Home decor ideas: 40 ways to make your home beautiful
Whether you want to update your home completely or just add pretty touches, these home…
Whether you want to update your home completely or just add pretty touches, these home decor ideas are for you. We have garnered expert tips, ideas, inspiration and advice from interior designers and the Homes & Gardens team.
Between us, we have covered every space indoors and out… and we will keep adding more home decor inspiration so that you can continue to perfect your interior design skills.
Home decor ideas
If you are looking for clever decorating ideas, useful home decor tips or simple home ideas to make your house feel homey and look beautiful, these rooms, and accompanying expert advice, are for you.
1. Lift a neutral scheme with subtle detailing
The simple addition of gold paint on the structure of the shelving is a fantastic idea for anyone considering enlivening details for their neutral room ideas. The key is subtlety.
‘A neutral needs to be paired with other materials to sing: timber and marble work well,’ says interior designer and founder of Elicyon design agency Charu Gandhi. ‘I also love teaming them with suede and woollen rugs. Ceramic, clay and colored glass are great for decorative elements.’
2. Paint window frames a bold accent shade
Adding accent colors needn’t be done through accessories alone. You can use paint.
‘Painting window frames, reveals and shutters in a strong color not only makes a striking design feature, but accentuates the view and changes the feel of the light entering the room,’ says Melanie Griffiths, Editor of Period Living magazine and regular Homes & Gardens’ contributor.
‘Opt for on-trend terracotta to imbue the space with warmth, as in this scheme by Dado Atelier, or sunny yellow to brighten the space on even the gloomiest of days.’
3. Add faux panelling to max architectural interest
Paneling ideas for walls come in all forms, from original period features to lookalike modern imitations to more imaginative treatments. This living room, by interior designer Irene Gunter of Gunter & Co, is a fine example of the latter, with faux paneling created with simple, framed wallpaper panels. Note how the sofa sits centrally under a panel, which is the perfect fit for it. This creates a neat, pleasing symmetry in interior design, only heightened by the painting in the central panel.
4. Add trim to curtains and cushions for interest
This Charlotte Gaisford-designed space not only showcases how to mix patterns in interior design perfectly, but also the importance of attention to detail – here, with trim.
‘Introduce cushions and throws to your seating – and why not add a tassel trim or fringe detail to create a more bespoke finish?’ says interior designer Martin Brudnizki. ‘You can source beautiful tassels and trims from Samuel & Sons, but if your budget is tighter I recommend VV Rouleaux.’
5. Decorate door panels to add pattern to a plain scheme
This is a beautiful way to add pattern to an otherwise plain scheme, and the beauty of it is that it can be swapped out with the seasons far more easily – and inexpensively – than the wallpaper across a whole wall can. We would advise using peel and stick wallpaper to avoid damage to the doors and to ensure that any regular swaps are easy to achieve.
6. Hang a tapestry for a layered look
This space, designed by Henriette von Stockhausen, interior designer, founder of VSP Interiors and contributor to Homes & Gardens, graced the cover of H&G magazine and we picked it because it’s a perfect example of how to use tapestries to great effect.
‘Tapestries often help to bring the outside world in, with landscape scenes of dense foliage and earthy colors. We often like to hang tapestries near or opposite windows to create an extension of the outdoor within a room,’ Creative Director of Albion Nord Camilla Clarke explains.
7. Color coordinate a flower arrangement
‘One of my favorite home decor ideas is accessorizing a room with flowers. Bringing a sense of the outdoors inside can make a space feel more calming and tranquil. From a small vase of flowers on a bedside table, to a large botanical display in a hallway or for a tablescape idea, using fresh flowers can create an inviting space that enhances feelings of happiness and positivity,’ says Homes & Gardens’ Content Editor Zara Stacey.
‘Coordinating the floral arrangement with your decor can beautifully elevate your interior design, whether that’s matching with a floral wallpaper, or using lots of foliage to complement an earthy, grounding paint shade, these natural finishing touches can often bring a design scheme together to feel balanced and complete.’
8. Embrace the revival of Chinoiserie
‘I’m loving the current revival of Chinoiserie, with wallpapers inspired by the landscapes of East Asia, and popular in the West in the mid 18th to early 19th century. With their whimsical yet intricate representations of flowers and birds, I feel the designs transport you to a fantastical, exotic paradise while heightening the sense of being connected to nature.
Diane Hill’s stunning new collaboration with Harlequin is perfect for a feature wall or window dressing. ‘We wanted to inspire people to decorate boldly, unapologetically and to their own room,’ she says. ‘The collection was based on traditional 18th-century designs, but we gave it a modern refresh.’
