Unpacking? No. Decorating? Yes.

posted on April 1, 2013 by  |  posted under Decorating  |  20 Comments

As a follow up to my previous post: “Room by Room Decorating Secrets” I thought it would be fun to share one of my very first decorating tips today…

Style on the Cheap

So, I recently moved to a new city and a new apartment. Even though it was a crazy fast move, I was so excited to have a blank canvas to decorate. Within 24 hours of being moved in, I started hanging wall décor. I had no idea where the dishes or my sheets were, but I knew where every single art piece & accessory was.

Then I thought…”I should share my story with my HowDoesShe.com friends. I bet they would do the same thing…haha!”

Using the elements and principles of design, I hope these tips can help you as you create new wall designs in your home!

Here we go!

First, I measured the space and decide the shape I wanted my arrangement to be: square, rectangular, circular, or abstract. For this arrangement I choose rectangular to fill the space above the sofa:

I then selected the pieces I wanted to put together and put them on the floor.

{This is a great way to get started because you can visualize it, play with it, take a picture of it, and then put it on your wall without multiple nail holes.}

A. Lining up edges of the art pieces creates an invisible border to the design as well as a sense of order and balance.

B. The shelf below adds visible weight to the left side balancing out the larger piece of art on the right.

C. Decorating in odd numbers is move visibly pleasing to the eye than even numbers. {Example: three main pieces, three items on the shelf}.

D. Coordinating the same colors throughout the design creates a sense of harmony and emphasis.

For this arrangement I decided to go a little more abstract.

I needed to fill the space above a table, so the first thing I did was measure the table and placed the measuring tape on the floor. This gave me the exact space I wanted to fill.

A. Keeping your arrangement centralized over a table or couch creates a vignette or a relationship with the items around it and ties everything together.

B. Keeping the items between 2” – 4” apart allows the entire design to look cohesive and keeps items from looking like they are floating away.

C. Don’t be afraid to mix frame types, even if they’re different metals or colors. As long as they are repeated a couple of times in the arrangement, it will look great!

D. Make sure there are multiple shapes in the arrangement. This will look better as well as add more visual interest. {Example: the frames are rectangular, but the floral arrangement has a triangular base and the flowers are round.  There are also oval and round elements on the table below.}

E. A tip to doing abstract arrangements: use the step-down method: have one side higher than the other and step each element down. Notice how the left side is higher and then it steps down to the floral and then down again…it’s the design principle called repetition. {This is a great look over a staircase as it repeats the shape of the stairs.}

Hope these tips helped! Let me know if you have any other decorating questions! I’d love to help!

Style on the Cheap
What other decorating questions do you have that you would like answered on HowDoesShe?

    1. September 27th, 2010 at 5:58 am
      Carrie Kane for Anders Ruff Custom Designs says:
      Hi Caley, this is a great tutorial as I need to get some pieces up on my bare walls!
    2. September 27th, 2010 at 6:21 am
      Jacque Charwood says:
      It looks great!! I wish I could do things like this on my own. I'm hopeless!! LOL
      .-= Jacque Charwood´s last blog ..Jewelry Giveaway!! Woo! =-.
    3. September 27th, 2010 at 7:26 am
      Lynn from For Love or Funny says:
      You've made the difficult task of hanging pictures so much easier with this tutorial. Thank you!
      .-= Lynn from For Love or Funny´s last blog ..Yes- there was a product named Penorub… =-.
    4. September 27th, 2010 at 7:57 am
      Kelly O says:
      You know, we just finished moving our things into a new apartment yesterday, and I am already itching to get things up on the walls. I have boxes left to unpack, but something about having the art up makes it feel even more like home.
    5. September 27th, 2010 at 8:34 am
      Alysha says:
      You're way ahead of me Caley! I just "eyeball" everything and it drives my husband crazy! He always has to get the tape measure out. :)
    6. September 27th, 2010 at 11:14 am
      kim says:
      I absolutely love it, now i want to redecorate! great job!
    7. September 27th, 2010 at 11:15 am
      kim says:
      love it! now im ready to go decorate!
    8. September 27th, 2010 at 11:19 am
      Becca G says:
      It looks great! Good job! I wish I had your eye for putting things together
    9. September 27th, 2010 at 1:59 pm
      Janell says:
      This post was great. I would love more decorating tips like this.
    10. September 27th, 2010 at 3:49 pm
      Inde says:
      This is prefect for me....currently have bare walls and didn't want to have numerous holes in it. Thanks for the tips!
    11. September 27th, 2010 at 5:14 pm
      Veronica says:
      This is one of the most useful things I've read on the internet in a long time (and I also have an apartment full of boxes to unpack)! Thanks Caley!
    12. September 28th, 2010 at 6:48 am
      Ashley says:
      Shapes! I know my shapes! I never knew to use shapes as a guide for decorating... duh! I have lived in a new home for a year and don't have anything on my walls because I didn't know where to start (there's some big, blank spaces & I was overwhelmed with options). Great post.
      .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Week 3ish- Homeschooling is its uh well- its =-.
    13. September 28th, 2010 at 9:07 am
      Jessica says:
      We are just getting ready to move to a new house and this post was perfect! Thanks for the tips on how to make decorating just a little bit easier and eye pleasing!
    14. October 1st, 2010 at 2:42 pm
      Lena says:
      Thank you so much for the ideas, Caley, my boyfriend and I have just moved into our first own apartment and I am busy figuring out how to make the place be a home, your ideas helped a lot! Still- Is there any suggestion you could make for a very long, bare wall? It would be highly appreciated:-)!!!
    15. October 2nd, 2010 at 7:01 pm
      Jackie says:
      Michaels has a great tool for us who can't figure this out. Hang your own gallery, it has a wall template and all the frames to go with it. I made a whole family wall that looks AMAZING and then put the words FAMILY on top, it has gotten a ton of compliments and alot of people asking how to do it. Check out Michaels!
      • October 5th, 2010 at 1:10 pm
        lena says:
        Thank you so much that is an AWESOME idea!!! I shall tell everyone admiring it that Jackie gave me this idea:-) thanks!!! xoxoxo
    16. October 6th, 2010 at 8:13 pm
      Emily Harmer says:
      LOVE THESE IDEAS, Caley! I would never have thought to arrange them like that, but they look stellar!
      .-= Emily Harmer´s last blog ..A Beginning Photographer’s Interactive Guide to Exposure =-.
    17. April 2nd, 2013 at 5:17 pm
      Marie says:
      This was a very informative tutorial. I would love to also have some eduction on how to determine which areas of the wall to dress and which to leave blank. For instance my couch is floating but there is a portion of a wall behind my couch (about 6 feet). The rest of my couch is in front of another room. I feel that 6 feet wall needs something, but it will not be in relation to any of my furniture.
    18. April 3rd, 2013 at 8:41 pm
      Stacey Fargo says:
      This was wonderful - I am always wondering how to create a great wall. What great tips! Thanks for sharing!
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