How to Decorate Step 1: Research

Decorating is tough enough as it is without going into it blind.  So, start with some research and you’ll be ahead of the game right from the start.

You know, research is step one in just about any project you tackle around the house. It’s always best to be armed with the latest information when it comes to doing projects in your home that are going to cost some major dollars. Decorating is no different. Matt and I do research every time we start a decorating project. This is the time to gather information about what style you are interested in as well as what materials are new and what new techniques might make your job easier. If you are planning on using outside help, this is a good time to start asking around for references and checking out the quality of their work.

Decorating101-2Magazines and Catalogs

One of my favorite ways to research my decorating projects is to scour through magazines and catalogs. I purchase the magazines specifically for this purpose so I don’t feel bad about ripping them apart. And of course, the catalogs come to my home automatically and I’m happy to tear those apart and send what’s left to the recycle bin.

So, with some time to think, and a comfy chair, start paging through, looking for pictures that are inviting, rooms you’d love to be in, and colors that make you sing! Once you’ve gone through them all, take a look at each of the photos and determine what it is about the rooms that intrigues you. Is it the colors? The materials? The style?

This is a great first step to determining how your finished room will look, and how different it is from what you already have. This gives you clues into the budget you might need to get the look you want and how much time you will have to invest to shop, select, and do all the projects! 

Visit Furniture Showrooms

Furniture Showrooms are wonderful places to get the creative juices flowing.  Plus, if you really are looking to replace pieces of furniture, you just might come across something that becomes a part of your inspiration for the room.  If a sofa, chair, lamp, or whatever jumps out at you and you just have to have it, it must mean you are on the right track – get it and keep going!!

Decorating101-3Visit Model Homes

Now that’s just one way to do your research, another great idea is to visit model homes in your area. Many builders will hire interior designers to dress their homes. This is a great opportunity to learn about the talents of the designers in your area and also get an idea of the colors and styles they think are trendy. If you feel comfortable with a particular designer’s style, pick up a business card. The designer may be able to help you find one-of-a-kind pieces and give you some good advice throughout your project for a consultation fee.

The Internet

If you’d rather stay home to do your research, get onto the internet and ride the decorating express! There is so much information out there it can get confusing, but stick to designer’s you know, like Matt and me and stores you’ve shopped in before. This way you know you feel comfortable with their quality, workmanship and pricing.

I work with clients using ideas they have collected from sites like and pinterest.  They connect me with their folders or boards and it helps me get a clearer picture of what they are looking for.


And last but certainly not least, check out your TV set. Heaven knows there are hundreds of decorating shows out there that are chock full ideas. You might want to check out out TV Listings page to see when our show Around the House with Matt and Shari is airing in your neighborhood!

Just remember, with your research behind you, you are better able to begin the process of budgeting, shopping, and creating your dream!


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