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Decorating 101: The Cheater Formula to Decorating a Blank Room

At the precise moment invisible flu germs were weaseling their way into Andy’s body, I decided to abandon my slothful ways and finally start exercising again. As a result, today we are both lying around, helpless, unable to move our appendages.

So not much is happening on the closet front. Don’t be mad, though. (If anyone should be mad, it’s my kids, whose childhoods are flying by while their parents moan and cry from their respective couches. Today’s survival will come via Sesame Street and leftover macaroni and cheese, knights on white horses to save the day.)

But this is the perfect excuse to talk more about Decorating 101! Remember this series? You’ve committed all my posts to memory as instructed, yes?
How to decorate! Practical tips to beautify your home!

In the last Decorating 101 post, we talked about the biggest decorating mistake: choosing paint colors first.
Put down the paintbrush!  How to avoid the biggest decorating mistake!
When you’re starting with a blank slate room and don’t know which direction to turn, paint seems like the obvious first choice, but it is a deceitful temptress who wants to lead you astray and you must resist its siren song!
Why you should never paint first and what to do instead!
I always kind of wished there was a formula for decorating a room, you know? A quick little process you can walk through to figure out what fabrics or colors would work together. Wouldn’t that be magical? GUESS WHAT. THAT IS HAPPENING. TODAY. IN THIS MOMENT.

I’ll walk you through my little cheater formula to getting started. This whole Decorating 101 series is about the (millions of) mistakes I’ve made while redoing our house, and what I’m learning along the way. I’ve been stuck and confused so many times, and this is what I do to help get myself unstuck.

This is not how everyone designs their rooms, and it’s not “the right way” or “the only way,” but it is “a way,” and if you’re finding yourself stuck and need some direction, this process will give you a plan that you can execute, and it will look pulled-together and thought-out.
How to decorate -- a simple formula to a room you love!

Design by Rafael de Cárdenas via Elle Decor

Or your money back. Because this blog is free.

1. Get chummy with pinterest

Start a pinterest board for your room and pin pictures of other rooms that make your head explode because they’re so good. ONLY stuff that you love is allowed on this board. If you want to crap your pants because it’s so good, it has a place on this board. I would crap my pants about this room, for example.
Bek Design

Bek Designs

But if there’s a room that I think is nice but my pants remain uncrapped, the photo does not get pinned.

Now use this post to analyze your boards and define your style. If you need a good place to start looking for pins, I have lots of room-specific boards on my pinterest account.

2. Set your “feel” words

How do you want this room to feel? Come up with a few buzzwords that describe how you want to feel when you walk in it. Sounds kinda touchy-feely and emotional, but it’s actually super practical. For example, which of these appeal to you the most?

Moody and cozy vs bright and airy?
Soft and relaxing vs bold and vibrant?
Rustic? Plush? Refined? Relaxed? Glam? Soothing? Energizing?

Commit your chosen words to memory and let nothing pass the door of the room that doesn’t contribute to that feeling.
Bright white dining


3. Set your color palette by selecting your “lead”
This is my favorite trick! This is what makes decorating much easier. You’re going to search for one piece that will go in your new room to anchor the whole color scheme: one pillow, or fabric, or rug or art that will be the most colorful thing in the room.

We’ll call this your “lead piece.” (“Lead,” like “leader,” not “lead” like “lead poisoning.” Oh, English language, you untamable beast.) DO NOTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE THIS PIECE. Then, all your color decisions become easier. THIS is why you didn’t paint yet: you needed to select your lead piece first.

I’ll give you some examples that have worked for me. In Mila’s nursery, the first thing I selected was her curtain fabric.

This gets to be the lead piece because it has the most color of anything in her room.

Now, you make all your decisions from your “lead piece.” The walls make the biggest statement in the room, so you’ll select a paint color from your “lead piece” that supports the mood words you just selected. I wanted Mila’s room to feel “fresh,” “happy” and “bright,” so I chose a slightly whiter version of the curtains’ background color. If my describing words had been “bold” or “enveloping,” I might have chosen a more saturated tone like the teal or gold or red. But in order to achieve my “fresh” and “bright” goal, the largest surface of the room (the walls) got a fresh and bright color, while the other colors appeared in small doses everywhere else.

