How To Decorate Your Home
Are you overwhelmed at the thought of having to decorate an entire house?Whether you’re planning on decorating a new build or an old house, there’s a lot to consider when figuring out a decorating plan. But don’t let that scare you! Consider this page your ultimate guide to decorating a house.
How to Decorate Your First Home
Buying your first home is such a monumental occasion and a huge reason to celebrate! If you have just received the keys to your first home – congratulations! I’m sure you’re eager to get started making it yours. While both new builds and older houses have their quirks – new construction often lacks charm and character while older homes may have too much – the decorating process will be quite similar.
Assess The Current State
The first thing you must do, no matter the house, is assess what you’re working with. What are the “givens” that cannot be changed? This may be room size, low ceilings, poor natural light. These could also be items that cannot be changed due to budget constraints such as tile floors, kitchen cabinets or pieces of furniture. If you have the budget, this assessment may lead to realize that certain items will need to be changed before proceeding with the decorating stage.
What’s Your Personal Decorating Style?
After assessing the current state of your home, you need to hone in on your personal decorating style, research and decide what style you want to decorate in. You can choose to go farmhouse, coastal, traditional, boho or even mix different design styles to create something uniquely “you”. Don’t worry about the name of whatever style you’re drawn to, just keep mental or written notes (a Pinterest board is great!) of paint colors, accent colors and design elements that you’re naturally drawn to. If you have no idea at all what your style is, then these 5 tips to finding your personal decorating style will be helpful. Don’t be afraid to use your style of home as a starting point but equally don’t be afraid to not let the style of your home dictate how you want to decorate!
What Mood or Feeling Do You Want to Convey?
Next, try to envision how you want your home to feel. Do you want it to have a casual, relaxed vibe or for it to have lots of drama? Make you want it to feel bright and energizing? This mood or atmosphere is a very important first step in decorating a home you’ll love!
Where To Start When
Decorating a Whole House
Start With The Room You Use The Most
The order in which you start decorating your house can seem like a colossal choice, especially when faced with a whole house of decorating. My advice is to start with whatever room you spend the most time in – usually this means the living room. Most guests won’t see bedrooms, so the main living space is usually a good starting point.
Choose a Color Scheme
If you already have furniture that you need to work around, then deciding on color scheme that will work with what you already have is essential. If you’re completely starting from scratch, choosing a whole house color scheme is an important exercise to consider before painting any walls or making large furniture purchases.
Don’t Purchase All The Furniture At Once
If you need to buy all the furniture for your home, don’t buy everything at once. Decorating is an organic process, and rarely comes together quickly (unless you’re a professional interior designer!). Taking time to make choices and see what’s working is what will result in the best outcome.
Purchase the essentials: a couch, a bed and a table to eat at (if your house doesn’t have an island).
If these decisions need to be made urgently, make sure to measure correctly and choose colors that will be easy to work with (neutrals are always a safe option!).
Ready for some inspiration? Here are my favorite room makeovers to help get those decorating juices flowing!
see more room makeovers >>
Space planning is really important in order to ensure that your room looks its best and functions as intended. Furniture needs to fit the scale of the room, and rooms may need to accomodate several zones.
Learn how simple it is to create a space plan and get the most out of the furniture layout in your home.
Room by Room Decorating Basics
Now you’re ready to start the really fun stuff!
Pick an Inspiration Piece
Once you’ve got got an idea of how you want your home to look and feel, it’s time to start the real decorating! I like to design my rooms by picking one inspiration piece and using it as a jumping off point.
This inspiration can be anything… it could be
a fabric swatch
or even just a photo of a room you want to emulate
Room Decorating Guides
I’ve compiled room by room guides of decorating basics for each space in your home, to help you get a sense of what you need, how to ideally arrange furniture and tips for styling spaces.
Other Decorating Resources
To help you during the decorating process, I have compiled some shopping resources that may be of help to you. From rugs to accent chairs and Fixer Upper inspired styles, it’s all covered here.
Furniture and Accessories
Design Tips and Tricks
Are You Ready to Start Decorating?
Do you feel better prepared to start decorating your home? I hope so! If you still think you need some extra help, my e-Book, Home in Progress: The Ultimate Home Decorating Guide is another great resource chock full of information to help you on your decorating journey!
Have a specific question you need help with? I’m always available through my Ask a Decorator service!
How to Create a Decorating Plan for Your Home
With all of the information (and inspiration) in magazines and on the web, it is easier and more affordable than ever to decorate your home yourself. However, if you can’t visualize what a room or space will look like after it is done, how do you even know where to begin? Start by creating a decorating plan.