9. Add a surprising splash of color to trim
Just the merest splash of paint can completely transform a space and, in an open-plan area, can tie the different zones together.
The architrave in interior designer Suzy Hoodless” home was painted yellow to create a division between the two rooms but also for some sunshine in the space and to lift the room, she says.
So, why not pick out the accent color you love most and giving it a bigger role?
10. Brave a bold color in an evening-only room
‘Interior designer Jessica Buckley is known for her punchy use of color and pattern and this scheme is one of my favorites for its use of bold color and mix of patterns in this sitting room,’ says Vivienne Ayers, Houses Editor of Homes & Gardens.
‘It’s used mostly after dark so I opted for a deeper more dramatic saturated color that would be cozier in the evening,’ says Jessica. ‘The cabinetry was painted in the same color as the walls.’
11. Wallpaper an alcove
There are so many alcove ideas you can use to make spaces feel more interesting, from clever shelving units to decor tricks. We love the simplicity of the treatment here, where a shallow alcove with few opportunities for effective storage is instead given a starring role with wallpaper.
12. Hang plates for an intriguing gallery wall
Discover how to hang plates on a wall and you will quickly become hooked on creating colorful, 3D displays that artwork rarely manages to match.
This space is by Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors, but her contemporary, Emma Sims Hilditch of Sims Hilditch interior design agency says, ‘The selection of art is an intensely personal and often costly process. For those looking for a more economical and slightly different way to fill a blank space in a room, then a plate wall is a great solution and is easier to do than you might think.’
13. Style a coffee table like a design expert
Coffee table styling is one of the easiest home decor ideas you can embrace. The key? Not to put too much on a surface. However, even the most formal of living rooms, like this beautiful space by Kit Kemp, needs to be functional. This means making any coffee table styling impactful, but leaving plenty of space on the table top for you to put everything on it that you need.
14. Fill your home with house plants
‘Indoor plants have never been so accessible, you can pick up a whole jungle of greenery that will instantly bring life to a drab corner,’ advises designer Martin Brudnizki. ‘Pot up all manner of vessels with bulbs or, if this isn’t for you, simply treat yourself to seasonal fresh flowers in a pretty vase or jug.’
15. Style up a console like designers do
Discover how to style a console table and you’ll find all your surfaces become magnets for decorative displays.
‘When styling a console, I typically aim for symmetry, whether that’s accomplished with lamps, vases, or decorative objects,’ says Ashley DeLapp, founder and principal designer of Ashley DeLapp Interior Design.
16. Always, always choose interesting lamps
Interior designer Penny Morrison‘s lamp design here is a great example of how you can use lighting to create pretty little vignettes.
‘Get creative and upgrade your lampshades with something a bit more adventurous. I suppose that millinery would be an apt comparison, as shades are like hats for lamps,’ says interior designer Martin Brudnizki. ‘Whether you choose a pagoda, bell, scallop or empire-shaped shade, never forget the inside is almost as important as the outside as we often look up into lamps, and the cord should always be fabric-lined. Those small details can really make the difference.’
17. Work curves into a kitchen
Kitchens tend to be about sharp angles, so whenever you can, take the opportunity to add a softening curve. In this space by interior designer Irene Gunter, curves are part of the room’s architecture; in including them at the top of the room, they also serve to draw the eye upwards, enhancing the feeling of space.
18. Maximize the ‘fifth wall’
Ceiling ideas are often overlooked in home decor but we have seen designers embracing their power more and more in the past few months.
By using mostly white for the walls and cabinets, this kitchen by Beata Heuman allows the details to come to the fore. In particular the glass ceiling shines here, literally elevating the room and adding interest through reflections, plus a real sense of more space.
‘We approach the ceilings in key rooms such as hallways, living rooms, studies, dining rooms and cloakrooms, the same way as we approach the other surfaces,’ says interior designer Elnaz Namaki. ‘Start by thinking about the color, texture, reflection and finish already in the space.’
19. Build in a breakfast nook
Even small kitchens have space for breakfast nooks. The best are built-in to maximize a compact space, while designs that gather guests around a circular table are not just space-efficient but encourage socializing, too.
20. Frame a dining table with a feature wallpaper
Living room feature wall ideas are a regular home decor feature, but the breakfast-diner has yet to pick up on this design technique. However, it is a great way to add interest and layering to a space and to frame a dining table visually.
‘Pick a motif and run with it – here, free-flowing lines are the main star of the show,’ says Emma Thomas, Homes & Gardens‘ decorating editor.
