5 Ways To (Almost) Instantly Decorate Your Home

Even though I’m going on three years in my apartment, I wouldn’t say the place is “decorated,” so to speak. I have furniture (mostly hand-me-downs from my parents or pieces I picked up on trash day) and I have art (largely hanging from nails left by the last tenant), but my studio hasn’t quite come together.

To get me on track, I picked up Speed Decorating: A Pro Stager’s Tips and Trade Secrets for a Fabulous Home in a Week or Less by Jill Vegas, an interior decorator and “stager,” which means she makes people’s homes more salable. Here’s what I learned …

  1. Clean Up.
    Don’t wait for when you’re having company over to get rid of piles of clutter. Throw it out now — or find the stuff you want to keep an appropriate place so it’s not hanging out on your living room floor. You can’t decorate until you’re sufficiently organized. As Jill writes, “subtract before you add.” This includes ridding your bookshelf of titles you don’t even like.
  2. Establish Good Habits.
    Create streamlined systems so you’ll stop procrastinating when it comes to paying bills and hanging up your coat. If your items “live” in certain spots, it’s easier to get things done and keep your place tidy since you don’t have to think about where to find it when you need it or where it goes when you’re finished.
  3. Be Prepared.
    When you’re on the hunt for new furnishings or decorations, don’t leave the house without photographs of your home and measurements of the spaces. Otherwise, you miss a chance to snap up a bookshelf because you aren’t sure whether it’ll fit in the corner.
  4. Curate.
    Everything you own doesn’t have to be in plain sight. Display collections like they do at museums: Select a few items to put out at a time and store the rest. Then, every so often, switch things up and exhibit a different assortment.
  5. Cast A Flattering Light.
    Does turning on the overhead light put the spotlight on slightly dingy walls or dinged-up furniture? If you can’t switch it for something more complimentary, keep it off. You don’t have to live in the dark, just brighten the room with lamps.