim or other woodwork a different color than walls if you decided to stick to a basic neutral. If you absolutely must have white throughout your entire home, think about adding more color to wainscoting, door frames, and baseboards throughout your home. Just learn to experiment with color. 

Color equals personality. It means character. It’s what makes your home unique to you, and ultimately it’s what makes it your home vs looking exactly like everyone else’s on the street.

For more on color palettes, visit this post HERE where I show you some of my current favorite color palettes and walk you through some color combining exercises. 

Fall color palettes are included in a blue, browns, and yellows in a palette.
Color palettes for fall include pastel greens, whites, and oranges.
Fall colors include deep reds, purples, blues, and more.
A color palette for fall includes dark colors.

4. Blend different styles together for truly one-of-a-kind flair

This is one that will really make your home stand out. I love combining different styles to create rooms that can’t be replicated (but can still serve as inspiration) and honor both the home and my personal style. 

For example, in our office (which you can view HERE) I combined both a modern bohemian and my usual cottagecore/vintage style for a fun and energizing environment that I love to work in. 

A boho style office boasts creamy orange walls, a bookcase, world map, and hanging basket light.

Do not be afraid of combining styles. Many already overlap more that you may realize, and oftentimes have even been an inspiration for other similar styles. 

If you’re new to this or don’t like taking risks, try sticking to two very similar styles. If you have an old country home maybe this means combining old-world farmhouse style with a more modern cottage style. You might be surprised by how much some of these similar styles complement one another and play along together quite well….

5. Create collections within your home over time

This one can feel really hard for some people. Especially the ones who just want it done and finished. But my best advice is to collect decor items slowly, over time. Believe me, I can always tell when someone rushed to all the outlet stores and decorated everything all in one weekend vs when someone carefully and slowly collects pieces to add to collections over the course of months or even years. When things look too matchy-matchy (i.e. when you grab every item from the same brand off the shelf at Target), it can look so overwhelming and lack originality.

A dresser is shown with its marble tiles and a head bust on top.

The downside to collecting decor over time: Your home/room won’t be “finished” for some time. But the thing is, you can still appreciate it in the meantime. Finished does not mean it looks bad. It just may mean simpler than you’re used to for a short time. Minimalism is not a bad thing, especially when you are waiting to find the perfect pieces. Those empty corners and tabletops and shelves aren’t dying to be styled right this second. Fill some of them with something you already have on hand if you must. And return to them later when you find exactly what you’re looking for. Patience is a virtue. 

Here’s the upside: Sometimes, changes (even good ones) take time to get used to. If you wait to fill in those last two corners/walls/whatever, you’ll have more time to realize what you truly want and don’t want. You’ll also be better prepared, envisioning exactly where you want decor in your home or how to style it. Your likes and dislikes will become more clear. You’ll discover new ideas from different sources and better articulate what exactly it is that you’re searching for when you wait for that right piece. Be patient.

Also, sometimes we change our mind. Sometimes we don’t always see the perfect piece on the exact weekend we happen to be shopping for all the things to finish decorating. You may not find it for months even… 

Wouldn’t you rather wait for the perfect piece than to commit to and spend money on something subpar for something you just kind of like? Trust me, wait. You’ll know when you’ve found “the one.”

Over time, you might even start creating a collection of similar items and think you’re done only to realize over the next few years that you’re still slowly adding to this collection because you just keep seeing all the missing perfect pieces you didn’t realize you needed… 

Welcome to the art of decorating! It takes time and so much practice. 

You are never really done. Trends will change, new inspiration arises, you hone your skills, you find out your husband hates the color you painted the bedroom (yes, this happens). Life changes, and we just have to learn to shift…

My point is that decorating a home is a journey, not an endpoint. I truly believe this. 

Our homes evolve over time whether we mean for them to or not. We add or take things out of the equation, we master new skills, we realize we hate something we previously liked… Accept this truth and be patient when decorating your home. 

More Decorating Inspiration

Scandinavian Christmas Tree Decorating  

Curate a Cottage Style in Your Home  

Cozy Fall Table Setting  

Everything About the Coastal Grandmother Style  

Cottage Bathroom Refresh  

IKEA Billy Bookcase Styling  

Summer Decorating Ideas  

How to Make a Black and White Gallery Wall  

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