How To Get A Cohesive Look When You Decorate

Use these easy tips for creating a cohesive look when you decorate any room in your home.  Your friends and family will think you’ve hired a designer!

These tips will help you decorate a room with a cohesive look so that your friends and family will think that you've hired a professionally trained interior designer || Worthing Court
Say you’re all ready to decorate a room in your home?  Use these tips for creating a cohesive look to help you get it right from the beginning.  Or, maybe you’ve already decorated the room, but something just seems off to you.  Often times, the problem is that while all of the individual elements might be pretty on their own, the room just doesn’t look pulled together.  

 

Step 1: Where To Start?

Before you can even begin to work on your room, you need a starting point.  Pull some of your favorite pieces of clothing from your closet, along with tear-outs from magazines and online images.  Lay them out together and take some time to examine the entire collection to see if you can identify a unifying color or theme that speaks to you.

GIVING A HO-HUM BEDROOM A FARMHOUSE MAKEOVER

A mood board for farmhouse style bedroom makeover plans || Worthing Court

 

Step 2: Brush Up On The Basics

If you aren’t already familiar with the basics of home decorating, I highly recommend that you take a little bit of time to do some reading on color, scale, texture, style and pattern mixing and furniture arranging.  Don’t worry – I’m not talking about signing up for an interior design class.  You can search for and find any subject online these days.  Once you’ve educated yourself a bit, the difference will show when your room is complete!  

THE EVOLUTION OF MY FAMILY ROOM – FROM MAJOR TRADITIONAL TO SUBURBAN FARMHOUSE

See how a majorly traditional family room turned into an amazing suburban farmhouse room || Worthing Court

 

Step 3: Select A Cohesive Color Palette

Choose a color palette from the largest piece, that has a pattern to it, that you’ll be using in your room.  It could be a rug, sofa, the fabric, a large piece of art, etc.  Pull the three main colors that you like from that piece – this will become your palette for the entire room.

A MID-90’S BREAKFAST NOOK GETS A FARMHOUSE MAKOVER – BEFORE AND AFTER

The evolution of a mid-90's breakfast nook to suburban farmhouse || Worthing Court

 

Step 4: Follow The Rule Of Three

To get a cohesive look, you should use three main colors in your room.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t use any other color in the room – it just means that you should concentrate on those three main colors.

 RUSTIC FARMHOUSE SUMMER OPEN SHELVES

Rustic farmhouse open shelves decorated with blue and green for summer || Worthing Court

 

Step 5: Sort It Out

Once you’ve chosen the three main colors for the room, use the rule of 60 – 30 – 10 to use those colors within the space.  That means that 60% of the palette will be the dominant color (such as the walls), 30% will be the secondary color (such as the furniture or rug) and 10% of an accent color (such as accessories and/or artwork).

To select a neutral wall color, look toward the tones of white, gray or beige that are used in the larger pieces in the room.  

RUSTIC FARMHOUSE DINING ROOM

Farmhouse style dining room decorated for winter || Worthing Court

 

Step 6: Most People Don’t Get Everything Right The First Time

Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself!  Even professionally trained designers don’t always get it right the first time.  Make sure to keep up with receipts and not remove any tags from purchased items in case you need to return something that doesn’t work in the room like you thought it would.

THE EVOLUTION OF MY FAMILY ROOM – FROM MAJOR TRADITIONAL TO SUBURBAN FARMHOUSE

A farmhouse style gallery wall filled with a mix of textures, shapes and color || Worthing Court

 

Step 7: Give Yourself The Grace Of Time

Putting a cohesive room together doesn’t happen in a day!  Probably not even in a week!  Give yourself some grace by accepting the fact that it might take you months to get the room looking exactly the way that you want it to.  Trust me, you can tell when a space is just thrown together.

HOW TO STYLE A FARMHOUSE BOARD AND BATTEN WALL

Fill a board and batten wall with baskets, grapevine wreaths and greenery to create a farmhouse feel || Worthing Court

Let’s put it in a little list to make it easy to remember!

  • Determine your starting point.
  • Brush up on the basics.
  • Select a cohesive color palette.
  • Follow the rule of three.
  • Sort it out: 60 – 30 – 10.
  • It’s okay if you don’t get it right the first time.
  • Be patient with yourself!

I hope you’ll find these tips valuable when it comes to decorating your own home!  I’ve talked to many, many people and I believe that putting together a room with a cohesive design is one of most common problems that we home decorating lovers struggle with.  How about you?