Planning is essential to not only staying on track during a decorating project but also to finishing well. Here’s how to create a decorating plan that works.
Keep a Notebook or Journal of Ideas
You can purchase an unlined sketchbook for this, or a standard notebook will work fine. Fill with photos of rooms, furniture, artwork or accessories that you like; paste in paint and fabric samples or colors that you are drawn to; jot down any other inspirational ideas that come to mind. You should begin noticing a certain style and color scheme emerging.
Using Your Notebook, Make a Priority List
Many designers will have you do this first, but researching ideas before deciding what to do may help you see your existing furnishings and decor in a whole new light. What is in your notebook that you would like to incorporate in your space? What DIY ideas did you run across that might work for you? Can you transform any of your existing pieces?
Decide on Your Budget
To keep yourself out of serious financial trouble, you’ve got to decide if you have $15 or $15,000 for your decorating project before you begin. Use your priority list to formulate your budget. To make your project more affordable and manageable, you may want to break your project up into stages. Also, are there some things you already have that you can reuse? Or if you have some things to clear out, have a yard sale or list them on Craigslist or eBay.
Convert Your Journaling Ideas to a Board
This is where your inspirational thoughts become more of a reality. A poster board cut in half will work fine. Start culling some of your favorite ideas from your notebook and place on your board, leaving space between your items. Mix and match until you achieve the look that you want, then paste down.
Use Your Board to Decide Where Things Will Go
This is where you will make your final decisions. It won’t matter how much you loved it on your board if it won’t fit in your space. To make final decisions, use painter’s tape to mask off seating areas, furniture placement, or where to hang artwork or shelving.
After you decide what elements will work in your room, start researching prices and availability of your items on your board. (Hint: If you chose a $2000 bed, but your total budget is $500, look for alternatives or reproductions.) Write the item sources and prices on your board beside the item.
Now you have a “design board,” which is basically your decorating plan! A note of warning here: Don’t plan yourself out of all the fun. Leave room in your budget for a few impulse items that you will inevitably run across while shopping.
How to Redecorate Your Entire House
Does your home feel cluttered or a bit outdated? You’ve come to the right place. Revamping your house can be a lot of fun, but it can also feel intimidating if you don’t know where to start. With our room-by-room guide, you’ll redecorate your house in no time.
Do I Need to Redecorate My House?
Interior design trends come and go like the seasons, and it can be hard to keep up. While there’s no need to gut your house every year, you should reevaluate the layout and color scheme of each room regularly. Can’t remember the last time you updated your home décor? It’s probably ready for a change.
“Your home doesn’t need to exceed anyone’s expectations but your own. While it’s easy to get caught up in trends, your home should be a reflection of your personal needs, desires and joys. I try to empower my clients to defy expectations and lean into decisions that will support them and make them happy.” Sarah Barnard | Sarah Barnard Design
Home Decorating Ideas to Consider
If you’re decorating on a budget, even small changes can make a big difference. You can easily reorganize your things and decorate with what you have to avoid unnecessary expenses. Use these helpful tips to make your DIY home makeover a little more affordable.
Change the layout . If the energy of a room feels off, rearrange your furniture to open up the space.
. If the energy of a room feels off, rearrange your furniture to open up the space. Reorganize . Evaluate any shelving units you have. If they look overly-cluttered, purge and reorganize them.
. Evaluate any shelving units you have. If they look overly-cluttered, purge and reorganize them. Show off your loved ones . Your family means more to you than a generic painting, right? Fill any empty picture frames and put your loved ones on display.
. Your family means more to you than a generic painting, right? Fill any empty picture frames and put your loved ones on display. Thrift. Need to buy a few things while updating your home décor? Check out local thrift stores and resale shops. You can also donate a few things of your own that didn’t make the cut, just make sure they meet the charity’s guidelines.
“While redecorating your house is easier than renovating it, you should still make a plan. Having a complete decorating plan will help you make a budget and stick to it.” Jane Lockhart | Jane Lockhart Design
Where Do I Start Decorating a House?
Do a room-by-room inspection of your home, taking an especially close look at your walls and floors. Start with redecorating the room that is most outdated or doesn’t mesh with the rest of your house. Before buying new wall art and ceiling fixtures, prepare the space by moving your belongings and getting rid of anything you don’t use anymore. Once the room is cleared out, read through our home decorating ideas below.
