Updating your home’s look can be as simple as adding one special piece — such as a plush rug, a throw or a stunning lamp — to a room. But if you want to start from scratch, then follow these suggestions to create the home of your dreams.

Define Your Home’s Style
Just as your wardrobe reveals whether you’re a carefree mujer or the prim-and-proper type, la casita, too, is an extension of your personality. Figuring out what style you want for your home is crucial. If a warm and cozy space makes your heart leap, then you may want to opt for traditional or country furnishings, such as brass lamps, plush sofas and area rugs. Other styles to consider are classic, modern, rustic or eclectic.

Choose the Main Element
In any given room, decide what will be the element around which you will decorate. Will it be the color scheme or will it be fabrics? The furniture? Or will it be the home’s architecture that takes precedence? Whatever you decide, choosing a single element will bring your options into focus whenever other design possibilities become overwhelming.

Color Scheme
The next phase is to select a color scheme that best fits the style you’ve chosen. Experts suggest using colors that would not ordinarily occur to you. Keep in mind that any color you choose, whether bold or cool, should complement the main element that you’ve chosen.

Play with the Design
Make a diagram of your home, and lay out the color and fabric swatches, then the furniture cutouts for each room you will decorate. Experts say this is a good time to incorporate personal themes from your hobbies, heirlooms, wardrobe, favorite paintings, photographs or travel destinations. Also tear out any magazine clips of home design that inspire you.

Edit, Edit, Edit
t’s easy to have too many competing ideas. So keep things simple with this general guideline: If you choose neutral wall colors, then you will have more room for creativity or boldness with the furnishings. But if you choose bold wall colors, then you will be limited by the boldness of the furnishing you use.

Photo: Corbis Images