How To Decorate Your Home Like A Professional

Whether you live in an apartment or a house, figuring out how to style and decorate your space can feel a bit overwhelming. From knowing which furniture to buy to figuring out how to settle on a color scheme, there are several moving parts that go into making a house feel like a home. While famous designers like Joanna Gaines of Magnolia and Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors have made the process slightly easier by offering tips online and starting their own home and lifestyle stores, there are still other tips that you should be aware of in order to create the home of your dreams.

While there are some technical parts like measuring and budgeting, decorating your home without the help of a designer can actually be a fun and inspiring experience. However, regardless of what your taste or style is, there are several important factors that you need to be aware of in order to avoid some major road bumps on your design journey. That being said, keep reading for House Digest's guide on how to decorate like a professional.

Splurge on high-quality furniture

In addition to looking the best, high-quality furniture also tends to be the most comfortable and functional, meaning it is worthy of a bigger investment. While IKEA might be able to draw you in with ridiculously low prices, the quality of their items can be a bit hit or miss, so there are definitely things you should never buy from IKEA. However, when it comes to Restoration Hardware or West Elm, the price tags might make your heart skip a beat, but the quality that you receive is seriously top-notch. Plus, furniture isn't the cheapest thing to buy in general, so if you're already spending the money, you might as well spend more and get something that will hold up and maintain its quality for years.

According to Article, a high-end sofa bed can be one of the most useful pieces of furniture. While it adds an element of functionality by creating an additional sleeping area, quality sofa beds are also modernized so that they fit in nicely with the rest of a room's aesthetic. If you'd rather avoid a sofa bed, go with a high-end sectional such as this one from Article.

Don't skip on window coverings

While curtains or window coverings may seem unnecessary, especially if you are someone who prefers a lot of natural light, they actually make a huge difference in regard to the maturity and elegance of your space. According to HGTV, curtains that are hung high and wide open up a space and can even make a smaller area look larger. Best of all, this is something that you can accomplish even if you have smaller windows. Simply install your curtain rod as high above the window as possible to create an elongated effect.

Of course, there are many different places and stores that sell curtains. However, before you can start shopping, you need to figure out the style, color, and pattern that you are going for. While playing with patterns is definitely encouraged, you also don't want to go overboard and wind up with a space that looks cluttered. Once you have a solid idea of what will look best in your home, start your search for the perfect window coverings at The Shade Store. With an endless array of options, you're almost guaranteed to find something great.

Art is always worth adding

While sitting down with the The New York Times, NYC-based interior designer Brad Ford advised DIY decorators to gather inspiration from resources such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Houzz in order to figure out the look and overall ambiance that they are going for. Having this solid foundation makes it so much easier to distinguish and sift through the various avenues of art and décor that are available. However, no matter what kind you prefer, art is a definite must.

From paintings to blown-up photographs of nature or landscapes, there are several different routes you can take when it comes to decorating your walls. If you're looking for some affordable options, Target has some amazing deals that will actually impress in regards to quality and aesthetics. In addition to decorating the walls of your space, be sure to add some sculptures or smaller paintings throughout the house along bookshelves, mantles, and side tables.

Rugs are an absolute must

Unless you have some sort of decorative carpet running through your home, rugs are 100% necessary when trying to bring your space to completion. During an interview with Architectural Digest, interior designer Caleb Anderson said, "Rugs are singularly one of the most transformative elements in a room. They elevate an interior with different colors, textures, and patterns as well as ground a space." In addition to adding some dimension to a space, they also pull a room together with cohesion and ease, adding a comforting and inviting feel to even the biggest of rooms.

From Persian rugs to Oriental rugs, there are several different rug varieties and designs to choose from when designing a space. If you prefer something more modern or simple, solid rugs with very little patterning are an option. However, intricate rugs like Oriental rugs are considered to be more timeless and elegant. Though rugs can definitely be on the pricier side, Wayfair has some affordable options that possess top-notch quality and style.

Avoid being too matchy matchy

While color coordinating is always encouraged to some extent, professional designers have a knack for pairing various colors and patterns together in a way that makes them cohesive and complementing. According to House Beautiful, professional designer Anthony Gianacakos believes that mixing and matching colors can lead to a pattern-packed room that is stylish and expressive. In his own bedroom, Gianacakos chose to pair a yellow-patterned wallpaper with a deep teal headboard and dresser, proving that two opposing colors can work together to create a stunning result.

Whether you're choosing to mix and match the color of your wall and your furniture or you simply want to create a colorful gallery wall, figuring out the color scheme and vibe that you are going for is important before trying to combine a bunch of random patterns or hues in one space. If you're in need of some inspiration, browse through Pottery Barn to get some ideas on how to combine different textures, styles, and colors to create a modern yet inviting atmosphere in your home.

Make sure that you know all important measurements and scale

Though this certainly isn't the most fun part of the process, it is imperative to have the proper measurements and size of your space before you attempt to start filling it with furniture and décor. In an interview with The New York Times, designer David Kleinburg said, "The first mistake most people make is that they buy things that are the wrong size — sofas that don't fit in the room, sofas that don't fit through doorways, tables that are too small, desks that are too big, nightstands that hang into the doorway."

