Home decoration is not rocket science and, let’s face it, you’re not going to win a Nobel Prize no matter how nice your living room is. But the furnishings you surround yourself with can change your standard of life, and having a well-sorted out space makes you feel better about being at home. The good news is it’s possible to create a great home environment whether your tastes are ultra-expensive, Moore Park mid-price or auction/ op shop bargain.

We all know the bare basics of home decorating: couch faces TV, piles of stuff are better out of sight, windows need coverings. But have you ever noticed that some people -“ even those with the same sort of furniture as you -“ have a real knack for making things look great? They’re probably living by a few simple rules.

Rule one: Think before you buy. With a plethora of home decorating shops around and everything getting cheaper, it’s too easy to see something silly in a store and buy it on a whim. But are you really going to want to put an ancient-style Balinese CD rack in your house? Is that giant indoor water feature really going to say something positive about you when stood among the rest of your furniture?

Rule two: Less is more. A great couch and some open space is going to look much better than an over-sized sofa system, especially one which doesn’t fit into your lounge. Concentrate on buying one or two items at a time, and trying them out in your house. It’s also a good idea to have an understanding of your room size before heading to the shops -“ that entertainment unit might seem unassuming in the warehouse surrounds of its store, but probably won’t look so subtle in your four-metre-wide terrace house.

Rule three: Think about themes. This doesn’t mean decorating in a Siegfried and Roy-esque Las Vegan jungle-style, but it’s a good idea to think about matching your furnishings with the style of your house. If your home is ultra-modern, modern furnishing will suit. Matching modern and vintage pieces can be wonderful, but don’t be fooled into thinking something is cool just because it’s a bit old and a bit crappy. And whatever you do, rethink any decision to use vertical blinds, even if you are in a bad 70s apartment block. They’re horrible.

Rule four: Listen to people. Not your vertical-blind loving mother, but people who have decorated in a style you like. If you have a friend with an unmistakable sense of style, tell them. They’ll love it, and generally be happy to pass on some suggestions about what to do at your place. Have a look at design magazines and think about what makes the rooms in the photos look so good.

Most importantly, rooms in magazines usually look good because they’re clean and free from crap. Make sure you stay on top of the amount of clutter you surround yourself with. If your own sense of style includes lots and lots of stuff, then make sure you’ve still got room to breathe and stretch out a bit.

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