4. Play with patterns
Is your lead piece a large-scale pattern, like the curtains for Mila’s room? Then complement it with something in a smaller scale. Is it a swoopy, organic floral? Pair it with a buttoned-up geometric.

Here’s an easy formula:
Something swoopy or organic + Something geometric + Smaller geometric or solid = complete room.
How to mix patterns and create a room you love

Caitlin Wilson

In Mila’s room, I chose a bold stripe to go with the large-scale floral, and added a smaller-scale geometric fabric which wouldn’t fight with the others.

Now that you have your fabrics/colors/patterns, it’s just a matter of spreading them around the room, and you can handle that, yo. (And textures! We’ll need to talk about that in another post, I think.)

That’s the complete, cheater formula to decorating a whole room.
All rooms are not designed this way. BUT if you’re stuck? If you don’t know where to get started? This little formula will walk you straight from confusion to having a plan, and sometimes just getting things rolling makes all the difference.

Here are a few more examples
My living room design was stuck for YEARS because I had random colors – brown on the couch and blue on the walls – and nothing to pull it all together.

Things got MUCH easier when I settled on a “lead fabric” that gave me direction for everything else. My lead was this jacobean pattern, which has lots of different color options inside it.
Covington Wilmington fabric
It’s a large-scale floral-type print, so I paired it with a geometric in a complementary color on the pillows, and did a chunky stripe on the curtains, and finally I could breathe because I felt like I had a direction.

When you’re browsing pinterest for rooms you love, start looking for the “lead piece.” You won’t find it in every room, but it happens pretty often. Like in this room.
Devon Dyer Design via Glitter Guide

Devon Dyer Design via the Glitter Guide

You can kinda see the whole color scheme probably originated from that floral pillow. They paired it with a large-scale geometric (the rug) and coordinating solids (the couch and other pillow).

The art “leads” in this room. You can tell all the colors came from that art.
How to decorate: creating a plan for a complete, pulled-together room

Lucas Allen Photography via Martha Stewart

This room started with the headboard fabric:
The easy, cheater formula for a pulled-together room

Southern Living Magazine

That killer kilim ottoman was the “lead piece” for this bedroom. Everything in the room relates to it.
How to create a room from scratch: an easy formula anyone can follow!
Glenn Holley’s home via Country Living

Kinda cool, right?

Just for fun, here are a handful of pretty fabrics that would make perfect “leads” to carry a whole room’s color scheme:Easy fabrics you can design a whole room around (and awesome tips for a well-designed room!)

Left to right, top to bottom: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (affiliate links)

Finally!! An actual formula you can follow to create a well-designed room! Easy steps anyone can do!

What’s your process for starting with an empty room? What’s the hardest part for you?

Let's connect


  1. Great post, Kelly! Very practical advice. I enjoy your blog. Thanks!

  2. I love your inspirations and the fabrics. I’m so drawn to your daughter’s nursery fabric. It is so so pretty!

  3. great tips! I will be designing a room around that koi fabric immediately, thanks 🙂

  4. Love this, Kelly! This is exactly how I start a room – one colorful piece and then everything else sort of spills out of that. Took me awhile to get there too, though 🙂

    • Thanks Kelly! I am going to use your formula to freshen my living room. I have my lead fabric on my window treatments and very boring solid and matching pillows on the sofa. I think adding some geometrics pillows will freshen the room…………and maybe a new rug. 🙂

  5. I love this post so much I am hanging paper flyers of it on my community bulletin boards today. Not really, but I am sharing it on FB and Twitter and Pinterest… go YOU.

  6. And in my swoony excitement I typed in my website wrong above.

  7. This is great advice when you need a jumping off point. Love the patterns in your LR 🙂 xo Kristin

  8. “Or your money back. Because this blog is free.”

    Ha ha! I just love that. And also, almost any jacobean print. *sigh of happiness

    I hope you all feel much better very soon!

