The last bits and pieces of the Christmas holidays have been taken down and put away. It’s a New Year – and time for a reality check.

If you’re looking around your home and it seems like something is wrong and it’s just not working anymore, start by assessing what you like, what you’re not sure you like, what you dislike or what you just hate.

First, see if you need to add or possibly subtract furniture, accessories, paint colors, rugs, lamps, floors – or perhaps all of the above. Take pictures of all the stuff you want to sell or give away.

Remove those items from the room and put them out of sight. If you don’t miss them after a week goes by, you need to take them out of your house entirely. This is a great time to donate them to a charity.

I love the room-by-room approach method of interior decorating for the long term. Of course if you’ve just moved into a new home without any furniture, that’s a perfect clean slate for a new beginning.

In either case, try to picture your home as a totality rather then trying to decorate each room individually.

Start by deciding on a common style or theme throughout all of your rooms.

The perfect use of a color thread (as I like to call it) used in a variety of ways and in slightly different shades throughout the house bonds the entire decorating scheme solidly together.

Naturally, having decided on what colors you are going to use in furniture helps the plan.

The easiest way is to keep large pieces of furniture, such as couches, chairs and beds, neutral. Then you can work with various shades of colors on walls, accessories, pillows and rugs.

Here is an example of the color thread that can work in almost any situation. Shades of your favorite neutrals – including grays, taupes, whites and bones, tans, golds and certain shades of mossy greens – can be the “thread” color combinations.

Carefully pick and choose four or five of the above. The more neutral you stay, the easier it can be for you to work them together.

Another element in a long term decorating scheme is to create an equal distribution of weight in a room.

My theory for successful design planning is that less is more. You want to create a symmetrical balance to give each room a comfortable, neat and balanced setting without cluttering.

Function for the “perfect” home is more then just eye appeal. It is making the room really work for you.

Here are a few pointers on how to do it:

Find the focal point in the room. This could be a fireplace, bay window, or even a bookcase.

If the room does not have a focal point, create one. It might be a large, fabulous, dynamic piece of art or a colorful area rug.

With all these pieces in place, you are well on your way to your new, fabulous home.

Remember to love where you live and live where you love.

Diamond Riegel is an interior design consultant and owner of Designs by Diamond, Bluffton.