A Beginner’s Guide to Designing the Home of Your Dreams

Lately I’ve been looking at my home with a critical eye.  We’ve been here for 12 years and it has just sort of evolved as I had the time and/or money to tackle different areas.  Some rooms look great, a few are completely neglected (because I could never get a vision for that space), but most are almost but not quite finished because I got stuck.

Stuck picking out a durn rug or figuring out what to hang on the walls like I did here.


Or stuck when I lost steam because I didn’t have the heart to tell my husband that I hated the paint color I had picked out and sworn to love.  Ahem.

And a lot of people get stuck right here.

empty room

I think I’m pretty typical.  There’s not a Decorating 101 class we are infused with when we’re born.  We sort of figure it out.  Or we don’t and we get frustrated.  Or we have an idea in our head and once it’s living in front of us, it doesn’t look right and we don’t know why.

Let me say upfront.  I am not a design expert.  I do have some wonderful designer friends that have let me pick their brains and their ideas are helping me figure out what each room needs.  As I’m prone to do, I started breaking this process down in my head and I came up with a Three Step formula to help you awesome ladies come up with your own design plan and actually implement it.

So let’s get started:

Step One:  The Dreaming Stage – Get a Vision

According to my friend, Mari, you need a concept.  A vision if you will.

My favorite place to get inspired is, of course, Pinterest.  But what if you are starting from ground zero, completely unsure of your style?  Call me old school, but I still love looking through decorating magazines.  They are professionally styled and put together by designers, plus magazine editors know their audience and create glossies full of a certain “look.”  Example, Veranda is a whole ‘nother world from Country Living.

Go to the bookstore and flip through different home magazines until you find images that speak to you.  You’ll begin to notice a recurring theme/style:  traditional, modern, farmhouse, classic, playful, rustic, retro etc.  If you’re flipping and see images that make your heart swoon, buy the magazines!  (They’ll come in handy for our Step 2 assignment!)

Other ways to gather inspiration outside of Pinterest is to visit a Parade of Homes or browse the shops and catalogs of your favorite designers or furniture stores.

Now it’s time for Pinterest.  If you don’t want everyone seeing what you’re scheming, create secret boards for each room you are working on.  Hopefully, you’ve been able to narrow down your style, so type in very specific searches such as, “modern industrial farmhouse kitchen.”  Pin away!  I’ll wait here while you go get lost for awhile. 🙂

Once you have a good selection of images, begin looking through them for a common theme.  What colors are you drawn to?  What mood are you wanting to convey?  Do you see the same style light fixture or tile popping up over and over again?

For simplicity’s sake, we will work on one room at a time, but in this initial dreaming stage go ahead and pin images for other rooms in your home.  This will help you see how the whole house will tie together.  Just make sure that most of your images are for the room you’re planning on tackling first.

Okay ladies, your assignment for this week is to start finding images of rooms that you love using:

  • Pinterest
  • Magazines
  • Design shops
  • Parade of Homes
  • Furniture catalogs

Come back next week for Step 2:  The Planning Stage – Write the Vision.


Hey Paint Friends!  Ever get stuck trying to figure out which paint is best for your furniture make-over? The options can be confusing!  Chalk?  Milk?  Mineral paint?

Sign up below for my FREE step-by-step paint guide that shows you which paint is best for you.  (Hint:  it’s based on what you’re starting with and what you want the end result to be!)

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