  9. gahhh you are so smart! you are right, pick the winner of the room and plan around that. it’s so simple….yet it stresses me out sometimes. hope you two are feeling better!!

  10. This helps me so much!! More decorating 101 posts STAT!!

  11. What a fantastic post! This makes everything so much easier!

  12. These are such great tips – I almost always start with rooms I love on a Pinterest board and then find a fabric or “lead piece” (never used that word before – you taught me something). I have foudn that doing it this way almost always makes me happier than starting with paint.

  13. So, the whole thing about pinterest… I think we could just cut out a few steps if you came and decorated my house. Lots of my pinterest pins are from your house. 🙂 Hope you stay free of the germs!

  14. HollowSquirrel says:

    Fantastic post — I see a lot of these types of posts in my blog feed, but yours was well-written, used GREAT examples, and seems achievable!! THANK YOU! I have a feeling I will be returning to this post again and again!!

  15. love this! now that my whole house is somewhat decorated, I’ve found my style. And it turns out my style doesn’t really match how I decorated. Whoops!! I’m working on fixing up my master bedroom first… and my lead piece was some new endtables. They made me love wood tones and textures 🙂

  16. Great tips. Also make sure you have your lead in the room before adding everything else. I planned a huge multipanel art piece for my daughters nursery and based the rest of the room off of it. It took me so long to finish the art I finished the rest of the room first. Even though I had planned the room around the art piece without it in the room I hadn’t made good decisions and it competed with room. Lesson learned for me. Get the statement piece in first!

  17. LOVE this post!

  18. I think the most difficult thing for me is like you commented – finding that inspiration piece and one that I can live with for a while. I find I have decorating A.D.D. as there is something about every style that I just love. The result is that I can’t committ to any one style but I do try find a commonality in what I like and mesh it from there. Thanks for the ideas! Victoria

  19. LOL, Kelly! The “crap my pants standard” is an awesome one! GREAT tips from you, as usual. I have made the mistake of picking a paint color first. I agree that it does not generally end well. In fact, I need to rectify the “situation” in my dining room, which is the LAST room I will ever make the picking paint first mistake in! Any decisions on the giant floral wallpaper/stencil for your closet? I cannot wait to see what you choose!

  20. Great advice! This makes me want to repaint our entire house, lol 😉

  21. Shelley Otto says:

    Great post! I knew the formula and ignored it while redoing my home office. I chose the paint first. I knew it was a mistake but just wanted to push thru my todo list. Needless to say, my office is being painted for the second time in two weeks. Thanks for refocusing my thoughts.

  22. These are lovely tips! I usually pick a wall colour first – but sometimes it’s a piece of furniture or glass that sets off my design. I’m a neutral-gal, so that probably makes that easier!

  23. I couldn’t agree more Kelly- fabric is my fave place to begin. I think it comes from years of obsessively watching every episode of anything that Sarah Richardson ever produced. Love your inspiration fabrics… it has me thinking about spring:)

  24. I love cheating 🙂 Seriously, this is a great formula. Leading with an awesome fabric or key piece is a great way to create a stylish well-compiled look. I also love how you’ve explained this in a fun, easy to follow way. An excellent resource for all!

  25. Thank God I finally heard from you! I thought you up and quit your own blog! So sorry you and Andy don’t feel good, and hoping you both feel better really soon. Like tomorrow soon! I followed this advice you gave when I re-did my bedroom and it worked perfectly! Now feel better already will ya? It’s been lonely out here without your posts to make me laugh!

  26. When I was in 5th grade girls in the Los Angeles school district were finally allowed to wear pants. Crazy huh? My first pair of school worthy pants resembled very much your Jacobean fabric. But they remained uncrapped.

  27. Huh. This is totally what I did, without even realizing it. I picked curtains for my dining room, and then got the rest to go with it. So helpful to see it spelled out like that!