“Every home is as unique as the people living in it. Prioritizing rooms when redecorating will depend significantly on individualized preferences, needs, and goals. Because our goal is to create highly customized spaces, we usually begin by asking clients about their current home experience. What spaces are currently bringing them the most joy, and why? What areas of the home are creating challenges or inspiring negative moods? We tend to focus on the areas that will have the greatest impact on happiness, whether through highly functional kitchen designs, meditation spaces, and custom wellness rooms or maximizing space with creative bedroom layouts and custom built-in furniture. Knowing which room to approach first will require evaluating your lifestyle and habits and deciding what changes are the most likely to improve wellbeing.” Sarah Barnard | Sarah Barnard Design
Redecorate Your Family Room
Also known as the “hub” of your home, the family room is where friends gather, kids play and conversation happens. For this part of your DIY home makeover, choose a focal point for your interior design choices. Want guests to mingle in the corner? Place your couches and love seats accordingly. Think your home should have a more welcoming feel? Paint your walls in warm colors, and install carpet or tile flooring with a fun pattern. In all, your family room should encapsulate your personal style and feel inviting to guests. It should also be clutter-free, but that goes without saying.
If you’re in the market for new furniture, there are multiple things to consider. First, make sure your wooden end tables, cabinets and TV stands all have the same finish. For upholstered furniture, pick pieces that go well with your paint color and curtain design. If they have wooden legs and arm rests, they should match the other woodwork in the room. We also recommend choosing solid-colored sofas and love seats, and sprucing them up with patterned throw pillows.
“Your unique personality is your best design weapon. When designing a space or seeking advice from a designer, be sure to stay true to your authentic self. When you create a space from the heart and incorporate pieces and elements that have special meaning to you, bring a smile to your face, and give you that breathless feeling – that is a space where you will find comfort and safety, a truly timeless and personalized space.” Christina Manzo | Decorist
Extra Home Decorating Ideas for Your Family Room
Check Facebook Marketplace . If you’re decorating on a budget, look for furniture that’s new to you.
. If you’re decorating on a budget, look for furniture that’s new to you. Add a rug . Buying a new rug is much more affordable than installing new flooring. And it’s easier to change if you decide to go with a different style.
. Buying a new rug is much more affordable than installing new flooring. And it’s easier to change if you decide to go with a different style. Spruce up your furniture. Decorating with what you already have? Refresh your furniture with new throw pillows or a blanket.
Redecorate Your Bathroom
Homeowners often struggle to avoid clutter in small bathrooms. Before redecorating your room, get rid of any old magazines and unnecessary or expired toiletries. Once you’ve decluttered, consider tiling your walls and floors if you haven’t already. Not only is tile on trend, but it’s easy to clean and style. Then, reevaluate your vanity, toilet and shower to determine if your bathroom is conducive to your household. For homes containing five or more people, having a productive bathroom setup is key, especially if you only have one.
You can easily make your bathroom more efficient by installing a double-vanity. With more than one sink, multiple people can brush their teeth at once, and you’ll have additional cabinet space for towels and other toiletries. When deciding on how to decorate your bathroom, make sure your wall art, hand towels and backsplash tile are color coordinated with the rest of the room. The only thing worse than a cluttered bathroom is a clashing one.
“You can upgrade your bathroom by replacing your cabinet hardware or buying new ceiling fixtures and art. I advise my clients not to hang precious artwork in their bathrooms due to excess heat and moisture, but the right wall art can add a lot of glamour to the space.” Pamela O’Brien | Pamela Hope Designs Interiors
Extra Home Decorating Ideas for Your Bathroom
Decorate your vanity . Buying patterned hand towels and fake floral arrangements is an easy way to spruce up your vanity.
. Buying patterned hand towels and fake floral arrangements is an easy way to spruce up your vanity. Store toiletries in style . Rather than keeping toilet paper in its plastic packaging, use a toilet paper holder.
. Rather than keeping toilet paper in its plastic packaging, use a toilet paper holder. Organize your medicine chest. Don’t put pills and prescriptions on display for guests – keep them in your medicine chest.
Redecorate Your Kitchen
While your kitchen is bound to get messy, it can still be organized and visually appealing. If your appliances are up to date, you can liven up the space with new backsplash tile and a fresh coat of paint. In fact, you might fall in love with your original kitchen if you give it a thorough cleaning. After years of preparing meals, who knows what lies under embedded grease stains and messes you haven’t gotten around to cleaning up yet.
