Home decorating isn't a task that comes easily to everyone. There's a lot to choose from with a sea of paint colors, flooring options, furnishings, and ideas available on the Web. We've sorted through the best the Web has to offer to help you freshen up your home's look, whether you're looking to find general inspiration, get ideas or buy items for specific rooms, or hire a professional.
When it comes to décor, the Internet offers a wealth of inspiration and resources. Whether you're sprucing up the guest bedroom or revamping your entire home, the sites in this section help get your project off the ground.
- As you begin to plan a decorating project, identifying your preferred decorating style is key. Whether you're choosing a new bedspread or doing a complete home makeover, knowing your color palette and having an overall aesthetic can help you create rooms that complement each other. You will also save time when searching for design solutions. However, don't feel limited by your chosen style—it's meant to be a guide and you are welcome to choose eclectic pieces that don't necessarily match your aesthetic, but just feel right.
- If you don't have a particular project in mind but know that you need a change, try browsing through some Web sites and see what other people have done to the interior and exterior of their homes.
- Consider buying a Decorating Assistant; this handy filing system keeps all of your plans, samples, and contact information in one portable container.
- If you start to feel overwhelmed and want to hire a professional decorator, read this article first.
To find your decorating style ...
offers a playful style quiz that helps you easily identify your preferred decorating style and doesn't baffle you with fancy design terms. Browse this site further for a well-written decorating blog, style slideshows and explanations in its "Designers' Portfolio" page, and tons more decorating resources.
has put together a style questionnaire that suits those with enough decorating knowledge to understand the difference between "pleated shades" and "swags and jabots."
For popular decorating styles ...
compliments the magazine of the same name and provides a very readable description of the casual, comfortable, antique-rich "country style."
Taunton's Inspired House
clears up the free-for-all misconception of the "eclectic style" in this article, revealing discipline and subtleties that go into this funky and unique decorating philosophy.
Better Homes and Gardens
runs you through a few of the more common decorating themes and styles with beautiful pictures to accompany its concise explanations. After you've browsed the styles, further explore this site for great tips, tools, and ideas for your own home.
To find a designer or decorator ...
The American Society of Interior Designers
allows you to search for designers' Web sites by location. This site boasts a wealth of information and gives tips on finding and hiring the right interior designer for you.
compiles over 30,000 images of interiors and exteriors, accessible to fee-paying members. Once you've joined, you can also use a regional supplier directory and retrieve countless articles.
For home decorating tips and guidance ...
is a professional interior design service that's useful whether you're looking to hire a pro or not. The site comprises designer tips, inspiring before-and-after photos, and links allowing you to purchase the design team's latest book or subscribe to a free newsletter.
provides a wide variety of decorating resources. Articles, tips, books, and interior products for every room in the house are available here. You can shop by style and also subscribe to a free newsletter.
Decorating your home doesn't have to bust your budget. There are tons of deals to be had. The sites in this section steer you toward those gems, and help ensure you're not spending a dollar more than you must.
- Keep a running list of the items with the best prices you've come across and be sure to note or bookmark the Web sites where you found them. Even if you don't buy the items online, your research can give you an idea as to how much you ought to pay when shopping.
- Be willing to splurge on a few essentials—the things you can't live without. More money can often mean better quality, and your home is a worthy investment.
- Before you go hunting for bargains, stop by home improvement sites such as Home Depot or Lowe's first to calculate an initial price range for your project.
For product reviews and information ...
offers unbiased product reviews and recommendations. The fact that it does not sell advertising space or accept free samples from any company it evaluates attests to its trustworthiness. For $24 a year, or $5.95 a month, you can access an online database of products, including a large section devoted to home and garden.
For price comparisons ...
offers a "Your Lists" feature where you can track any number of products to find the best deal available, subject to your specifications. This deal-finding site's home and garden section lets you scour a vast database of merchants for the lowest price for your decorating needs, as well as search for merchant ratings, coupons, and rebates.
brings you its practical "True Price" feature, which calculates the tax and shipping costs from all possible vendors based on your zip code. This is a truly useful source of comparisons for your online shopping. A "Price History" chart also accompanies each product description on this price comparison Web site.
is less cluttered than most other price comparison sites, and they make it easy to shop by price range or by brand.
offers the same basic service as Sortprice, with a slightly flashier and sometimes busier look.
has created a smiley-face store rating system that is a cheesy but simple tool to help you choose a vendor. The database is searchable in terms of price and category. But the results rarely produce more than one merchant for each item, so it is more useful as a shopping search tool than as a price comparison tool.
