Home Decorating Tips for Every Room


For some home buyers, the hard part of the purchase process is the legwork and wading through the deluge of financial terms and transactions. Others become overwhelmed and intimidated with the task of decorating and styling their home in a way that speaks to them.  

Before You Start the Home Decorating Process

Begin gathering ideas of what looks great to you from magazines, Pinterest, or neighborhood listings. They’ll become a collection for reference. From there, you’ll notice key elements that occur over and over, such as a color, style, or a shape or print.  Those details are a great place to start.

Having a general idea of a favorite theme definitely will make decorating choices much simpler, but it’s okay to have a couple that mesh well together and still maintain a cohesive look. For example, cottage chic and beachside charm work nicely together. 

In effort to create a calm and unified home, avoid extremes. Not every room in a beach home should be outfitted with the same wicker furniture and starfish decorative items. Nor should each room in the home represent different themes. A house filled with a Mid-century Modern living room, a Mediterranean kitchen, and an Americana bedroom convey confusion and discord.

It’s also helpful to consider what the exterior of the home looks like and what it says to outsiders. It would make sense that a Tudor style home would incorporate that theme inside. But, design is subjective, of course, and your interior should be what you prefer

If the new budget doesn’t include hiring an interior designer, takes notes and be inspired by the following steps to break down the plan for turning someone else's house into your home. 

1) Inventory Each Room

Although you might be confused as to where to begin, you probably have a few themes or pieces of furniture that you can’t wait to install. The prospect of designing a room exactly the way you want is exciting! However, the practical and necessary work has to be conquered first. Find the tape measure and create an organization system (on your phone or handwritten, whatever works) for yourself with pictures. 

Because inspiration and bargains are found everywhere, having this list as well as a flexible tape measure handy is a foolproof way to make sure the treasures you find sporadically work together. 


  • Room dimensions for area rugs and furniture placement.
  • Windows with trim included and without, also ceiling-to-floor heights.
  • Furniture pieces that will remain.

Take pictures of:

  • Any odd angle, corner, or other element that could throw off placement. 
  • Windows. It helps to visualize their dimensions.
  • Floor and wall colors if remaining.  
  • Decorative molding that could intervene. 
  • Light fixtures to remind you of scale. Either to increase or decrease the size to fit the room.

2) List Priorities

You never know what you’re going to get when you purchase a new home. Sometimes functionality takes precedence over the way a room is decorated, so a numerical list that identifies which projects have to take place first helps to arrange projects within your budget. 

Kitchens and bathrooms need to be in working order before life can begin comfortably. But maybe the hideous red paint in the master bedroom bothers you way more than the outdated powder room downstairs. It’s up to you to decide! Keep in mind, necessary renovations always have a design component involved. Before tearing down an old bathroom, thoughtfully imagine how you’d like the overall look to be. 

To further help decide the priority list, consider these categories and adjust timelines and budgets as necessary. These will be different for each person, but some general items seem to be standard. 


  • Window coverings
  • Seating for living spaces
  • Bed
  • Appliances
  • Secure doors

Want to have:

  • Perfect wall and trim color
  • New area rugs
  • Updated floors
  • Home office

3) Function

Deciding how your house will generally function predicts the feel you’d like for your home to convey. Is it a lively place where your kids and their friends come to gather? Or is it lived in predominantly to get away from the stresses of work and the outside world? These two very different ideas provoke contrasting images of furniture placement, décor, and even the durability of fabrics. 

4) Painting 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by gorgeous color. The best way to choose paint for your home is to pick a collection of three to four colors that complement one base color. This way, you know that they all work together, no matter what combination. Paint strip combos are showcased by the hundreds in home improvement stores. Laser focus onto the main color you’d prefer (blue, green, etc.) and whittle down choices from there.

5) Decorating 

By far, the most fun part of the process! Each beautiful lamp, decadent rug, and sumptuous fabric is happily chosen to complete the house. Thinking about decorating in layers is the best way to continue the theme you’ve chosen. 

Break it down:

  • Furniture-sofas, chairs, and other large furniture
  • Soft furnishings- rugs, pillows, blankets, and window linens
  • Accessories-photographs, wall art, lighting

Use your favorite looks strategically so it all works together, but not in an overstated, domineering way. If polished nickel is your preferred finish, sprinkle look-a-likes throughout the rooms in subtle ways. For example, pewter candlesticks on the mantel, silver frames in the bookcases, a nickel overhead light fixture in the foyer, and matching sink hardware in the kitchen. 

Remember that,  in interior design and decorating in general, too much is usually waaay too much. The goal is not to show off, obviously, but to focus on a connected outcome with a united theme with and complementary colors throughout. 

By Dawn M. Smith