In addition to looking awkward, this mistake can also cause you to waste time and money on returning furniture that is either too big or too small for your home. When it comes to shopping, it is important to be realistic about the space that you have. For example, if you live in an apartment and have a living room that is on the smaller side, you probably won't be able to fit a Restoration Hardware couch since their furniture tends to run on the larger side. Even if it would physically fit, you want to make sure that you are using your space wisely and taking advantage of it so that you may have the highest quality of living.

Add a gallery wall

If you really want your home to look as if it was professionally designed, simply add a gallery wall. This elegant yet trendy idea has truly taken the design world by storm. From Etsy to antique stores, there are plenty of avenues that you can take when finding the content for your gallery wall. Though a classic and traditional look with vintage photos and paintings is a wonderful option, you can also go with a more modern style that includes abstract art and realistic photography.

In addition to the pictures themselves, the frames play a huge role in curating the perfect gallery wall. During an interview with Insider, the Hamilton Princess Hotel's curator consultant, Lisa Howie, said, "When hanging one's own art collection and gallery, I would emphasize that the frame tells part of the art story, and frame selection is important to the process ... Simple, minimal frames for example can help to communicate the art. This allows the art to really stand out on its own."

Be bold and brave with wallpaper

Despite the fact that wallpaper has gone out of style in the past, this timeless element of décor has managed to come back even stronger than before. While sitting down with House Beautiful, professional designer Anthony Gianacakos explained the importance of color and patterning in a space. Gianacakos, who has his own line of wallpaper, also highlights the fact that even those who rent should take the time to truly make their space their own. "Rental apartments can be scary to put your stamp on, but I encourage anyone renting one to still make it feel like your forever home," he explained.

If you're worried about doing any permanent damage to your walls, there are several different peel-and-stick wallpaper brands that are easy to use and turn out looking just like the real deal. Some of our favorite brands include RoomMates Decor and Love vs. Design. Even West Elm and Home Depot have some great options to choose from!

Don't forget about your ceiling

Though the floor and walls tend to get the most attention in a home, it is important to avoid neglecting the ceiling, which can be a wonderful source of style throughout the home. While you might not be able to add elegant moldings or designs to your ceiling, simply changing out your light fixtures can make a huge difference. In fact, some designers even consider the ceiling to be a "fifth wall" that is way too dynamic to be left a plain white, per The Interior Editor.

While modernizing your light fixtures with unique pendants or classic flush lights isn't all that difficult, even in a rental, painting your ceiling also provides a unique pop of color that is both eye-catching and simple. Of course, one of the most classic and traditional ways to spruce up your ceiling is to add a chandelier. Though flashy chandeliers might not be within your realm of taste, there are several modern and unique chandeliers available at Lamps Plus that can add a contemporary twist to pretty much any room in your house.

Add subtle details

From a clock on the wall to a vibrant houseplant in the corner, subtle details are what make a home feel full and live-in. Though some people like the idea of living in a museum, most people prefer a warm and inviting space that is filled with details and personal touches. Per Apartment Therapy, finishing touches are what allow for your own personal expression to shine through in your home. While buying nice furniture or renowned artwork is amazing, there is nothing quite like adding your own imprint into the décor and style of your house.

Some subtle details to consider adding to your home include a tray with your favorite coffee table books, a candle collection along your mantel, and even dimmers for your lights so that you can set the mood according to each group and gathering. Another way to add some detail without breaking the bank is to add an abundance of plants. While some people simply don't have a green thumb, fake plants such as this one from CB2 look just as legitimate as the real thing without the need for upkeep and care.

Make sure that all of your hardware is updated

While hardware might seem like a small and frivolous detail, it actually makes a huge difference throughout your space. From doorknobs to sink faucets, outdated hardware can cheapen your home and lower the appeal if it does not fit with the rest of the house. According to The Spruce, updated hardware is a lot more statement-making than you might expect. Though it is all in the detail, adding crystal knobs to your dresser can take an older piece of furniture to the next level without much work at all.

Though you can find decorative knobs and brass pulls at various stores such as Anthropologie and CB2, you might want to stick to a heavy-duty store like Home Depot for more technical kinds of hardware like sink faucets and door handles. Even changing out something as simple as your shower head can create a huge difference in the style and elegance of your bathroom.

Don't overdo it

If you want to ensure that your home doesn't look cluttered or full of random décor, you must plan ahead and have a solid vision of what you are hoping to end up with at the end of the decorating process. According to Decor Tips, having overly crowded walls or shelves can make your home feel reminiscent of a storage unit or warehouse, which is most likely not the style that you are going for. In addition to verifying how much space you have to work with, create a mental picture of the scene you are hoping to set in each room. Also, it is not a bad idea to go through all of the paintings, sculptures, and accessories that you already have so that you avoid overbuying.

Amber Lewis of Amber Interior Design has truly mastered making a home feel full and lived-in without letting the space look as though it could belong to hoarders. In addition to feeling uncomfortable, an overdone house can also wind up looking pretty tacky.