Eliminate what you don't like. Start from what you know you don't like, even making a list. Why? Because sometimes in the heat of the moment you can make buying decisions that end up not being your style once you get it home. But if you take the time to know what you don't like (and even why), you can steer clear of those sorts of design elements and head more in the direction of what you do like. Take an online quiz, you can find a whole slew of online quizzes to help pinpoint your style. Some are silly, but most will at least give you a slight hint of the direction your style might go in. Whether you're decorating a single room or a whole house, you can find the perfect theme and style to match. Focus in on your preferences, options, and elements that will allow you to achieve your dream room or home—even if you're revamping a cottage or a castle.
If you have an open plan dining area in your living room (as many new homes do), ensure about 4ft distance between the table and the wall, or the dining space will feel cramped and lessen the dining experience. If you want to unify the different components of different spaces in an open plan living room, such as the dining area or reading nook, you can use area rugs to almost create “wall-free” rooms within the large room. Experiment! Move things around, measure them, look at your room from all angles and picture it from an aerial point of view for an idea on available floor space. What's important is that it's comfortable and feels like home. Having the bookcase there allowed me to display some family photos and a few more decorative items that would otherwise just be stored in a box. It also works well because there's no back on the bookcase which allows the light to shine through and not close in the space. Of course I would love to have something that fit exactly and looked more built in but this is just a rental for the year and I'm all about making things work and look nice, even if it's only temporary.
Look to other areas of your life for hints. What is an area you do know your style or tastes in well? Clothes? Cooking? Look for characteristics in these other areas to give you hints as to what you might like. If you like a minimal wardrobe, for instance, you might prefer a minimal interior, too. Take a walk in a neighborhood. Stop and pause at the homes that you seem drawn to. Are they traditional looking? Modern? An eclectic mix of both? Observe what catches your eye and feels nice to you, even the way folks decorate their porches and patios. Stop and pause in front of the homes that pull you in. If you like a traditional style of architecture, you might like clean lines and muted colors in furniture and accessories.
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