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How to: Start

Categories: DIY + How To

The title of this post could have also been named where to start, since for many people, staring at the blank canvas that is your future (or current) living space is as terrifying as giving a public speech. Chances are if you’re on this blog, you’re on it because you have an interest in design. Take a look around your own home. Does it look the way you want it to? Is it the style that you like? Have the walls been blank since you moved in due to a paralysis of not knowing what to do with them?

Being in the interior design field, many people often ask us how we do it. By “do it” they usually mean “not crumble in the face of an oppressing white room aching to be filled with cool and hip furnishings and color.” Well it’s not always easy, but it is fun. And for our inaugural How-To post, and to usher in a new era of you taking control of your home’s design destiny, we’ve got seven ways to dip your toes into creating the home of your dreams:


  • Think like an interior designer Firstly, take a deep breath. Remember that you are, in fact, pretty design savvy. And you are lucky enough to get to decorate your home! Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Interior designers don’t get overwhelmed when faced with the task of tackling the décor of a room or entire home because they have the confidence to know they can make a room look good. Well, we’re giving you that confidence right now.
  • Get organized Make lists, and lots of them. Lists of what you have that you’re going to keep. Lists of what you need, by room. Lists of what your financials look like. Lists of colors you love. Lists of the colors your roommate/partner hates. Put all these lists in a new folder, binder or notebook that makes your heart skip a beat every time you look at it.

  • Get inspired Our favorite way? Online blogs, of course! Pack your Google reader full to the brim with the best and brightest design blogs so that great design ideas are never far away. Besides our own, we like Apartment Therapy, Treehugger and Desire to Inspire, to name a few. Where do you go for inspiration?
  • Ask for (online) help Mark Zuckerberg may not have intended to provide one of the greatest ways to survey your friends and colleagues on what color palettes you should go with, but it exists and you should take full advantage. Just remember to listen only to the stuff you like and ignore the haters. And don’t forget about all the design websites and blogs out there who let you send in questions to be answered by readers and experts alike (including the 2modern one, starting soon!)
  • Start with paint If you’re really starting from scratch and know you’re someone who will want a little color in your spaces, start with paint. You know why? It’s (relatively) cheap, easy to change if you don’t like and comes in a zillion choices. Sharpen your decorating teeth on creating color palettes for each room and an overarching palette that connects all the rooms of your home and by the time it dries you’ll feel professional enough to tackle furnishings.

  • Make some small wins early on Wall paint, curtains and rugs are an easy way to make a place feel grounded and like your space feels finished, so feel free to tackle them in the first wave of a project. Unless you know you’ll want a crazy-cool window treatment, wall finish or floor covering, buying basic items that you know you like and working from there is a great jumping off point.
  • Don’t be afraid to improvise Don’t be scared to purchase things that strike your fancy—unless you’re going for one specific style—the more chances you’re willing to take on décor, the more of a personalized space you’ll end up with in the end. Think advising someone paralyzed about design to go out and just buy something is risky advice? Maybe. But that vase/art piece/chair that you like for some reason could end up being the central piece from which your entire home is designed around and that perfectly embodies your style. It could happen.

Confess: what about your home is not quite “you” yet? What home projects/blank walls have you been meaning to get to? How do you begin to tackle the overwhelming yet fulfilling task of creating a home you love? Share your favorite jumping off points with 2modern readers!

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