Redecorating what may be the most well-used room in the home can seem like a monumental task. The sites in this section shrink the challenge to a more manageable size and help you tackle with ease what otherwise might appear to be a gargantuan project.
- Print out pictures of rooms you particularly like and keep them by your side for inspiration and reference as you surf.
- Most online decorating magazines price the products featured and list places where you can buy them-making it easier for you to shop.
For general tips about decorating your living room ...
Better Homes and Gardens
presents "24 Fresh Living Rooms," a slideshow with pictures of great living rooms and decorating tips to help you create that perfect look. The related article about "20 Small House Dos & Don'ts
"will show you the best ways to decorate a small space.
Home Decorating Made Easy
teaches you how find a focal point in your living room and arrange your furniture to draw attention to the most attractive or appealing features in the room.
For living room furniture ...
Find Your Furniture
provides a room planner that lets you design, rearrange, and try out any number of configurations for your room without lifting one piece of furniture. Other handy tools on this site include a style profiler that finds the look best suited to your personality, and a furniture finder that points out the best store for your style and price requirements.
is a forum where manufacturers, retailers, and design professionals come together to help consumers create the home of their dreams. The site offers premium design choices for every room in the house with the aim of helping visitors understand the options available. Moving through this site is easy-there are plenty of products and tips, and also a guide for those looking to hire a professional decorator.
offers a wealth of timeless furniture. You can browse among the furniture or look over a few detailed "Room Scenes" to get a better feel for what you like. You cannot order items from this site, but you can enter your zip code to find the closest retailer.
presents its "Design Your Own" feature, enabling visitors to wax creative by mixing and matching furniture with their preferred fabric and wood finishes. The site allows you to archive your favorite finds, so you can refer to them again and again as your project moves forward.
For area rugs, carpet, and other living room flooring ...
is devoted to area rugs and residential carpets. The site's "Rug Binder" feature allows visitors to play around with a variety of styles and colors. This company is committed to environmentally friendly practices, such as conserving energy and eliminating waste.
features ceramics, hardwood, and laminates in addition to area rugs and carpets. Stop by at their "Idea Gallery
" to choose a room and see how it looks with different floor designs. For a small fee, you can order a sample of flooring to try out in your own home.
is another environmentally conscious company with a vast collection of versatile rugs and carpets. This site features informative videos on choosing a carpet or rug.
has tips on taking floor measurements, installation, and how to care for your floor. After 125 years in the carpet business, this company has recently expanded to include all types of flooring-such as ceramics, hardwood, and laminates.
For window treatments ...
's vast selection of window treatments offers a boost to a decorator's imagination with a colorful photo gallery. The "Getting Started" and "Measure + Install" pages may help bring your vision closer to reality, even if you're a novice.
not only has a large "Idea Gallery" where visitors can get inspired but also a "Quick Price" feature that provides an on-the-spot estimate adjusted to the dimensions of your windows.
is a wide-ranging Web site with a "Product Advisor" to help visitors get started. This virtual advisor invites you to consider your space and style while selecting your new window treatments.
employs a variety of bright colors to create both an attractive Web site and vibrant window treatments. A catalogue
can be ordered here, and there is a step-by-step guide to measuring windows.
Renovating these two seemingly very different locations requires similar products such as tiles, sink fixtures, and plumbing materials. Here we'll point out sites where you'll be able to meet your kitchen and bathroom decorating needs.
- The inner workings of kitchens and bathrooms tend to be more complicated than other rooms in the house, so you may want to consult an expert before getting started. Even speaking with the kitchen and bathroom experts at Home Depot or Lowe's can help, and many Web sites have "ask an expert" or "contact us" sections through which you can query professionals.
For kitchens and bathrooms ...
explains that there are essentially three ways to change the look of your kitchen: refurbishing, remodeling, and redecorating. Helpful tips are provided for all three methods.
suggests some simple, budget-conscious techniques you can use to give your kitchen the different look you've been wanting.
teaches about wall treatment techniques and color schemes you can use to create a modern, country, casual, or traditional look in your bathroom.
offers some decorating tips for your bathroom. If you think toilet paper only has one purpose, guess again. Turns out, you can also use it to decorate!
provides everything from fixtures to surfaces to accessories. There is a convenient search bar at the top of the screen for those who know exactly what they want, but the site is so well organized that not much detective work is required.