  28. tarheelgirl6 says:

    Kelly, I hope you and your sweetie feel better soon! I’ve been following your blog but this is the first time I’ve responded. I just have to tell you that I LOVE LOVE your sense of humor!!! You’ve taught me so much about decorating–and I’m truly grateful but, what I really love is how you use your words to express your thoughts!! Honestly, it reminds me of myself….and how my brain ‘thinks’. 😉 Not sure if that’s good or bad but I had to tell you that you ALWAYS MAKE MY DAY!! Thank you for being YOU and writing it out for your admiring fans to see!! ROCK ON!!

  29. Thanks for all of the inspirational tips! I can wait to really “study” them. One thing I always have to do when starting anew is to decide how I want the room to feel. I surprised myself when doing two different bedrooms in my home. I decided that one of them, due to its location in the house, really needed to feel FRESH. When I went into the other bedroom on the first floor, FRESH, just wasn’t it. I felt like it needed to feel COZY.

  30. AMAZING!
    My goodness, can you just come decorate for me? Although, for the first time I kinda feel like I can do it myself now. Thank you so much!

  31. GREAT advice, Kelly! I used a funky little bench as my “lead” in my guest room makeover and it’s my favorite room I’ve ever done. Have a great day!
    xo Heidi

  32. Laura Ontiveros says:

    Great post!! Soo looking forward for more deccor tips.
    Feel better soon 🙂

  33. Great tips! Paint IS a deceitful temptress. Hope your appendages heal quickly.

  34. Andy gets a sofa…of his own? Dawg’s food bowl always sits in the shade too, huh!?

    Hope you both can get better right away. Those childhoods racing by will probably also include a cold or two. It’s the pits to have both parents holding down sofa cushions


  35. St. Winters says:

    You are a GENIUS. I read this and it was like a light bulb turned on in my head. I totally get it and cannot wait to redo my living room now. Thank you!

  36. brilliant lady! We just signed our life away on a new house and (of course) my brain went to paint first…ahh! Such a tempting no-no. Awesome post. I’m pinning it right now to my secret board. No, maybe I’ll let the public see this one.

  37. May I make a (self serving) suggestion of a topic for the series? Practically all of our furniture is of the handmade, family heirloom, stained wood variety. I’m trying to figure out how to make our place not look like a dark brown hole, but it seems like everyone’s solution is to paint furniture. My dining room table was made from trees from the family farm on Sailor’s Creek (where the last battle of the Civil War was fought) and I am pretty positive homicide would occur were it to be painted. Sooooo any ideas for how to lighten things up without paint would be very welcome!

  38. I love it! I can actually see how this accidentally happened in our kitchen, but now I’m going to look for the lead piece in every other room of our apartment. Genius!!

  39. This was a cool and informative post. Those pics made me almost crap my pants they were so lovely! I’m so excited to apply these tips since we have been recently talking about fixing up our little ranch home!

  40. Such great advice! Thank you for sharing and I’m pinning now! ~Lisa

  41. This is just what my scatter brain needed. I was immediately sold on your advice when you listed the standard as crap your pants good, great advice and a giggle along the way. I wasn’t feeling bad but I suddenly feel better 🙂 hope you all get up and at ’em soon

  42. I love this! Great tips.. I just used number 4 in my bedroom 😉

  43. Genius!!!!

  44. Great tips, and really beautiful inspiration. 🙂 Happy Friday, Kelly!

  45. My hubby and I have been soooooo guilty in the past of picking the paint color first!!! Now I understand why I’ve had a hard time decorating rooms everywhere else we’ve lived. Looking towards our next home (the dumb short sale which the bank is now being a butthead on so it’s been a rather stressful week around here but our realtor is a ROCKSTAR who is fighting tooth and nail for us!) I really want to do things differently. In my heart I truly want it to be “ours” and not just nice looking. So now when I browse Pinterest for decorating ideas I’m looking for things I really love and not just things that look nice. A red and white kitchen. A deep, bold colored powder room. A farmhouse table for the dining room. A wallpapered accent wall for the sitting room. All things other people have told me I shouldn’t do because it’s not…I don’t know…normal? Or because I might hate it? Well, if I hate it, that’s my problem and I’ll deal with it. But I’ll never know if I don’t try.

