decorating book, bible, interior design

The Decorating Bible
by Rhonda Morin

Step by Step Guide to Decorating
The Home of Your Dreams!

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Chapter 2
I Want What I Want When I Want It,
But What Do I REALLY Want?
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If you are like most people, you know what you want and what you don't want. And that's great! Sometimes, however, we are unable to communicate what it is we want in a way that others are able to understand. Sometimes too we know what we want but we just haven't seen it to know that's what we want.

Have you ever gone shopping for a dress (or suit for our male readers) and been asked if you needed assistance from a salesperson? Your response to them was, "I am just looking but I will know when I see it." You know what you want, but you are either not able to put into terms exactly what you are looking for or you have an idea of what you are looking for, but you just haven't seen it yet.

When you are shopping for items in your home, this kind of shopping can be extremely frustrating. If you don't know what you are looking for, you wander aimlessly searching for things. Sometimes you see something and it may not be the right selection, but you purchase it anyway because you are just exhausted and need to get something.

Once you get it home, you find it doesn't work or you just don't like it and have to return it. What a pain that is!!!

So, how do we determine what we like and dislike, what we want, what we may need and what we really desire? The answer is simple, you need to get clear on all of these things through education before you go out shopping. And that is what this chapter is about, finding your style, discovering your likes and dislikes and gaining the knowledge of knowing what you want and don't want. This chapter is about getting focused.

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Shopping 101
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Lets begin by having you find out what you like and discovering a way for you to communicate that to others.

I want you to go to a bookstore or grocery store and sit with the home and decorating magazines. Begin flipping through them, finding photographs of rooms you really like and appeal to you. Make note of them or set the magazines aside. You can also do this with decorating books but magazines are much less expensive.

As you are searching, you will find things that jump out at you and eventually you will see a pattern emerge of rooms you like and styles that represent the kind of home you want.

Styles are typically grouped into the following basic categories:

  • Traditional (formal, dressy, rich fabrics, cherry wood)
  • Country (antiques, pine, collectibles, cozy warm feeling)
  • Contemporary (clean lines, dramatic)
  • Romantic (soft, elegant, ruffles, lace)
  • Oriental (antiques, dramatic colors, high style)
  • Southwestern (earth tones, textures, artifacts)
  • Transitional or Eclectic (mixes of any style)

Knowing basic style categories will further help define your style preferences.

Purchase a couple of magazines that represented your style so you will have them as reference. It will help you when you are looking for furniture, colors, accessories, etc. later on. This exercise will also help you find a definition to your style.

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The Art of Zen

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Most people surround themselves with things they like. You typically don't buy something that you will not use anywhere. So the next step is looking at what you currently have in your home. Look at the colors, look at "things", and look at the furniture you have.

The exception to this of course is gifts. When others give you gifts, sometimes they buy according to their style and it may not represent YOUR style. Depending on who gave you the gift, you might need to chalk it up and use it or creatively find a way to "donate" it to someone who will appreciate it in his or her style.

You should really sit quietly and look at your rooms. Write down what you like and what you don't like. Write down things you would like to get rid of and things you would like to keep in your home. Write down what kinds of colors you like. Are your current rooms filling that need?

Remain objective and look at it from a different perspective. Remain flexible for change in your thoughts. People change, therefore taste changes. Remain open to that thought as well. You may have had one style your whole life but now you may want something different. Remain open and critical to those thoughts and desires in regards to what you like and dislike about your current surroundings.

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My Family and Home
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Do you entertain a lot? Do you like to read? How many people are in your family? Do all the kids in the neighborhood come to you house? Do you have small children? Do you only entertain a few times a year for family and friends? Do you have large dinner parties with business associates? Do you prefer to have a home where jeans and T-shirts are considered formal wear?

Who are you and how does your home get used? This is an important part of the process because the answers to those questions will determine where you should begin decorating your home.

I have heard designers and decorators say the first room you should always decorate is your master bedroom. The theory is you are in this room the most and therefore it should be a well centered, organized place. If you wake and sleep in a beautiful place, you will be happier.

My argument is that I am awake more in the den or kitchen than I am in my bedroom and I like my public spaces (kitchen, family room, living room, and dining room) to appear pulled together first. This, of course, is based on my lifestyle.

What is your lifestyle?

If you are a person who loves to entertain formally, then you should consider working first on your living room and dining room. If you like to entertain informally with friends and family, work on your family room and kitchen spaces. If you are a cook and everyone congregates to your kitchen, then by all means do that room first. If you are a homebody and just love relaxing in your bedroom, do that room first. If you are a busy professional and are rarely home, then the bedroom theory from above may be the best for you. Typically, you will be in that room more often anyway.

Once you define what areas are most important to have completed first, you will be well on your way to a finished home.

The answer to the question, "what rooms are most important to be finished first," can not be all the rooms! If you set yourself up for that kind of overwhelm, you will not be able to accomplish anything.

I am a micro manager. I see the big overall project and then break it down into smaller bite size projects. It's just like writing this book. I was overwhelmed at first thinking about doing this. So, one day I sat down and asked myself, "if I was going to write a book, what would it be about and what would the chapters be." Next time I thought about it, I asked myself, "what would each chapter discuss or teach." And lastly, I set out to write each chapter. I did not create pressure to have them all finished in one day. I set a schedule and tried to adhere to it. (Incidentally, I wrote the first chapter first. Before every new chapter was written, I would reread that chapter to gain strength and focus for the next chapter.)

If you don't focus on what area first, second and third, you will become very overwhelmed by all the things you need to accomplish. Why do that to yourself? Break it down into smaller pieces and get it done.

Figure out with your lifestyle what rooms are most important to finish first while keeping an overall eye on your whole house. If you see bedding that would work for your master bedroom and its on sale, go ahead and purchase it, but don't then switch focus to that room when you are almost finished with the family room.

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Wrap Up
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Sometimes you need to find an inspiration to jump-start your creative thinking.

In a few client projects, it sometimes helped to find an inspiration for the room. Whether it is a color for the walls, a piece of artwork for the mantel or a swatch of fabric for the sofa, if you are clear on your style and you find your inspiration, the rest will fall into place.

One last thought or possibly advice about styles and decorating is this: STAY AWAY FROM TRENDS!!! Five words to prove my point: avocado green and shag carpet!!! They were both trends and the entire country jumped headfirst into them. Today we have homes that still have shag carpeting and appliances in the avocado color family.

Trends come and go but good classic design stays forever. If you are a trendy person and that is your personality, then by all means decorate your home that way. Just realize that it will go out of style much faster and will require you to decorate more often. If you don't have the budget to decorate every few years, then stay away from trends.

In order to know where you are going, you need to be organized, know what you have at this moment and know where you are going in the next. Our next chapter is all about knowing where to begin, and shoving you head first into the process. See you there....

Copyright, Rhonda Morin, The Decorating Bible, Information on this page may not be copied and may not be used with or without permission.

Copyright 2000-2019. Rhonda Morin
All rights reserved.