Here’s How to Decorate Your Home From Scratch


Moving to a new house and starting over? Before you start decorating your new home, make sure you change your address with the USPS. Don’t feel overwhelmed! Here are six new home decorating tips when you’re starting from scratch. You will see that decorating your new home is fun — and much easier than you think.

1. Determine your decorating style

If you can pin down the design style you want for the interior of your home, you’re halfway there! An easy rule of thumb is to use the same style for the interior as the exterior of the house. With an architectural home style like ranch or craftsmanRich, dark wood pieces, clean-lined furniture, and lots of earth tones work well.

Here are four of the most popular home decor styles to consider:


Transitional style interior design, living room and dining room.
Artezum / Shutterstock

A transitional style goes with most architectural styles of the home. The look is a hybrid of modern and traditional, perfect for updating older home styles like Colonial or Victorian, or adding warmth to a new construction home. The transitional home decorating style involves the use of dark woods, stone, neutral colors, and earthy reds, sages, and olive greens as accent colors. Furniture is quite streamlined but features more ornamentation and softer, curvier lines.


Modern kitchen with black metal bar stools and wooden island with white countertops
David Papazian/Shutterstock

A modern decorating style is well done and features clean lines. Wood and earth tones add a softer feel to the clean, straight lines. Sofas or mid-century modern items are popular. Ranch-style homes, Art Deco-era homes, and homes built during and after the 1950s tend to work best with modern decor.


Contemporary living room, gray sofa and ottomans
3D Photo / Shutterstock

Contemporary design is the sparsest and most minimalist of design styles. Few pieces are used in each room. Color selection is typically reduced to black, white, or gray with primary color accents. Metals and glass stand out, instead of wood. When decorating from scratch, a contemporary style is a good idea when you’re working with smaller spaces and/or want to highlight the home’s natural features, such as large, bright windows or architectural details.


Farmhouse-style living room with fireplace and wicker furniture.
jafara / Shutterstock

Farmhouse is very popular today thanks to designers like Joanna Gaines. The style adds fun, cozy comfort and a bit of whimsy to your new home. To decorate from scratch with a country house style, the most important thing is that it is practical, cozy and attractive. Sofas should be padded for comfort and covered for low maintenance. The wooden tables are earthy and informal. The colors and accent pieces have a vintage or antique store feel.

New Pro Tip for Home Decor: Determine your home’s exterior style and do some research. Take inspiration from the elements of that style and add your own touch to the look.

2. Break down your decorating plan for your new home by room

The fastest way to get overwhelmed by an empty new house is to try to decorate the whole house at once. Prioritize which rooms are most important to you and make a decorating plan, one room at a time! You might want to start with your bedroom, living room, and laundry room. Choose two or three rooms maximum, and plan to decorate them one at a time.

Matching all the rooms in the house is a design myth. If you decide you want a transitional bedroom but a modern living room, go for it! Your home will have so much more character when you decorate from scratch, one room at a time. Just be sure to add a unifying element to all the rooms to keep them flowing, such as a certain color or a decorating element in the architectural design style of the house.

Pro Decorating Tip: Not sure which rooms to start with? Think about the rooms where you spend the most time. You’ll want to do those first. You can always do the guest room later: close the guest room door and forget about it for a while.

3. Start with the largest piece in the room first.

Now that you’ve divided your decorating plan into one room at a time, take the same concept and focus on finding the most important piece in the room.

The largest piece in the room is often the most important and most expensive. That’s why it’s important to start with that piece and work your way up from there. In a dining room, start with the dining table. For your living room, choose your sofa or sectional first. In your bedroom, the bed is the most important piece in the room.

Pro Decorating Tip: The largest piece in the room is probably where you will spend the most money. It is usually the most used in the room, so quality is important. You can probably save some money on accessories, buy secondhand nightstands or find a cheap coffee table, but never skimp on your sofa!

4. Take advantage of the experts

Many stores offer their customers a free (or cheap) design service. Most employ design professionals to help you make the right choice the first time. Their tips can save you a lot of time and money. Here are some stores that offer free or low-cost design consultations:

Pro Decorating Tip: This list is not exhaustive. Do your research and ask if a store you like to shop at offers consultation or design service.

5. Paint is your new best friend.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to transform a blank canvas is by painting it! Repaint each room in a color of your choice. Now is not the time to be sure: choose a vibrant, bold or rich color. Even a neutral mocha or light gray can make more of an impact than pure white. And the best thing is that if you don’t like it, you can always repaint it.

Pro Decorating Tip: Paint the wall you want to draw more attention to in a color that may be too bold for your taste. Once you do, you will have created a focal wall. Use that hue on smaller accessories like pillows, vases, or rugs to bring the room together.

6. Layer every room, over time

Decorating your new home is a marathon, not a sprint. As you spend more time in your new home, you’ll get to know it better. You may have new ideas for how you want a room to look and function in a few months, so don’t rush to do it all at once! Be sure to check out second-hand furniture and decor options to save even more. Here are the items you’ll want to address over time:

  • Accent Color Splashes
  • flooring/carpet
  • storage/organization
  • accent tables
  • Turning on
  • Textiles such as pillows and blankets
  • mural
  • window treatments

Now that you see how simple decorating a new home from scratch can be, decide on your style, prioritize your rooms, and get started. Your new home will look perfectly put together in no time!


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