21. Work soft furnishings into kitchens
Remember what we said about adding curves to kitchens above? Another way to soften these spaces is to add softer elements, too. Again, Irene Gunter has succeeded in creating a space that’s both practical but also comfortable and visually inviting, too. And, yes, she’s worked in curves, too.
22. Layer kitchen floors with rugs
Of course, rugs in living rooms are de rigueur, but what about as kitchen styling ideas? South Carolina-based interior designer and contributor to Homes & Gardens is a fan of layering kitchen rug ideas over hard surfaces to soften the hard surfaces, improve acoustics and add color and pattern.
23. Bring the outdoors in with botanical murals
Wall mural ideas are back with a bang, and the designs that are seeing the most traction are those that depict natural scenes.
‘Falling foliage is the look of the moment and a table decorated with a ruffled cloth enhances the wonderful, whimsical feel,’ says Homes & Gardens‘ decorating editor Emma Thomas.
Aula wallcovering in Hummingbird, Romo.
24. Fall back in love with pink
Pink room ideas really are having a rebirth. No longer limited to bedrooms only, as in this beautiful space by Irene Gunter, they are finding their way into kitchens and living spaces, too.
‘Pink is a wonderful pairing with taupe. Often dismissed as too feminine or childish, it can make a sophisticated statement,’ says Natalia Miyar, director Natalia Miyar Atelier. ‘There is something very comforting about it and the warm tones feel cozy on a chilly day.’
25. Highlight a bedroom alcove
Bedroom alcove ideas are a badly-kept home decor secret. Often overlooked they can be useful for storage or for deep bedside tables, but we love when interior designers have fun with them, such as in this bedroom by interior designer Martin Brudnizki.
26. Create grandeur with a super-sized headboard
If space is limited, too limited for space-hogging home decor ideas, there is a way to create impact in a bedroom, and that is with statement headboard ideas. Trick one is to go sculptural, creating an eye-catching shape that will soften the harder angles of doorways and built-in storage. Trick two is to go for height: doing so will make the ceiling feel taller by drawing the eye upwards. Trick three: pick a stand-out fabric.
27. Add eye-catching detail to doors
Flat-fronted doors can lack character, especially in modern homes with little architectural intricacy. However, a simple decorative application with paint can make them instantly more interesting. The key to success will be consistency across an entire story, and keeping the door’s design as pared-back as possible.
28. Design bespoke cornicing for a unique look
‘We recently designed a bespoke bobbin cornice for our childrens’ bedrooms and it just adds a beautiful layer of detailing to the decor, like a trim on a curtain or a sassy belt on an outfit,’ says Sarah Spiteri, Homes & Gardens‘ Editorial Director.
Room by Studio Spiteri.
29. Paint doors a bold, contrasting color
This room by interior design agency Gunter & Co is all soft pinks and blues, which is why the imposition of a black paint on the French doors is so effective.
‘I love the clever use of contrast in this space,’ says Jennifer Ebert, Homes & Gardens‘ Deputy Editor (digital). ‘It makes what might be traditionally considered a predominantly feminine space feel much more gender neutral. This aside, the restraint shown in only introducing black in a limited area is very elegant.’
30. Use a ‘putty’ color band to create a grounded feel
‘I love the mix of texture, such as bamboo and rattan, pattern and color in this room and the way the antique palette on the wall pulls the tones together and injects an eclectic touch,’ says H&G‘s Houses Editor Vivienne Ayers.
‘The house was built in 1850, around the time of London’s Great Exhibition, with its emphasis on cultural and decorative richness,’ says Caitlin Nicol of Kitesgrove. ‘We took our cue from that, sourcing furniture and fabrics that introduce a global flavour, along with a sense of comfort and warmth.’
31. Use wallpaper borders to create an element of surprise
‘An affordable and quick interior update is adding a colorful wallpaper border around a window, doorway or furniture to help bring new life into a space,’ says Jo Bailey, Homes & Gardens’ Deputy Editor (Print), who is a fan of this space by Susie Atkinson.
‘Borders have been used for many years to elevate the simplest of rooms, adding detail and delight in an easy affordable way. They are less of a commitment than wallpapering the whole room but still bring color and interest to walls adding an accent to contrast or compliment a room. The possibilities with them are endless,’ says Susie.
‘I tend to use them around skirting boards and doorways for a more classical feel or to create panels for walls, under the tread of a staircase and even applied to furniture for something more contemporary or dimensional.’
