Guest Post: Decorating Skills For Those With Good Taste But No Skills

I've said it before and I'll say it again...blogging has such a beautiful way of bringing people, of all ages, in all stages of life, together to form such an amazing community. I am blessed today to introduce an incredible mompreneur that has not only inspired me with how she runs and manages her life but motivates me to continue to keep my faith and family first in all things while remaining true to who I am.

Jennifer Faris, is a mom to 4 beautiful children, photographer, serial-entrepreneur, and blogger. To say this woman is talented is an understatement! (Remember when I did that camera strap post back in January?? Ya...she's one of the designers AND co-founders for JAK Designs...if you don't know what I'm talking about check them out here!). This woman is a true testament to staying faithful to what your heart desires and I am so honored to have her as my guest on today's blog post! Check out her super amazing post about how to decorate your home with good taste but no skills. You're going to LOVE it!

I’m so excited to be posting over here today on Tessa’s site!  If you follow Tessa you already know what a talented designer she is, and she makes it look so easy. I love everything she shares with us as she and Guy transform their fixer upper into the home of their dreams. They make it look so fun and they’re so stinkin’ cute in the process! Doesn’t it just make you want to jump right in and transform your home too?

Yeah well. I’m here to confess something. While I may have good taste, maybe even great taste when it comes to design and décor - I got no skills. None. Zip. Zilch.


So what’s a gal to do when she desires to have a beautiful home but doesn’t have to talent to make it so? Well through plenty of trial and error I’m happy to share with you the secrets of how I finally have the living room makes my heart happy. So without further adieu, here’s a bit of decorating wisdom for those of us who have no decorating skills.

1. Start with one room and create an inspiration board on Pinterest. (If you’re old school or anti-Pinterest no problem -  just pour over design magazines and tear out everything that makes your heart skip a beat). Here’s a peak at some of my pins from my living room board

Go to town, don’t discriminate.  This is the dreaming part so dream big! Take your time.

2. Now that you have your board filled with images, list what they all have in common. For example, when I looked at my living room board on my Pinterest page, I realized I’m drawn to:

  • white (or very light) walls with tons of natural light
  • natural elements and texture (wood, plants, leather, fur or faux fur)
  • pops of color
  • Something (artwork) that makes the space completely unique

They might have had other things in common as well but those were the things that I really loved, that I knew I wanted to incorporate into my own home.

3. Look at your list and figure out what’s realistic for you. I have 4 kids, 2 dogs and a husband who is losing his vision SO here’s what I determined:

  • Light Light Light. I need lots of light for my husband to be able to see so I decided to paint my walls white from the beige-ish color they were. Not only would this brighten up the room (yes, going from beige to white really DOES make that much of a difference) but I knew it would make the room look bigger too (bonus!). I also decided on some new lamps and a white rug. I know what you’re thinking. 4 kids + 2 dogs + white rug = dumb idea. Well, I realize it’s a risk so I decided to pick a rug that didn’t break the bank so I could easily replace it in a year or two if necessary (and I dusted off my carpet cleaner…and invested in lots of hydrogen peroxide). Boom, done.
  • Despite my love for a beautiful wood coffee table, all I can see is head injuries from my rambunctious kids and shin injuries for my husband who might bump into it. So a “cushiony” ottoman it is.

  • I realllllllly want a particular leather sectional that I have pinned but it’s not in the budget so for now my couch has to do. I’m hopeful though that I will someday be able to afford said dream couch so I made sure that I created a space that works for my current couch as well as my future couch.

4. Determine your budget. Yuck, the ‘B’ word - I know. But if you’re committed to getting it right, you need to figure out what you can realistically spend. Then you can prioritize. For instance, if you have a budget of $100 then in my opinion the most transformative thing you can do (if it’s on your list) is paint. Even the “real deal” designers will tell you the same thing so I know I’m right on this one. If you have $1000 you still need to prioritize. Do you get one great statement piece? Or a bunch of smaller things? What can you DIY? While I would love to have built in bookshelves I knew I wanted to allocate my money elsewhere so instead I did my own version of these Ikea Billy bookshelves DIY that I found on Pinterest.

Your budget will help you figure out your priorities.

5. Know your limitations. I’m a photographer, not a designer. So therefore, despite the fact that I WISH I knew what I was doing, the reality is I really don’t. So for some things I simply rely on other’s expertise, even when it comes to picking out white paint. You might think that would be the easiest task in the world but I assure you it’s not. There are so many shades of white they will make your head spin. Some will make your room look blue, some will make it look yellow. So I googled the heck out of it, took notes and narrowed it down to two colors that were the clear winners amongst dozens of design bloggers. Then I got samples, tried them out in a couple different spots and picked my favorite. Thank you for all the free advice Google – I couldn’t have done it without you!

6. Go ahead and break some rules. After I just told you to rely on other’s expertise now I’m telling you that sometimes it’s best to listen to your own instincts. I read over and over again not to put furniture up against a wall but after rearranging furniture in my head a hundred different ways I know without a doubt that my couch needs to be right where it is, against the wall.

7. Have Patience. Ugh, that’s about as exciting as when I told you to know your budget. But seriously, even if you have a million dollars you should still take your time. This, my friends, is because you and I don’t really know what we’re doing so chances are we might make a mistake or two. Which brings me to my next point, don’t be afraid to change something you put time, effort and money into if you don’t love it. Forgive yourself and just move on. This is where the patience comes in, sometimes it takes a few tries before you get it right. Take my bookshelf for instance, it’s a work in progress. I often move things around to try to improve the overall look. And yes, I read lots of articles on how to style bookshelves but unfortunately it didn’t immediately make me an expert. Darnit.

8. Finally, have fun. For me, I wanted my living room to be a space that is comfortable, bright, easy to clean up and somewhere I enjoy being. Putting my own unique touch in the room is definitely what I love the most. For instance, this canvas:

I took one of my favorite verses from the bible and looked for ideas as to how to display it. I created this in Photoshop after finding a few different pieces of art that inspired me and had it printed on white leather canvas.

Another idea that I will ALWAYS push is family photos.

There is nothing more unique than your own beautiful family hanging on your wall. Print. Your. Photos. (That’s my photographer’s PSA for the day).

That’s it guys! I would love for you to keep in touch by following me on social media and/or signing up to receive my blog posts (In addition to photography I also post about my home and family and I’m getting ready to show another update on my dining room…). Do you have any more tips that I might have missed? Any questions for me? Leave a comment below.

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