Define your Look
Given your home's architecture and your personality, begin by selecting a personal design theme.  It is your world. Whether you are building new or redecorating a room - or the whole house - the place to begin in the project is with you.  Ultimately, the best designs reflect your personality and those of your family.   That means taking a look at your lifestyle as well as what you like.
Shop Prepared
Knowing what you want is just the beginning.  You can be the biggest help to yourself if you arrive prepared.  This is actually the beginning of the fun part.  Tae all your ideas with you.  Put together a traveling kit with pillows, fabric swatches, paint chips, and magazine shots of things you love.  This will help you illustrate common designs that appeal to you and coordinate a room.  Find your colors and tones and stay within that range.  If you are prepared, you can be confident knowing your lifestyle, preferences and personality are part of the decision making process.

Select items suited to your room
Look for traffic flow and how your family lives.  A polypropylene rug is great for that space where spills may happen and a silk pillow is an elegant addition to the master bedroom but not the playroom.  If you are going to worry about a piece being broken or getting dirty it is the wrong choice for that room.  Be careful to match sizes of items to the size of the room.  An unusual oversized accent is a great focal point and conversation starter.  But a room filled with items that are over-scaled will leave it looking small and cluttered.  Always remember to carry your room dimensions in your traveling decorating kit.

Select colors and tones with the same value range - light, medium, dark
 Colors are a wonderful way to express yourself and your fashion sense.  If you are hesitant about bold or vivid colors, go with neutrals like one tone of warm cream in your area rug and another for walls and accent pillows.  Warm colors like red and orange make a room feel cozy while blues and greens make for a light and airy space.   Borrow colors from your upholstery to coordinate rugs, pillows, and artwork or from the floor up using a great area rug as a focal point and pulling colors and textures from it for upholstery and accessories.  If you need to decorate over time, you will have a reference of color and texture from which to build your dream home.  A few days invested up front in living with your selections can save money and heartache in the long run.  Get a quart of paint and cover a portion of the wall.  Tape fabrics and lay your rug up against it.  Walk past your test area for a full day and see how it feels to be living with this color scheme.  Watch for color shifts as light changes from early morning to evening.  Hint: pure white ceilings tend to neutralize your color scheme.  Painting the ceiling a subtle tint of your main color will actually compliment your color scheme.  

Decorate around elements you love
We recommend that you start with the piece you love the most and work around it.  Artwork, a sofas, an area rug or even a favorite pillow can help create your decorating palette.  It is a favorite for a reason and most often the reason is you like the design and colors.  When you know the starting point, find three coordinating fabrics and you are on your way to a fabulous room. Just remember to make choices that you like, reflect your personality and will make your home comfortable.