    Listen to me getting all philosophical over here! Who knew home decorating could inspire so much self-reflection. 🙂

  46. LOL… I may just bow down to you on this post. I get sooo stuck in rooms because I have no lead piece!!!! Thanks, cause I think you just helped me wrap up my master bedroom 🙂 Great post.

  47. Those fabric patterns are incredible! Definitely a great place to start designing a room.

  48. This is so helpful! I am the type of person who knows when something looks good or doesn’t, but usually have to actually see it to know. This is the first time I’ve read anything that made sense and feels achievable without trying out like thirty different things (not fun if you don’t like painting.) Thank you so much!!!

  49. I think we have the same couch… at least in your “before” picture. I’ve been trying to find a slipcover, but I’m not sure they exist for sectionals, but either you found one, made one, or got a new couch according to your “after”. Please help, oh wise one!

    • I got new couches. 🙂 They are just ikea ektorp sofas which I bought used from craigslist and I replaced the slipcovers with new ones from Ikea. I think they were only about $150 each.

  50. Great post! I used to be a person who picked paint first but I am so glad I broke out of it. I hope you all feel better soon!

  51. Great advice! I love the way you write, it makes SO much sense. Mila’s room is still one of my favorites. Love fabrics and colors and the way it’s all pulled together.

  52. I will say it again, now that I’ve stopped lurking. I love you. (In a non-creepy way.) The part about crapping your pants? Hahaha, laughed out loud. LOVE.

  53. Currently in the throes of choosing paint for not one but four rooms, “open floor plan”: Paralyzed. Have absolutely over-thought paint choices. Your post rode in on a White Horse and Saved the Day. Thanks! Great advice. Honestly, best advice for choosing paint colors I’ve read maybe ever. Especially, “feel” words. Crazy, but after reading your post, I went out same day and bought a “lead piece”. We today chose THE colors. Fingers crossed!

  54. YES! It’s so daunting looking at a blank room. Where do I start?! I have a pinboard like this for our living room that looks like it’s in the we-just-moved-in condition. 3 years later, the time has come. Great post Kell.

  55. Fabulous post Kelly!! All such great info! Thanks for sharing. Lead piece…so right!
    Oh, I have just started back working out too! It’s amazing the muscles we have…and don’t think about until they are too painful to move. 😉


  56. Love this post and all your blog

  57. Mindy Carlson says:

    I’m here from Pinterest and have read quite a few posts. I like your practical advice. I know Pinterest is really helpful to identifying your style, but my problem is I can’t find any images of rooms I love so bad I could die. I find rooms I like, even rooms I really really like, but alas my pants remain uncrapped. I’ve been on houzz, I’ve perused blogs, I’ve got shelter mags dating to back Martha’s reign. I need some kind of online dating site for personal style. Help.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about the uncrapped state of your pants. Truly a tragedy. I like your idea of an online dating site for personal style. I did love Domino Magazine for crappable rooms back when it existed. There’s just nothing as good anymore.

  58. Love this tip! I am a designer/ DIYer but I am also a seamstress so fabrics are a joy to me. I always start with a “Lead Fabric.” I am not sure if people who are not as immersed in the fabric world forget about the importance of fabric or just think it is an after thought. This technique makes everything else so much easier to choose. Plus as a designer if someone shows me a fabric they love it tells me so much about who they are and their style. Great tip!
    This is my first visit to your lovely blog, I will definitely be adding you to my reader. Glad I stopped by!

  59. I just stumbled upon your blog, thank you so much for this post. I am one of those people that start with a paint colour first. Now I am having a hard time finding accessories, fabrics that go with it and create the feel I want. Such a good idea to start with a fabric first and build around that. I am not satisfied with any room in my house and will now change my direction. Thank you, I am off to the fabric store today.

  60. Now I feel like I need to redecorate all of my rooms. Not that they are particularly “decorated” in the first place since my method of decorating has mostly been: “Oh, we need {insert item}, here is one that is within budget.” with very little thought to how it will look with the rest of the room.

