How to Decorate A Space

In a not-too-distant past, you could find me looking to decorate a room and I’d be flying by the seat of my pants. Specifically, I would be found in HomeSense (still could – to be fair) picking out every little trinket I liked, hoping it all mashed together nicely in my home. It was less trial and error or making sure something would be cohesive and more Arianna Grande – “I like it, I want it, I got it.”

While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that approach, I started to notice that so many of my items were similar. I never stepped out of my comfort zone or thought outside the box. For the longest time, my style was rustic/industrial/mid-century modern and WOW was there ever a lot of wood elements in my home. I never knew the art of mixing elements, colours, or textures. It’s been enlightening to get to know a different method of decor planning – the key word being planning. I’m excited to share how I’ve learned to decorate spaces with you.

Just have a look at my living room – then vs. now after I’ve started being more thoughtful with my decorating.

How to decorate a space using photoshop and other inspirations - a family room decorated virutally.

My Decorating Design Process

Now, everyone will have a design process that works and resonates with them. If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry, you can copy mine. It’s a simple process that will help guide and help you decorate a space.

When I have a room determined, my very first step is to find spaces that inspire. There is no better place to do this than Pinterest. I create room-specific boards and start pinning away. Once I have a good amount of pins, I start picking apart what elements it is I like about the rooms. Do I like the contrast between the dark rug and lighter furniture? Or maybe I like the range of textures and elements. It could be the tone of the woods, or the throw pillows. I do this for each photo which typically gets me in a great space for the next step in decorating a space: creating a mood board.

How to decorate a space - a mood board of a decorated room

Mood Boards are Critical to Design

If you’re going to skip any of my design process suggestions, don’t let it be the creation of a mood board. I think mood boards are one of the most important steps you can take on when looking to decorate a space. Pull together pieces that you like and are hoping will work together based on what you found in your Pinterest research. Find a rug you want, some furniture, decor pieces, and paint colours. I like to use Canva for this. Canva is generally free but there is also a premium version where you can remove the background of images – which will make your mood board look that much better.

You can stop here – I like to take it one step further and try to plan out my room. You can do this with Canva. Snap a picture of your room and start layering in pieces from your mood board. This will give you a sense of what will and what will not work in your space. My other suggestion would be to make sure you’re taping out or using materials (cardboard boxes, existing decor or furniture items). These will serve as reference points to make sure the scale of what you selected (artwork, furniture, etc.) will work.

Throughout this entire process, there is so much trial and error, changing this out, bringing an item you nixed back in. This is normal and don’t fret if you feel like it wasn’t “right” on the first try.

I find this so helpful for visualizing your design, allows you to have a running list of items you need, and keeps you focused. It helps you waste less money and allows you to comfortably pull the trigger on decor decisions.

how to decorate a space - the before of a family room - a rug that's too small, mis-mashed furniture, etc.
How to decorate a space using photoshop and other inspirations - a family room decorated virutally.

Things to Look For When Decorating a Space

When you’re looking to decorate a space you want to make sure you’re looking at a variety of factors to make something cohesive and interesting: 

  • Scale – does that rug come in the right size? What is the right size even?!. 
  • Texture – is there enough variety? Is everything velvet? Or is everything in the room super smooth? You want some variation to create some visual interest. 
  • Colour – does everything you picked out go together? Does the colour of certain items take away from others? Do we have too many colours involved? 
  • Materiality – is everything wood? Metal? Do you have a few different materials in the room? 
how to decorate a space - the before of a family room with a bookshelf that's too small and rug that's too small
how to decorate a space a family room that has been photoshopped to have some decor in it

Other Considerations When Decorating A Space

Not every space will be easy and cookie-cutter. More often than not, you will come across several challenges. For our family room, I have always been challenged with the extra long wall that the sofa sits against. I think I’ve solved it by breaking up the room into two distinct spaces with varying heights. However, it has taken me three years to get here. That being said, research your problems, read about how others tackle a similar problem to yours and start creating mini layouts to find a potential solution. Trial and error does pay off when you decorate a space as does not settling for just okay! It’s this way that you can create the home of your dreams.

Happy deocrating!