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Welcome home: Interior designer offers five tips for home decorating

The idea of furnishing a new home can be daunting. If you’ve just rented an unfurnished flat or purchased a new home, the empty space, much like a blank page, can cause confusion.

Interior designer Rafik al-Azbawy has been there before. With his long experience in furnishing homes, he offers some cures for “designer’s block.”

1. Use a mood board

If you don’t have a specific theme in mind to start with, you need to create your own mood board. Collect all the images you like by surfing the Internet and going through home design magazines to ensure that you won’t miss a good decorating idea.

Stick all the pictures to a cork board or large piece of cardboard. You can also attach accessories and fabrics in eye-catching colors.

Then the fun part: Analyze all the mood board items, and play mix and match by tossing out the items that don’t correlate with others while figuring out which items are still missing, to complete the overall look.

2. See the whole picture

Drawing a basic outline of your home’s space is one of the priorities you should take into account before heading out to purchase furniture. Write down the length and width of each room in detail, including windows, doors and pathways.

If elements are out of proportion, the room will look unbalanced — either squeezed with many items or barren with unwanted empty spaces.

3. Fight the urge to spend

Once you are done with measuring dimensions and the picture of your new home is drawn in your mind, it’s time to look at your budget and determine how your purchasing will fit into it.

Obviously, if you have a tight budget, you should stick to the essential items. However, having simple, affordable home accessories could be a perfect way to add a personalized, attractive touch to your home.

For example, in your living room, scatter patterned cushions on the couch or place an indoor plant in one of the corners. Additionally, vivid bedding accessories enhance the look of the bed, as well as changing your simple tablecloth, runners and napkins every now and then, which gives your dining room a different appearance with almost zero effort.

4. Use themes to bring out creativity

Choosing interior design themes and styles for your home reflects your personality and taste. So go for your own striking styles, which make your house a home.

Surround yourself with styles that look harmonious and boost your mood. Azbawy suggests a sea theme for a bedroom to enhance tranquility, while comfortable, cozy and casual is better suited for a living room, where you spend most of your time.

There is nothing wrong with combining themes in your house, but avoid having more than one in a single room. Make sure the theme you have chosen matches with the space available. Some themes require more spacious rooms than others.

5. Be practical

When it comes to furnishing, put comfort on the top of your list of priorites. Home is a place that should be characterized with a sense of comfort, so don’t compromise it for elegance.

Avoid heavy, big armchairs and sofas that eat up the room’s space. Mirrors create the illusion of expanding space by reflecting view and light, so hanging a huge one with a decorative frame would be impressive wall decor and beneficial as well.

Do not display too many small home accessories. One valuable piece, such as a vase, tapestry or painting, could make a statement tforyour room without making it feel cramped.

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