  61. Thank you for this post! That really clarifies the problems I’m having with my daughters room. You mention that this is just ONE formula for decorating a room. Would you care to do a series on some other formulas?

    • Thanks for so many great ideas, advice, pictures. Mostly ‘how to start when you don’t know how pull it together.’ My 1940’s plain jane house (901 sq ft) has no decorating style-I finally admit it’s not eclectic. But it has been painted many times. I get lots of kidding that I’m painting again. The Ikat print #5 got me jazzed. It would make great sofa pillows and seat covers for the dining chairs. Just need to hide all the paint chips for awhile.

  62. Those are great tips! I’ve always been kinda lost as to how to put together colors and patterns for a coordinated look. Now I’ve got try your advice on our living room 🙂

  63. Great tips!

  64. I like to choose a theme + color combo to start. For instance, I am related to Betsy Ross, so my bedroom is vintage patriotic (with obvious color scheme). Our guest room is travel themed, and we have been to Maui, and on several cruises to beautiful beach destinations, so the colors are ocean teal and sand, with a touch of lava (black). I have been very happy with the outcomes thus far, and still have a ways to go. Since we have a tight budget, I like to shop sales and thrift stores, then paint or change it to “make it my own”, so it feels like I really “DIY”-ed it. S far, I am having fun and making my house a home!

  65. I really like this post! Thank you! Thing is I’m trying to make my rental studio feel like home for the next school year. Can’t paint it over and the whole place is blue! I like the blue (I think..) but I’m not sure how to pick a lead with that already set.

  66. Love your website and most of your pics are on my pin interest board. There is one question which I have yet to find an answer (a how to) . No matter how beautiful a room is, in some time you get bored with the decor. Could you give tips on how we can create change (frugally) without a complete makeover. For example two sets of slip covers with two sets of curtains.

  67. I just stumbled upon your site and the “crap you pants moment” for me is that GORGEOUS Amy Butler fabric right in the middle of your post (the one you said you used in Mila’s room)! OMG!!!! I want to redo my entire house for that fabric! You didn’t link what it isbut I already Google Imaged It and found it on Etsy… I have to choose a room SOON to redo just for that fabric!!! 🙂

  68. You are adorable and this post is a gift from heaven. Thank you so much, I’m on a treasure hunt for all of my lead pieces in my rooms. Kinda hope I did that already. Lol.

  69. Thank you so much for posting this! I don’t normally comment on blogs but I’ve been perusing Pinterest trying to find inspiration to start decorating our new house (We bought it almost a year ago and haven’t done a single thing since moving in, except unpacking) and this is my saving grace. I finally know where to start. THANK YOU!

  70. Oh my gosh! Love how simply you brake it down and your crap the pants standard is amaze balls!!!

  71. Rockin’ post, Kelly! Great info AND your humor and personality come through so well. Such a fun read. 🙂 I love your blog and dig your style! And I was super stoked to see one of the fabrics at the end was the one I used for our dining room curtains – #4! I just did a sew your own curtains tutorial with it! Great minds design alike. 😉

  72. Natalie Clark says:

    Thank you for posting this! You speak my language and you’ve restored my confidence in my basic design abilities. I’ve been in my house for one year and haven’t done anything (ugh) because I’ve been too overwhelmed by having lots of rooms to decorate with no sense of direction. Your “lead piece” concept has re-awakened my creativity and I owe you. A lot. Cheers!

  73. This is BY FAR one of my fave pins!! I read it over and over again! Its incredibly useful!! Great post Kelly!! <3

  74. Hello! This is my first time on your blog. My fiance and I recently bought our first house and I was so overwhelmed determining how to get started on the decorating process. This post was magical! So many great tips – you have a huge new fan!

  75. Very practical advice. Thank-you

  76. Just discovered your blog via Pinterest. Love it – you are so entertaining- feel like I have known you forever and the info was great too.

