Decorating Advice From Someone Who’s Moved Way Too Much

I have moved so much over the course of my life that I truly believe I hold absolutely all of the knowledge it takes to nest and decorate your home properly. I mean, over the course of 25 years of life I’ve deposited time, money, and energy into making each and every place I’ve lived feel like home, the length of stay notwithstanding.

I have purchased every cliche decorating item from IKEA, invested in nice pieces only to sell them a year later; found “temporary” solutions upon moving in that never change, I’ve painted practically everything, and I’ve learned a lot of important lessons along the way. Some of those being, lighting changes everything; centered beds make for easier making, and your closet will always be too small to store everything inside of it.

Soon, I will be moving halfway across the country to Austin humid Texas and while I am excited to pick up and live in a new space with not a single pot or pan to my name, I am slightly anxious about designing a new space. Firstly, and obviously, the most important part of this aspect will be the fact that I need to first find an apartment to move into, but I decided to catalog all of the wisdom, sound advice, and tips that I have learned along the way as a reference for myself, but also for you. Take a scroll through, and if you have some tips or sage advice that you would like to offer, please leave a comment below, or slide into my DM’s.

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Art Print via Brandon Breaux

‘Only Buy Items That You Love,’

is something I say over and over again to practically every client I have ever worked with and friend/family member that has asked for advice. If something does not excite you when you look at it, or make you hold it, or want to sit in it longer, more often than not, you will get sick of it. If items are totally out of your budget, that’s when you snap a picture and begin looking for similar items within your price range.

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Take a Look at Your Closet

because more than likely, your home decor style will reflect nicely within the boundaries of your personal style. If you tend to buy clothes that are clean-lined, muted colors, with a simple but elegant jewelry, more than likely you would like a house that mirrors that. If you are kind of funky with your style then consider a maximalist approach to your home. This is the easiest way to figure out what will work for your home because its already something you consider for your personal style.

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Don’t Allow Yourself to Be Defined By a Theme.

I have been this person as well as worked for this person. They are maybe slightly Type A, and must decorate their space within the boundaries of whatever decor theme they have decided is their style. They say they are minimalist and yet, continue to favor items that are ornate, traditional, and full of prints and pattern. To these types of people, I would say, consider what you like about minimalism and what items you lean towards. More often than not, there is a nice balance between the two that can create a beautifully harmonious space. If you are minimalist but love the elegance and detail of French traditional homes, consider going for a monochromatic theme where the devil is in the detail. That way your overall look appears to be minimalist, but up close you see the intricacies you love.

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Sofa via Urban Outfitters

Start With a Single Piece of Furniture,

like a sofa or credenza. I have made the mistake of getting so caught up in the accessories and decor elements of a room that I have left a small budget for important fixtures like a sofa. Rookie mistake. If you cannot decorate your home because you have a small budget but you have enough to buy a comfortable couch that you love, buy that. I have an obsession with having a colorful sofa, and in the past three apartments I’ve lived in and I’ve never regretted those decisions once. They usually end up shaping the entire way that the room develops and add a pop of color in a space that usually is left to being gray or beige.

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Image via SF Girl by Bay

Paint. Paint. Paint.

I understand that there are circumstances like you rent your apartment and inevitably you will have to paint it back later, but it is so worth it. I have hated the apartment I was living in so much until I painted and then all of a sudden it was the best place I have ever lived. Trust me on this one.

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Don’t Be a Martyr About Where You Live

By that I mean, don’t be afraid to do things to your home. I’ve been in so many apartments of friends where they are so terrified to make a hole in the wall or buy something they might not want in their next apartment. This usually warrants them to an empty home for a few years, which then leads to them hating their home and wanting to move when all they really needed to do was hang a few pictures and add a few plants. Even if something is a short-term problem, but it makes you happy immediately, it will be worth it. Even if you are rarely at home but every time you are you hate the twist blinds that break off every five minutes that could’ve easily been replaced by curtains.

Speaking from experience.

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Form and Function Are Key

to a happy home. If it doesn’t do anything but just looks pretty, I’m not down. I never buy things just because they look pretty. If I can’t see it in my life, incorporated into my daily routine, or providing some form or function in my life I will not buy it. Beleive me, I’ve turned down a lot of things I really loved because it was just not practical.

Keep in mind what you will be doing in your space and decorate with that in mind. If you’ve lived in your apartment for a year and find yourself using your dining table only as an office space, consider redecorating it as an office rather than a dining space you never use. By doing this your home will feel unique, well lived in, and will function practically to meet your needs. Think, Carrie Bradshaw, an oven is for storing shoes, not baking items.

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Final Thought,

Don’t spend money on anything! Do it yourself! Find it cheaper! Do it better! Learn how to freaking hang a picture properly, and yes, there is a way!