Vintage Tub & Bath
has a large stock of clawfoot tubs and farm-style kitchen sinks for those who like to keep tradition alive in their homes. The site also carries shower supplies, toilets, drains, and many classic accessories.
makes it easy to resolve issues concerning products or installation, as you can chat online with a customer service representative at any time.
specializes in faucets and sinks, as might be expected, and also carries more unusual items such as a large selection of bidets. Visitors can search for products by brand or featured collection, and can call a representative six days a week to get assistance.
has come up with a "Design and Create" feature that allows visitors to visualize their projects in a virtual space before bringing them into the real world. There are also extensive photo galleries for both kitchens and bathrooms to inspire the designer in you.
For kitchen and bath accessories ...
has just about every accessory imaginable, supplied from well-reputed kitchen and bathroom specialists. You'll also find installation and care and maintenance tips for their countertops, and a guide to heated floor systems.
Stacks and Stacks
is a one-stop shop for organizing the home. It has accessories for every room in the house, including the kitchen and bathroom. Find shelves, cabinets, and organizers of all shapes and sizes for your kitchen and bath.
To focus on kitchens ...
goes beyond the essential kitchen cabinets and appliances to consider the culinary experience itself, listing a number of mouth-watering recipes. Visit the "Kitchens to Inspire" section to see different styles of kitchens in the "Kitchen Gallery."
The Workshops of David T. Smith
are a family-owned and -operated business that have designed and built over 300 kitchens, uniting modern and functional design with an 18th- and 19th-century rustic style. Order furniture, pottery, and accessories for your kitchen on the Web site, or have them design, build, finish, and install your new kitchen.
offers just about every tool necessary for the cooking or baking experience. Choose from over 50,000 products and get free shipping when you spend $99 or more.
For bathrooms alone ...
is a forum for those looking to update their bathrooms. The site provides tips on redesigning a bathroom, covers the latest design trends, and directs visitors to free online quote systems where they can get estimates for their projects.
is a good resource for all bathroom accessories, from towels and rugs to mirrors and hardware. The site specializes in hard-to-find period hardware, lighting fixtures, and finishes.
The most private of rooms, your bedroom is where you can decorate with total independence, without regard to what others might think. The Internet can assist you in fashioning a serene and stylish bedroom-the ultimate place for you to relax and recharge.
- While many of the best deals on mattresses can be found online, nothing beats a test run. Visit a local mattress store to get an idea of what you'd like before searching online for the best price.
For bedroom decorating tips ...
Rental Decorating Digest
supplies decorating ideas for a variety of bedroom types, including children's, teenagers', and even romantic bedrooms. If you're just looking for something basic, you'll find simple decorating tips here, too.
Better Homes and Gardens
presents "Beautiful Boudoirs," which offers tips for designing your dream bedroom. Check the galleries on the page to get some visual inspiration for your bedroom.
The Better Sleep Council
Web site has plenty of fun facts about how to sleep well plus a mattress buying guide. Use the "Bedroom Makeover" tool in "The Ideal Bedroom" section to create a sleep sanctuary just right for you.
Bedroom Designs and Decorations
provides articles, resources, and detailed descriptions of the many bedroom styles out there. Options are organized by design elements (window treatments and beds and bedding) and design styles (vintage, Italian, or babies, just to name a few).
For mattress and bed shops ...
is a full-service bedroom Web site providing larger items like mattresses and headboards as well as other necessities such as linens and pillows. Visitors can shop by style, product category, or brand name.
's offers just about every type of mattress there is, as well as bedroom accessories such as headboards. The site provides extensive tips for mattress care and some wise words on how to get a good night's sleep. The "Find A Showroom" feature makes it easy to locate the store nearest you.
A Brass Bed Shoppe
carries a large selection of brass and iron beds, daybeds, kid's beds, and cribs. The site offers a convenient layaway plan for shoppers: simply make a $25 payment to reserve your order and then pay $25 each month. Also take advantage of discontinued and overstocked beds on clearance.
Charles P. Rogers
was established in 1855 and sells a large assortment of elegant beds including sleigh beds, canopy beds, platform beds, and trundle beds. There is also an array of European and Egyptian cotton linens to choose from. Under "Useful Information," check out the "Glossary" for a list of helpful bedding terms.
An increasing number of people can commute to work without opening the front door. If you're one of them, then you might want to consider the design of your home office. The ideal domestic workspace is an area distinct from the rest of the residence, a place where you can mentally, if not physically, leave your home to concentrate on business. The following sites help you create an office bubble that is both a separate unit and unobtrusive.