 

 

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29 Comments

  1. great information! thank you

  2. Linda Owens says:

    Good information that I will try. Thank you.
    Linda

  3. You have a lovely home and it is beautifully decorated. The rooms seem to all be spacious, and I love your choice of colors. Your fireplace mantle and wall above is my most favorite. I notice that you have a television in that room and was wondering if your furniture arrangement makes it difficult for watching the TV? The problem I have with my living room is placement of my sofa. The location of the TV can’t be changed so that limits where I can put my sofa. Do you do much TV watching?

    1. Hi Jill. TV viewing was one of my biggest concerns when we arranged our room this way, but it hasn’t been a problem at all. My “spot” is at the end of the couch, closest to the tv, and I have no trouble seeing it. I guess it’s because of the flat screen??? And yes, we do a lot of tv watching! 😀

  4. This was so helpful! Thank you. i went right to my TV room and started looking and pondering. I already have two colors. It is definitely the accessories I need to pull it together. Studying your rooms and accessories gives me lots of clues to look at.

  5. Yes, as you know I’ve struggled with it, but just keep trying. I will arrange things or move them from place to place till I feel a peace about it. One of my neighbors came over the other day and complimented me on how great the house looked with the new lighter color etc. It made me feel so good because I felt like I was in the middle of a Decor project gone wrong… wall decor strewn on my table and couch cause I don’t know where to put it yet!! Lol..

  6. Thank you for these great tips! I love how you broke everything down into easy steps. I didn’t even realize that in my family room, I was already using The Rule of Three.

  7. Anne Marie says:

    Great hints – you are such a wonderful decorator.

  8. Love your home. Thanks for sharing all your expertise!! Enjoy the weekend.

  9. Nancy Walden says:

    Scale was the biggest problem I had when decorating my living room. The room is 15′ wide and 19′ long. The biggest problem was the 9′ long fireplace. It’s in the right hand corner on the wall across from the “door” (a 5′ wide opening) to the room. The proportions in the room drove my crazy for years. I finally got a coffee table that was big enough to add more balance to the room. I also updated the plain brick fireplace–it was big and blah!–by adding a wood surround and making the mantel much deeper. The original mantle was 7′ deep and now it’s 20.” I recently bought new ceiling height drapes that I hung wider than the actual windows. My 4′ and 6′ wide windows now look like 6′ and 8′ windows. The scale of the windows is a better balance to the size of the fireplace.. The room finally “works”!

  10. Thanks for the design tips! I like so many of your ideas and I have used them in my own home!

  11. nancy dempsey says:

    Thanks for the hints and reminders. I quite often forget the rule of 60-30-10.

  12. Norma Rolader says:

    Aww what some great advice! I start rearranging a room and I guess every couple of days changing something else due to it just doesn’t work Thank you and God Bless

  13. Julie Briones says:

    Great advice, Suzy! Trying to get a neutral palette is proving the hardest for me. I know what I want, just taking time to get there.

  14. Thank you. Great info.

  15. I am new to your blog this summer and I love your styling. A cohesive look isn’t easy if you don’t even know what your style is, so looking at your photos helps me know what inspires me. It feels, too, like I do not have to spend oodles of money to start making changes now. Thanks for your interesting blogs!

  16. Thanks for the great tips!

  17. Carol Jones says:

    Your videos are wonderful…love, love, love your blog…I tell people about it all the time…for hour fall mantel, I like the shutters….looks empty with out them.

  18. Thanks for good info. Trying to wait for September to decorate for Fall.

  19. Thanks for the tips. Your house is beautiful!

  20. Thank you so much for this information. I need it badly right now! Nothing seems cohesive in my house.

  21. Love, love, love your photos and advice. We are starting to update our 27 year old home and we are finding it takes some careful consideration to plan ahead and not make careless changes. This is taking considerable time, research and thought. We don’t want to waste money putting “lipstick” on our “pig” features that need more than a quick paint job, etc. Thank you for helping me get some ideas!

  22. Love the iron and wood shutter over your mantle. Can you tell me where you got it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Melissa. I ordered the piece that you’re asking about from Kirkland’s. It was sold out for a long, long time, but I’m happy to report that it’s back! Here’s the link to it: http://fave.co/1V3a4pY

  23. This is good information. It is easy to end up with a hodge podge that just doesn’t come together, for all the effort and investment, it is worth it to ensure your look is cohesive! Love the look here!

  24. Mary Johnston says:

    suzy,
    you break it all down so simply and looking at our rooms i can understand your concepts, but applying it to my house is totally different for me. I most likely should do a google search and read up on some design details.
    Your fireplace and mantle is one of my absolute favorite things in your home.
    Hope you are having a good year!

  25. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh my thank you for the great information and inspiration