Once you’re content with the layout of your kitchen, you can focus on the smaller details. The most overlooked part of your kitchen is usually your dining ware. If your cabinets have windows, use your dinner ware as a decoration. Your plates and bowls are essentially on display for guests, so their design should match your kitchen interior. In addition, make sure any visible serving utensils are clean and shiny. When updating your home décor, don’t forget the little things!
“Kitchens should be clear and organized so you can cook a delicious meal. That means no clutter. Have your spices, cooking utensils and all other cookware in a space that’s easy to find and easy to use.” Anna Shiwlall | 27 Diamonds Interior Design
Extra Home Decorating Ideas for Your Kitchen
Hide your food . Don’t set groceries on the counter. Keep them in your pantry where they belong.
. Don’t set groceries on the counter. Keep them in your pantry where they belong. Clean your dishes . It’s easy for plates and bowls to pile up. Avoid excess clutter by washing your dishes as soon as you’re finished eating.
. It’s easy for plates and bowls to pile up. Avoid excess clutter by washing your dishes as soon as you’re finished eating. Have a coffee station. Calling all coffee lovers! Display your most stylish mugs alongside your Keurig and favorite k-cup flavors.
Redecorate Your Bedrooms
Considering you spend nearly 30% of your life in the bedroom, its design should really strike your fancy. That said, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how many decisions there are to make. Paint samples, bedspread patterns, throw pillows… the options are endless. You should tackle this room with a plan in mind, and know which areas you want to update. It’s also important to include family members in the DIY home makeover process, especially if you are tackling a child’s room.
We recommend starting with your room’s most prominent piece of furniture, the bed, and going from there. Once you’ve chosen a bedspread and matching throw pillows, you can decorate the rest of your room accordingly. Paint your walls in coordinating colors, and choose art that doesn’t clash with the rest of the room. As you reinvent your bedroom, get rid of any old decorations, knickknacks and clutter that’s just taking up space. Out with the old, and in with the new.
“The primary bedroom is often left to the very end of a home makeover. I like my clients to consider this room first, even though it isn’t considered a public area. Take the time to make it comfortable, as the bedroom should be a relaxing space that brings you back to life after a long day.” Pamela O’Brien | Pamela Hope Designs Interiors
Extra Home Decorating Ideas for Your Bedroom
Have a hamper . Piles of clothes are never a good look. Hide your dirty laundry with a stylish hamper.
. Piles of clothes are never a good look. Hide your dirty laundry with a stylish hamper. Organize your closet . Running out of room for clothes in your closet? Avoid excess clutter by clearing it out regularly. Matching hangers never hurt either!
. Running out of room for clothes in your closet? Avoid excess clutter by clearing it out regularly. Matching hangers never hurt either! Love your lampshades. Make sure your lamps are as stylish as the rest of the room.
Redecorate Your Basement
Of all the rooms in your home, your basement is typically the most clutter-prone. Before you start decorating, go through your stored belongings and purge anything that’s lost its purpose. You should also check for water damage and clean the space from floor to ceiling. Then, you can redecorate your room – that’s right, your basement doesn’t have to be a “man cave” or used for storage.
In most homes, basements have designated areas for laundry and entertainment. But have you considered merging both sides into one open space? Without obstructive walls, your basement will feel spacious and more comfortable for guests. If you still want to split your basement into parts, you can distinguish each area with a rug or different paint colors. Need to knock down a few walls for an open-concept basement? Make sure you do it properly.
Extra Home Decorating Ideas for Your Basement
Organize your shelves . If you still have a DVD collection, only display your favorite movies to avoid excess clutter.
. If you still have a DVD collection, only display your favorite movies to avoid excess clutter. Hide mouse traps . Basements are often home to creepy critters. Keep your basement pest-free in the most effective and subtle way possible by installing traps in hidden places.
. Basements are often home to creepy critters. Keep your basement pest-free in the most effective and subtle way possible by installing traps in hidden places. Let light in. If your basement has windows, open the curtains to let some natural light in. It will make it look bigger and feel less cramped.
“Inviting in light colors on the walls – think creamy and fresh whites – will automatically make your space not only feel larger, but brighter as well. Play around with painting the ceiling and trim the same color as the walls to truly create an open feel. A well-placed mirror that reflects light and the space will also create the illusion of a large space. Lastly, scale is important in all things so be sure to scale your furnishings appropriately to maximize the use of the space.” Christina Manzo | Decorist
I’ve Updated My Home Décor… Now What?
Once you’ve redecorated your house, you can focus on curb appeal and other outdoor projects. From giving your backyard more privacy to installing a new patio, we have you covered. Check out the following posts to make the outside of your home as beautiful as its new interior.