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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram explore page and stumbled upon a post that made you feel like your interior decorating goals were unattainable? 

Though you may not realize it, your dream design is within reach. This article will help you understand what you could be doing wrong, and what you should be doing in order to better benefit your decor-related aspirations. 

Here are five tips to help you bring your dream home to life!

Know Your Limits

When people think of their dream house, often the first thing that comes to mind is extravagance; I’m talking about houses with both elevators AND ocean views. While it can be healthy to have high standards, you still need to be rational. 

Not everyone ends up making it big, and money isn’t everything. Keep working towards that Beverly Hills mansion, but focus on your current situation first.

It is difficult to thrive in the present if you plan on putting all of your money into your future. Treat yourself well during the day-to-day while still saving up; buy or rent within your budget, learn how to work with the space you have, and build up from there. 

Trust me, you will be happier with a smaller room that you can decorate to your liking, rather than a bigger one filled with sub-par furniture that you’ll have to muster up with the scraps of your remaining budget.

Your Personality ≠ Your Aesthetic

When I first started to understand my ideal aesthetic, I realized that I had trouble separating my personality traits from my decor. 

I would buy things that correlated with my likes: (“Rocky Horror Picture Show” Funko Pop figures, Pink Floyd posters, etc.), before I questioned whether or not I could incorporate it into my room design. This has been one of the biggest struggles I’ve experienced throughout my decor journey. 

It is vital that your room resonates with you, but there is a boundary that is difficult to distinguish between regular personalization and the specific personalization that can actually serve to benefit your room’s attractiveness.

Personalize your room with decor that resonates with you, but make sure that you can still incorporate it with the rest of its surroundings. For example, I like little household items with faces on them: little frog teacups, flower pots made out of vintage baby doll heads, and salt and pepper shakers that are made to resemble bears and beehives. While these represent my individuality, they can still aesthetically work with the rest of the room.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that not every household object you own needs to have character. 

A toned-down surrounding can make intriguing decor items and unique knick knacks stand out more, which helps them maintain a sense of value in the room. If everything you buy resembles your personality in some way, you may feel overwhelmed in that environment. 

You do not need to surround yourself with character when you already have enough of it within yourself!

Focus on One Room at a Time

Even when focusing on one decor aesthetic, you can yield a decent amount of variation room-by-room. 

Knowing whether your decor piece can work within a certain room depends on factors like the color of the walls, the size and shape of the area you are working with, and even the ratio of natural to artificial lighting.

Before decor shopping, try to focus on a specific room in your home and work through different ideas for the space. Narrowing down what you are looking for not only helps you reduce impulse purchases, but it also helps boost your decisiveness. 

Of course, if you find something that you weren’t planning on incorporating, but it corresponds with the overall goal for your dream home, more power to you!

Get Inspired

Finding inspiration from others’ ideas may seem generic or unimaginative, but it is the best way to understand what does and what doesn’t work with your aesthetic. 

Apps like Pinterest and Instagram make it easy to scroll through different posts and get recommendations related to what you like. Getting inspiration from posts can not only help you find different decor ideas that can work with your dream house, but it can also help you understand which aesthetics resonate with you and which don’t.

It took me a while before I was able to develop a solid baseline of what I wanted my dream house to look like. 

I would go shopping for decor and buy items that I thought were cute, without considering how they would fit with the rest of my room. It is important to recognize that there are still decor items that you might find alluring, but that don’t fit with your overall aesthetic. 

Some themes can work well together, such as rustic and vintage aesthetics. On the other hand, if you are trying to pull modern and traditional-themed items together, it can get chaotic.

Learn to Compromise

Although you are likely to have a specific goal in mind for your home, you should remember that not everything will always work out in your favor.  

Whether it be the layout of your house or apartment preventing it from reaching its ideal design potential, a disagreement of aesthetics between you and your roommate, or your general financial situation — it is common for certain factors to get lost in translation throughout the decorating process.

Try to turn these hindrances into advantages whenever you can. The layout of your home can appear more open or closed just by the way you have your furniture positioned. If you and your roommate happen to have different preferences, find what you both can agree on by starting with simpler factors such as color schemes and patterns, and move forward from there.

While it may not look exactly like that Pinterest post you loved, these criteria can make your home all the more individualized and special.

Ava Kidd is a sophomore in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at PSU. She is double majoring in Public Relations and German. On weekends, you can find her either volunteering at the local cat rescue or solving sudoku puzzles!
Arden Ericson will graduate Penn State in May of 2023. As one of the Campus Correspondents for Her Campus at PSU, she is a double-major in Public Relations and French Language. After graduation, she will pursue a career that combines her passion for educational equity, social justice and French.