How to Decorate a House from Scratch (and Avoid Overwhelm)

Decorating a house can easily feel overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. Read below for my guide on how to decorate your house by creating a whole house decorating plan.

Decorating a House: Where to Start

Not everyone can afford a designer but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to enjoy your own dream home. These house decorating tips can help you decide on the look you want and how to make it a reality.

With so many available options, it can be hard to decide on a single direction and stick to it.

There are lots of factors that can go into making a whole house decorating plan: interior design styles, colors, fabrics, home improvements, and more.

Starting Point: Compare Your Likes and Dislikes

I use a simple framework to understand the unique likes and dislikes that each of my real estate clients has. It’s the easiest way to determine what they want.

This normally starts a natural conversation that progresses into my understanding of what they like and dislike. I will then ask what they think they want and why?

I like to communicate with clients and ask them about the things they LOVE about their current spaces in their homes. Then we compare them to the things they dislike. This is the easiest way to create a starting point.

For example, they may say things like “I love sitting by this window in the living room because it has the best natural light” or “the kitchen is my favorite space because I love to bake”. Those are specific items I want to focus on first.

Then I continue the conversation to help me understand the things they love outside of their home. The goal is to bring these things into the home. Sometimes it could be their favorite hotel or travel destination that creates the design inspiration.

Asking the right questions leads me to understand what they like and how to achieve this goal as simply as possible.

Here’s a Secret… Use Pinterest!

Once I understand where their design inspiration is coming from, it’s time to start presenting multiple options from my Pinterest boards. Yes, I use Pinterest all the time!

Pinterest allows them to visually see the different pops of color, rooms filled with neutral colors and furniture, and home decor items.

two blue bar stools are placed near kitchen island

Take a look at some of my Pinterest boards to see what I’m referring to:

What do you do first when decorating a room?  

For each room in your home, determine what the purpose of the room is. Do you have a spare bedroom that will be a guest bedroom or an office space? Do you have a living room that will be converted to a movie room?

From there, you can create a Pinterest board for each room in your home. You can use my Pinterest boards for inspiration.

Start with Painting and Flooring

The easiest way to start decorating is to identify paint colors and flooring options first. That is the foundation and will create an overall mood.

A fresh coat of paint and new flooring can certainly transform a room before you even add new lighting fixtures or furniture.

lighting above an eat in kitchen area in a open concept main floor with living room in background

Also, I highly recommend painting and flooring before moving in, as it’s much easier to navigate. Here are some recommendations on the best floorings to choose in Florida climate.

Next, you should carry on with a similar theme and colors that compliment the other rooms that have been established.

overview of open concept living room with sectional sofa and accent rug with kitchen in background

Lay the Foundation with Sofa and Rug

Once you’ve finalized your plans with painting and flooring, it’s time to consider some furniture.

Find the perfect sofa and additional chairs. Then choose an area rug. The sofa and rug are major because it establishes the theme/color/decorating style.

I recommend that you ONLY focus on the big pieces first. No side tables at all.

After these items are selected, I always layer from there.

How to Decorate Your House Room by Room

The key to decorating a house and knowing where to start is to work on it room by room.

Focus on one room at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. First, start with providing organization in each of these places will help you focus on the design style.

overhead view of mid century modern living room with two loveseats and two accent chairs

Living Room

After your big purchases on the sofa and rug are complete, the next thing to do is find the perfect end tables or coffee tables.

Lighting and table styling are some of my favorites things to do. Houseplants and other decor items can add a finishing touch to your living room. Faux plants are perfectly okay to use too.


Identify the color scheme for your kitchen first. Do your cabinets need new paint? Could you add a backsplash? Will you purchase new appliances?

Everything may not be needed, but sometimes the things that annoy you the most need to be changed immediately or identified as a problem. Create a budget to switch out these kitchen items ASAP.

Adding pendant lighting is an area that you can splurge a little on with maximum returns. Here are a few options that provide a lux look to the kitchen space:


I’ll work with my clients to identify the best bedroom options: use existing furnishings, repaint them, or give them away.

Many times you can use many of your existing pieces unless you want to start over with a completely different style.

Personally, I love hotels so bed linens and blankets are things I have around my home at all times because they make me comfortable and relaxed. Bedding and linens are super important as they make any space feel cozier.


Assess the size of the space and how it is used. Are you working from home? How often will you use this space? Is it a multipurpose space that’s working as an office and a guest bedroom?

Start with a desk and bookshelves for better organization. You’ll need a chair for your desk but you can include an additional accent chair for a reading nook.

I like to include mirrors in offices because they offer the illusion of added space.

In other words, the room can be multipurpose based on your own personal enjoyment. Include a love seat, a pull-out bed, a gaming chair, and a desk. Anything works!

Here are a few popular ideas for converting an extra room:

Exterior Spaces

Don’t ignore the exterior of your home if you love it! Sometimes sprucing up your exterior spaces is as simple as adding some decor and improving the curb appeal.

Decorating a House: Where to Start FAQs

How can I decorate my whole house?

Execute the framework above based on what is most important to you in your home. Zone in to create clarity in each space.

How do I decorate my brand new house or new construction home?

Same format as the others, but I’m sure that you can skip the foundation portion because you will have a better starting point with flooring, kitchen design, and appliances.

You still need to start with the same mindset of what means the most to you and why. Then develop decor style to execute. Many of my new home clients have a good idea where they want to go next.

I help most clients to design the home with their builders and from there we start to map out what rooms need what so by the end of the building process, they can hit the ground running with a list of items that need to be purchased first.

Bottom Line

When it comes to decorating a house, there is no right and wrong when creating your perfect space. There is no deadline. You may see that you are mixing up the style and that is okay.

Do what you love and what feels good to you! If you want to learn more about how to make your house look nice with home decor and design, read my other article where I share 7 tips and tricks for getting it done.

This article may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a commission of the sale (at no extra cost to you!). I recommend items that I personally love and believe these products will help you create your dream home.

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One Comment

  1. I would like to buy new furniture for my house’s living room since this will surely improve its current style. I also agree with you that it will be best to hire an interior designer. Thank you for sharing the perks of having a color theme.

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