  77. I just found your blog and I’m so glad I did. I have a question about choosing a ‘lead’ when you’re renting. Faced with the usual off-white walls in just about every apartment, I love to bring a little color into my life through fabrics and accessories. For a ‘lead’ item – I’d love to chose some awesome curtains, but who knows if my next bedroom will have that size windows, or even that many windows. Would you suggest sticking with pretty inexpensive or plain pieces for the stuff that might not work with every new apartment (like curtains and rugs) and investing in a signature piece like a duvet cover to use as the ‘lead?’

  78. I’ve been stuck for years. Thanks for writing this and making is so clear. Yes! Definitely do the follow up post you were referring to.
    P.s: love your sense of humor. Can I borrow it for s day 🙂

  79. Nancy Jakubic says:

    I love this formula as a leaping off point! Just need some help with a couple of things.

    I have a green rustic armoire that I love but can’t figure out how to decorate beyond it. It has a rustic vibe with chicken wire in the doors but I don’t want to go completely rustic. I like fresh, clean lines, modern or industrial looks as well as rustic.

    I also have a small Gaugin print that I’d like to use as my lead piece since I love all the colours. I have other Gaugin prints that I also like but are much bigger with deeper palettes. Can I still work with the smaller print as the lead piece?

    Any suggestions or tips would be great!


  80. Thanks so much for posting this! I nevsr know where to get started with a room, but now I do! Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!

  81. Julie Hatchett says:

    Love love love this! We are redecorating our home and this really helps me so much! I can’t believe how easy it is with the great tips you have given me! I just can’t thank you enough! Keep the great ideas for decorating for b people who need a little help.

  82. Hello Kelly!

    I just wanted to share with you how much I enjoyed your sense of humor in this blog about tricks to decorating a room. You just made so many diy’ers very happy I am sure! I also love your style, and can’t wait to see more. Thanks!

  83. I happened to get lucky with painting a room first…once! It was my LR, I knew I wanted a soft, pale, muted yellow on the walls to go with paned windows, trim and all mouldings in semi-gloss pure white. I went from there with medium toned hardwood floors, natural linen (close to white) sofa, and patterned upholstered chairs with the background of the fabric being the same as the sofa. I’m sure the reason it worked is because the soft, pale yellow is not only easy to find in fabrics, but also goes with everything!
    Now, as far as the other rooms go, I’m not going to push my luck, I’m going to follow your advice here, put my style words in my head and use a lead piece… great advice Kelly, thank you!!

  84. Liked your website but I will not be coming back, way too many ads, so distracting! I want content not advertising.

  85. Great advice! In redoing my daughters room thought I had found my lead piece, but the room seems to be missing something. I think I need a bigger, brighter lead piece. Thinking of an upholstered headboard in a color darker than the walls. I wish I could send you a pic and you could advice some more.

  86. Beautiful mix-and-match fabrics, they definitely brighten up any room. Thank you for sharing these useful tips

  87. Wow! Thank you! I am much more excited about decorating now. I was feeling overwhelmed, but this REALLY helps!

  88. This is EXACTLY what I have needed!!! Thank you for sharing. I’m not a natural born decorator but this is going to help me step up my room game considerably!!

  89. I liked when you talked about playing with patterns when decorating a room. I can see that making sure you try different designs can help you come up with the best one. It makes sense that planning carefully and choosing a good store to work with can help you get quality items and save money.


  1. […] Remember when I warned you this Decorating 101 series would be about what I’ve done wrong? Yeah: THIS. A million times. In the next Decorating 101 post, I’ll share my favorite trick for pulling a room together, so none of us have to pull out our hair and repaint our master bedrooms 46 times like I did. (Update: check it out here — The Cheater Formula to Decorating an Empty Room.) […]

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  4. […] a no-fail formula to help you put together a cohesive, gorgeous room by starting backwards. The View Along the Way offers these four simple […]

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  6. […] Read the full article here: Decorating 101: The Cheater Formula to Decorating a Blank Room […]

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  8. […] How to Decorate: The easy formula for a well-designed room – Learn a few easy steps to make a blank room look well thought-out and put-together! […]

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