- If you don't have an extra room to turn into an office but do have a guest room, consider combining the two. Have a bed and side table for your guests and leave the rest of the space for a desk and possibly bookshelves, or an armoire outfitted with a desk, filing drawers, and computer equipment that can be shut away when not in use. You might also consider transforming an attic or basement into an office if the temperature there is comfortable.
- Be mindful of lighting in your office. It's an easily overlooked detail, but can seriously affect your productivity.
- Different jobs require very different home offices. Consider these tips from iVillage as you start to put yours together.
offers decorating tips from a designer for the television sitcom Will and Grace. Learn how to make your space enjoyable and keep out the unnecessary clutter when you work.
helps you choose home office colors that can improve your mood when you're busy in a home office. If you feel distracted in your office right now, chances are that a change in paint color will help. You'll learn about cool, warm, and neutral colors that will make for a great workspace.
is a specialist store that covers the whole panoply of office equipment. Large items such as desks, bookshelves, lighting fixtures, and storage cabinets are available, as are electronic items such as computers and printers. There is also a convenient "Business Resource Center
" designed to advise small business owners.
The Container Store
is an organization haven. The site has a range of shelving options for different spaces and a "Plan a Space" feature that can help you figure out what system is best for your home office. You'll also find office furniture, storage cabinets, desk accessories, and more.
Home Office Furniture
lives up to its name and offers the ultimate in large accessories for any home office. The site is well structured, searchable, and has an online showroom where you can get plenty of ideas about arranging your home office.
Changing the wallpaper and repainting are among the more manageable tasks in home improvement but they can easily have pronounced and lasting effects on the ambiance of your home. If a visual rather than a functional change is in order, then consider the patterns and colors of your walls first. Altering them is relatively easy and might satisfy that craving for something new. The sites in this section aid you in envisioning that new look, and making that vision a reality.
- Visit Domino Magazine to use the "Design Calculators" (under "Resources"). The calculators help you figure out how much paint and/or wallpaper your project requires. The site also has articles about how to apply paint and wallpaper.
- If you need to remove some wallpaper, read this article from HGTV.
For wallpaper ...
sells a large selection of wallpaper and fabric. It also provides a "Decorating Studio" where you can dress a blank room with the wallpaper of your choice. You can browse the "Great Rooms" photo gallery if you're in need of inspiration, or visit the "Project Center" for home project ideas and step-by-step instructions.
Brewster Wallcovering Company
has wallpaper as well as murals and posters if you're looking for something a little more original. The "Find Products" search system is very thorough as it asks for a specific room, preferred color, and preferred theme. Check out the "How to Hang" section for detailed instructions on preparing walls and hanging new wallpaper. There is also a "My Choices" feature, allowing you to keep track of your favorite items.
offers more than 1,000 vintage wallpaper patterns from the 1860s to 1970, as well as linoleum flooring from the turn of the century to the 1950s. These products are very distinctive but can be costly.
is the oldest and largest wallcovering manufacturer in the United States, founded in 1895. The Web site has an in-depth search system that invites visitors to search by collection, room, color, style, or theme. There is also a comprehensive "Installation" page with detailed instructions including animated instructions that show you how to prepare and hang wallpaper. Under "Ask the Designer," visitors are encouraged to ask Betty, York's resident wallcoverings expert, questions about their project.
For paint ...
has many resources for the homeowner. There are several projects and how-to guides featured on their Web site. There is also a page called "My Favorites" (which requires registration before using) where visitors can save links to favorite paint colors and other products they'll need. Color trends and photos highlighting the latest design fashions are easy to find on the site.
has all the resources one needs to get started on a painting, staining, or wallpapering project. There are tips and how-to guides and also a "Problem Solver
" feature that describes the most common paint problems and the best ways to address them.
Old Village Paint
offers a rare palette of Colonial, Federal, and Victorian period paint colors to give your home an authentic historical flavor. Visit the "Preparation and Application" page for detailed instructions on using these paints.
has created a line of luxury organic paints made from all natural ingredients. Browse the "Palettes" area for a list of color collections with names like "Odd Sorbets" and "Ancient Americas." The site provides a "How to Use" page for those working with this type of paint for the first time.
To hire a professional ...
offers free estimates and tips on hiring a contractor. You can search this nationwide network of 3,000 pre-screened and pre-qualified remodeling contractors to find the painting and wallcovering expert closest to you.
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