Whether you are renting an apartment for the first time or taking the plunge into buying your first home, embarking on your first decorating project can be really overwhelming. Bare room, blank canvas, bare floors… It can be really intimidating! Before you throw your toys out of the pram in frustration, consider these easy to follow tips from the experts at La-Z-Boy to help maximize your space and make the best out of what you've got.

Start with the Lounge Suite

Just like a work of art, each decorating project starts with one key visual and forms from there. The sofa or lounge suite, is often the largest item in a room, so it can set the wheels in motion for all of your decorating decisions. The style and size of your lounge suite can help guide other furniture choices, while the upholstery fabric or leather provides the perfect starting off point for designing a colour scheme.

"To begin building a colour scheme, simply pick a colour from your lounge suite, along with two complimentary colours, and repeat each colour a minimum of three times throughout the room in wall coverings, pillows, rugs, window treatments and accessories," suggests Paula Hoyas, product manager for major upholstery for La-Z-Boy. "This is what we call the 'Rule of Threes.'"

Focus on Function

When you're just starting out, you're most likely dealing with limited finances and space. For these reasons, you may want to look at furnishings that combine fashion and practicality. A sleep sofa, for example, performs double duty, turning any room into an instant guest room. Likewise, many of today's modular sofas are available with sections featuring corner sections,lie flat chiase's, recliners and even sleepers, allowing buyers to meet a variety of needs with one piece of furniture.

"Multi-functional furnishings are ideal for maximizing space," Hoyas explains. "By serving more than one purpose, they eliminate the need for additional furnishings, thereby opening up a room and giving the sense of more space." Another popular option for small spaces and budgets is a storage ottoman. More than just a footrest, these designs can provide additional seating whilst also serving an perfect place for storing pillows, blankets and toys.

Warning! Objects In Store May Be Larger Than They Appear

It's happened to all of us. You visit a furniture store, fall in love with a certain piece and get it home only to find that it either won't fit through the door or it takes up the entire room. The high ceilings and vast floor space in many furniture stores can be very misleading and give buyers a warped perspective regarding the size and proportion of the furnishings on display. Be sensible about the amount of space you have to work with and don't forget to bring a tape measure with you when you shop. By starting with the sofa, focusing on practicality, and keeping perspective and proportion in mind while shopping, you'll be off to a great start and soon have a home that's a work of art.

 

Use these simple steps to guide you through furnishing any room in your home.

Make a wish list of furniture and accessories to purchase.

Set priorities. You may want to completely redecorate your living room this weekend, but your budget may call for a longer-term plan. A room's function can help you determine priorities; think about how you can use the room and what pieces are essential for maximum comfort and function. Click here to download your own priority and budget worksheets.

Sketch a floor plan. Measure the room, noting windows, doors, fireplaces, electrical outlets, and any other architectural features. Also measure any existing furniture that will be incorporated into the room. Click here to download our Room Grid to sketch your room on paper.

Typically, furniture is arranged to take advantage of a fireplace or windows with an appealing view. Larger rooms may allow for two groupings, gathered around coffee tables to create areas for conversations.

Purchase large pieces of furniture first. Bring your floor plan and colour palette with you to help guide your choices.

Pick a colour palette. Whether you favour bold, pastel, or neutral colours, choose up to three to incorporate in each room. Use your sofa or a favorite painting as a guide.

Vary the height of objects. When it comes to finishing touches, it's more interesting to look at a group of tall, medium and short items.

Cluster items in uneven numbers. The asymmetry is pleasing to the eye.

Leave enough space. Where you position furniture is crucial to creating a comfortable room.