32. Install wood panelling for a sophisticated feel
‘Stephanie Dunning of Dunning & Everard wasn’t afraid to create a contemporary feel in a period house with this modern study, and the practical yet sleek and smart storage unit works particularly well here,’ says House Editor Vivienne Ayers.
‘The contemporary-style bespoke storage was specifically designed with shelves and drawers large enough to store work equipment, and was chosen because it was completely different to the fabric of the building. Bespoke joinery is a complete game changer when really well done,’ says Stephanie.
33. Learn how to style bookshelves
‘My favorite home decor idea is color-coordinating books on my bookshelf and open shelving,’ says Homes & Gardens‘ News Editor Megan Slack. ‘I love bookshelf ideas that play with the colors of book spines, allowing you to design a home library that makes a statement in any style of room – whether you’re working with a large office unit, a bespoke built-in, or a simple open-shelf in your bedroom. These colors are subtle enough to add just the right amount of color to a minimalist space. However, at the same time, they are vibrant enough to demand attention if you’re experimenting with a more maximalist aesthetic.
‘They bring a sense of individuality and personal style to spaces of all sizes – and every type of scheme – and it’s my favorite way to make a room feel like home instantly.’
34. Take exuberant design into bathrooms
‘Bring a sense of grandeur to your bathroom with a scenic statement wall,’ says Emma Thomas, Homes & Gardens‘ decorating editor. ‘This wallpaper panel by Pierre Frey echoes the traditional Portuguese azulejo tilework found in the palaces of Sintra, Lisbon and Porto.’
35. Never neglect a powder room
Beautiful powder room wall decor is the easiest way to make these small spaces feel loved and curated. Ensure light fittings and artwork are chosen to complement the intricacy of the wallcovering, and choose them with the same eye for detail as in a living room.
36. Make staircases more than just thoroughfares
‘My favorite home decor idea is a staircase gallery wall,’ says H&G Content Editor Rachel Crow. ‘Staircases are so often overlooked, neglected and left bare – often they are large expanses of wall begging to be accessorized. Gallery wall ideas can elevate your staircase to an area where people want to pause and admire.
‘You can break the rules when displaying art and images on a staircase gallery, too. Use the natural incline to your advantage to play with scale and hang pictures of differing shapes and sizes successfully.
‘Try theming your staircase gallery wall, such as featuring black and white photography in sleek black frames. Or choose a variety of artworks and imagery.’
‘Create an eclectic display by mixing and matching different frames,’ advises Henriette Von Stockhausen, founder of VSP Interiors.
37. Create a display of artefacts against a dramatic backdrop
If you have a collection of favorite pieces, gathering them together can make for an impactful home decor ideas. You only have to look at Gwyneth Paltrow’s china display to see how effective it can be.
Key to creating a display is finding the right backdrop, and the more dramatic the color, the more successful the effect. We love the use of the bold yellow above.
‘Sometimes you need a deeper golden color with more clout as some yellows can be too grey, too flat or just too primary,’ says Edward Bulmer, interior designer and founder, Edward Bulmer Natural Paint. ‘Earthy tobacco shades will work in any room you want to feel warm and intriguing; it is a serious color, elegant and sophisticated, which creates a fabulous backdrop to artwork and antiques, and works in a variety of spaces.’
38. Decorate a front door with a wreath
There is a wreath for every season, but hanging one on your door does more than just signal a change in the weather, it shows just how loved and curated your home is, and is a promise of what’s beyond the front door. Plus, of course, it’s one of the easiest home decor ideas you can indulge in.
39. Set the perfect scene with outdoor lighting
Bringing interior design tricks into your backyard is a home decor must, with gorgeous outdoor lighting ideas a great way to decorate a garden, and to extend its use into the evening.
‘This entire setup by The Fox Group is a dream, but I especially love the way the bistro lights are strung over the pool, so the water reflects them at night,’ says Homes & Gardens‘ Executive Editor Kaitlin Madden.
40. Decorate an outdoor space like one indoors
Outdoor living room ideas and outdoor dining ideas should be no exception to home decor rules, and while you might not introduce every aspect of interior design to your exterior, there are a number of elements that can work really successfully.
One is the color of your boundaries, whether walls or fences: paint these a dark color and they will visually recede, while providing a beautiful backdrop for planting. And, of course, there’s no reason not to adorn walls with beautifully styled shelves, too.
What are the easiest home decor ideas?
The easiest home decor ideas are all about paint. Using adventurous, subtle or bold paint ideas to pick out accent colors, to tie open-plan spaces together and even to create a color thread from one room to another is a simple technique for boosting your home decor.