6 Practical Tips For Beginner Decorators

Hands up if you like a beautiful, welcoming home. Well so do we. Our home has always been our happy space & I love to make it look pretty – irrespective of whether we own or rent it.

Hours go into the planning of the interior & playing around with ideas. Hello Pinterest my best friend.

Truth be told, I really don’t know the first technical or academic thing about decorating, so my gut has always been my best weapon. Or at least so I thought until people started noticing that I have an ‘eye’. I take that as a big compliment! It also means that I can now list my gut & my ‘eye’ as my best tools for creating a beautiful home.

But when I read articles like this one – with really great tips by the way – I tend to doubt myself. However, it is after all my own home & as much as I like for it to be showcased & to receive compliments it is not my main goal. Ultimately, we just want to live in a happy, pretty abode.

It got me thinking about how I’ve been putting things together in our homes (here & here). So I decided to share my Six Practical Tips For Beginner Decorators: 

Make (Hard Copy) Mood Boards

A gazillion pins on Pinterest is a great start, but I’m thinking further than Pinterest.

I suggest printing out your favourite inspirational images from Pinterest & then supplement with pictures from magazines, brochures & even pictures that you’ve taken of real homes. Add some fabric & wallpaper samples, paint swatches & you should have a really fantastic idea of what you would like to achieve. More great ideas (thank you Vanilla Slate) are to use a clipboard for each room, a cork board or beautiful tray to group all of the elements that you would like to incorporate. I prefer a flip file (with plastic sleeves) to keep my samples & inspirational bits safe.

Making clever use of what you have

Think upcycling, painting, reupholstering. About 70% of our furniture is pre-loved, hand-me-downs or inherited. I don’t always like the exact look or shape, but I try my best to use what I have to create a look-&-feel that still works in a specific room & is in line with our aesthetic.

The velvet chair below (left) was in my parents’ house for a long long time, but nobody was allowed to sit on it because it was so dilapidated. So funny, right?!

It was one of my favourite items to reupholster because I loved the shape, the legs & saw lots of potential in it.

The riempies bench below is also an inherited item from my in-laws. Don’t you also just love the make-over that it got?

Leave Something For Later

When I first got married a wise colleague gave me this tip: “Don’t decorate the entire house at once. It simply takes all the fun out of it.” The tip is obviously also practical because most of us don’t have a massive budget to decorate an entire space all at once.

Compromise Where Necessary

I have honestly been dreaming of wallpaper for the last 10 years & wouldn’t mind having wood paneling or wallpaper in our lounge for instance, but it is just too pricey for our current budget. Once I even got a wallpaper expert to come to our home for quotes. Woweee, when he started working out the pricing I had to really keep my poker face. Unfortunately, it seems to be a luxury of the rich & famous. But one day. One day.

Instead, I opted for a single layer of dark paint in my favourite colour. I think it did a good job of creating a statement & was forgiving enough that we didn’t have to have expensive art on the wall.

If you can’t spend a fortune on wallpaper, you can use a stencil or decals to create a similar look. Or why not consider framed samples of wallpaper (thank you for the idea & image below Elsie) or even beautiful fabric stretched over a canvas?

Also, don’t think that cheap is always nasty. Quite often more affordable items add some edge to a room. I have found little gems at second-hand shops, PEP Home or Mr Price Home. Case in point: the beautiful glass terrarium below is from Checkers Home.

Ask for help

I often ask my mom-in-law to help me out with some small styling jobs. She is really great at this & makes a cluttered shelf look styled in a jiffy. You can even ask a friend or a professional (who is willing to listen to your ideas) for advice. The second set of eyes often gives you a completely different perspective on a project that you are busy with.

When in doubt, choose less

Excuse the cliché, but as far as I’m concerned, less is really more when it comes to interiors unless you are one of those people who have the wonderful gift of keeping a small space with lots of looking styled & cosy (& not cluttered), minimalist style is better than overly cluttered & full.

Hope you found these tips helpful! Thank you for reading.

Yolandi ♥


Images: Framed wallpaper sample; moodboard image by Emily Henderson via; Quote: source unknown; All other images: Melanie Mare for aZestyLife.

2 Comments on 6 Practical Tips For Beginner Decorators

  1. Michelle Leslie
    June 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm (8 months ago)

    Such great tips Yolandi and I abSooooLutely love what you did with the riempies bank and the rickety chair.

    • Yolandi
      June 21, 2017 at 1:42 am (8 months ago)

      Thank you so much Michelle. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *