Launching a redecorating project can be daunting, especially without much experience, but basic rules can help even the most inexperienced home decorator get a start.

"Our rule is that if it brings you joy and it sparks joy, put it in your home," says Sonja Wolbert, owner of HOME by Sonja, a Maryville, Missouri-based interior styling company. "Your home should bring you peace and joy and happiness. If it doesn't do that, you need to do something about it."

Determining a project budget and deciding what is most important, such as paint, new furniture, small decorations or major structural changes, can provide a starting point. Wolbert says she breaks projects down into the foundation, the furniture and the fun.

"We first talk to them about the foundation of the room - the paint, the flooring, the privacy window treatments," she says. "Can we change those?"

Determining a personal style, such as modern, vibrant, farmhouse, vintage or minimalistic, can help limit choices and create a cohesive look. Wolbert recommends building a Pinterest page or collecting images to help formulate a personal style.

"A lot of times, they will save things and they might have a style," she says, "but they might not know what it is at first."

The furniture in a room can contribute to a look, but doesn't have to be replaced during each remodel, especially if the pieces are neutral and versatile. The positioning of furniture, or a new piece or two, can impact a room's look and flow.

"Sometimes it's new furniture," Wolbert says. "Sometimes it might be just end tables or an accent chair."

The "fun" element of design includes accent items like rugs, lamps and fabric window treatments. These items can be swapped less expensively than the foundation and furniture and can help change the look of a room.

A common problem is purchasing items that look good in the store, but the feeling doesn't translate into the home, Wolbert says. Often, the "fun" process starts with de-cluttering, Wolbert says.

"We believe that when you sit in your home and in your room, you should be surrounded with things that bring you joy and you absolutely love," she says. "We surround ourselves with stuff, and it's stuff sometimes that we don't love. Once you are surrounded by things you love, you begin to like the space more."

For maximum impact on a limited budget, Wolbert recommends starting with de-cluttering, followed by repainting. Color can help create a mood and transform a room on a limited budget.

HOME by Sonja holds "Wine and Design" classes the third Thursday of each month, focusing on a different design concept or challenge. More information is available on the HOME by Sonja Facebook page.

"It's all a personal preference," Wolbert says of home design. "Some people like a different look and different style in every room. Other people love to have that consistency and cohesiveness. It's whatever feels great and that brings them peace and joy."

Jena Sauber can be reached at jena.sauber@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPSauber.