Okay, so I've already regaled you with my first ten tips on how to get started decorating, and hopefully you found them helpful and maybe a little entertaining. These next five tips bring this three-part post to a close.
11. Choose accessories to suit the look of the room, and not because you think they're cute. Don't get me wrong--you should definitely love everything you buy (and everything in your home, as well!), but before you put money down on something, you should already know where it's going to go. That way, if you're rocking a Tuscan theme, you won't end up with Japanese picture frames and Colonial-style bedding (unless you definitely know those frames and that bedding will look fantastic alongside everything else). Shop conservatively and you'll avoid wasting time and money. You'll also avoid the clashing, cluttered look that is so often the hallmark of decor gone awry.
12. Keep an eye on balance and symmetry. As you arrange your room, take a step back and see if it looks uneven or too empty or dense in spots. Often the key to making a "wrong" room look right is as simple as moving a tall or heavy piece to balance out another similar piece. It doesn't make sense to cluster all your furnishings/accessories in one area while leaving other spots bare, or to place all the tall items together at one end and all the short ones at the other end. This isn't elementary school--you don't need to line up shortest to tallest anymore!
The same rule applies to colour; it looks odd to place all the darker items in one area and all the lighter ones elsewhere (same with tones and hues). If you decide to have a major piece in lime green, then place a few lime green items throughout the room as well (and while apple green--as a similarly bright, yellowish shade--would also work with the lime, blue-toned and dark forest green definitely would not). Try to maintain balance in larger spaces (entire rooms) as well as specific spots (the fireplace mantel, or a coffee table). Just keep in mind as you decorate that symmetry is visually pleasing--you'll find it's easy to achieve.
13. Splurge on lighting. Nothing says "personality-free zone" more than white walls and generic or outdated lighting fixtures. Choose ones you like but that also suit the room they'll be in (tip: fixtures don't have to match throughout the house!) Don't just update overhead lights--think about floor and table lamps too, as well as task lighting. And this might just be me, but I think almost any room looks better with a chandelier!
14. Keep the place clean. I'm not talking about scrubbing the walls and floors (although if you have the time and inclination, go for it). But it's amazing how much better a place looks when it's swept and dusted and de-cluttered. Even something simple like making the bed will result in the place looking better, and I'm willing to bet you'll feel better too. You'll also be surprised at how much bigger the rooms will seem without clothes on the floor and dishes on the counter.
15. Have fun! All the tips and rules in the world won't help you decorate if you don't enjoy doing it. At the end of the day, your home is about you and what makes you happy. That's all that really matters.
If you missed them, check out Tabula Rasa pt 1 and Tabula Rasa pt 2.