Decorating: Where to start?

We are all in different places when it comes to decorating. Some are in a home with decor that you’re just living with until you get enough energy to tackle a change. Some are on a budget and the thought of decorating means spending more money in your mind. Some are purchasing or building a new home and have no idea which room to start with and how to begin.

If you’re in one of these boats, here are 5 steps to get you started.

1. Ask yourself a few questions to establish a goal.

What is your GOAL in decorating this room or rooms? Is it to make it more comfortable?



Is it to have more seating, or more storage?



Is it to make it kid and adult friendly?


Green Street

Asking yourself a few questions allow you to step back and give yourself a mission statement if you will (yes, I just pulled out a corporate America term for you). Establishing a goal will help you to not get too overwhelmed with all the details of the room as long as you have a main purpose to look back on throughout the process.

2. Decide on what style(s) you like.

Take some time and browse home magazines, blogs, Pinterest, and save pictures of rooms you like. Look at all of the pictures you saved, and see if there is a common theme (there usually is!)

Don’t get frustrated if you can’t decide on one style, a mixture of styles makes a room unique and YOU. Yes, you want your home to look great but you don’t want it to not suit you and your family. For instance, if you love the look of modern furniture but live in a traditional, older home, incorporate just a couple modern pieces, not the entire room full of furniture. Don’t be afraid to mix old with new, rustic with shiny, modern with traditional to get the overall feel you love. Here are some great examples of a mix of styles that work beautifully.


Brittany Makes


Cottage Living


House of Turquoise

3. Start Drawing.

If you’re changing the layout of the room, starting from scratch, or you’re not sure, start measuring. There is no better way to grasp how the room will look than from a birds eye (sure beats moving furniture around all day or purchasing furniture that doesn’t fit). Measure the room and pieces that are staying in the room and draw it out on a piece of paper. There are great online tools you can use as well. Pottery Barn has an online room planner as do many furniture stores.


4. Make a plan.

If this is not your first time reading this blog, you already know that I’m a planner. That’s no different in decorating. I like to start decorating any room with a plan. Not to say you can’t deviate from that plan, but planning keeps you focused on your goal for the room. It’s much easier (and less costly in the long run) to come up with a plan before you rush to the home decor stores and start buying everything you see that you like. In fact, a plan helps prevent buying everything you see that you like!

Make a list of things you want to change and items you want to purchase, then prioritize that list. If you try to do everything at once, you’ll lose sight of your goal. Believe me, those shows on TV that completely gut and rebuild a kitchen in one weekend is NOT realistic at all. If that’s your expectation, you’ll be very disappointed. My dad always had a saying and Charlie and I actually found a sign with that saying when we were in Mexico for our honeymoon.


This couldn’t be more true for many things in life, including decorating. Be patient 🙂

5. Find Inspiration.

This is where you go shopping! Window shopping is best at this stage and bring along your picture taking device (camera, smartphone, etc). The picture taking while shopping idea is something I’ve learned from my husband, such a smarty pants! Bring your measurements, your prioritized list and go to your favorite home decor stores. Take pictures of items you like that may work in the room. You can always do this online as well and save items you see (this is when Pinterest is really handy, make a separate board for each room you’re decorating).

Then look back at all the items you took pictures of or saved online. What jumps out at you the most? Is it an amazing fabric on an armchair you saw? Is it a really colorful piece of art? Is it an awesome pattern on an area rug? Which item speaks to you most that you just love or really screams you?

That is your inspiration and your starting point. Now you can pull colors, patterns, textures, and shapes from that item and develop your room.

I know the feeling where you’re just stumped with a room so you put it off and put it off. Hopefully these steps will help you get started in the right direction!

Join the Conversation


  1. Oops – that was from Jan, not from Anonymous, who always seems to take credit (especially for good quotes) 😉

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