How To's

How To Start Decorating a Room

So, you want to makeover your ____________ (fill in the blank with the room you want to decorate). Where do you start? What is your first step? When do you go shopping? What do you buy first? How do you stay within your budget? Do you need a designer? There are so many questions about the decorating process and we want to help answer them. Grab a pencil and paper and get ready to start decorating with a plan!

Start to Gather Inspiration

The majority of people actually do this on a daily basis, whether it is scrolling Pinterest or Houzz, saving images on Instagram or flipping through a magazine. Expose yourself to as many well-designed spaces as possible to gather inspiration for the room you want to decorate.

Pick 3-5 Favorite Photos for the Room

Gathering inspiration is a piece of cake, but this next step is hard: pick your favorites! Think hard about the room you want to decorate and narrow your inspiration down to 3-5 photos that you want to use for that specific room. Not everything in each photo has to be something you want to actually use, these specific photos are meant to guide you in the right direction. For example: maybe you love the rug from one photo and the sofa from another photo and the furniture layout from another. Using more than 5 photos in step will start to feel overwhelming and less than 3 could leave you feeling stuck. We feel like 3-5 is the perfect starting point!

Interior Design Inspiration Board

Create Detailed Lists

Study each of your favorite inspiration photos and write down aspects that you love about each one. For example, your list could look like this:

  • Photo #1: love the vintage rug and gold tripod floor lamp
  • Photo #2: love the dark wall color
  • Photo #3: love the unique styling and neutral color scheme
  • Photo #4: love the furniture layout
  • Photo #5: love the long, tufted sofa and patterned accent chairs

Next, take a good look into the room you are wanting to decorate and make another list of things you want to change. It could be the wall color, specific furniture, wall decor for certain walls, accent lighting and pretty much anything else in the room. Be realistic and specific about what you could actually change though and write it down.

Afterwards, compare both lists and figure out what you can incorporate from your loved items in the first list into the changes you want in the second list!

Interior Design Planning

Make a Realistic Budget

You made a list with exactly what you want to change, so now you need to put an actual dollar amount next to each item. If you know a good sofa is going to cost you at least $2,000 then write that down. If you don’t know the price for certain items, then give a good estimate. Why do we recommend this step? A detailed budget will help you understand and realize how much it will actually cost to makeover the room. The total budget will seem more doable and not as shocking if you break down each individual piece and see what you will actually be buying. BONUS: having this list throughout the decorating process will help you stay on budget as well!

Take Action

This is where the decorating process can get fun or it can get frustrating. You have a list of things you want with specific budgets for each item, but now what? You can go 2 ways here: start shopping or hire a designer. If you want to start shopping, shop with intention. Don’t go into a store and aimlessly wander. Take your lists and know exactly what you are looking for. We know how distracting shopping can be when there are so many great items out there to purchase which is why having lists and a direction before shopping will help so much!

Interior Design Planning Board

The other direction…..hiring an online designer. Now, obviously, we support this choice 100% because we know the true value our online designers here at SwatchPop. Hiring a designer at this point will help execute your plan. No aimless shopping trips, no countless hours searching online for furniture and no fear of getting it wrong. Hiring a designer can make the shopping process simple. If you are reading this post, there is a good chance you love to decorate. One question we get asked a lot is “Will hiring a designer take the fun out of the decorating that I love to do?” And to that we say “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Hiring an online designer will take all the ideas you have and give you an actual step-by-step plan to make it happen in your budget. Online design provides you with a clickable shopping list to purchase everything on your own and you get to set it all up yourself which is the best part of decorating.

We hope these tips help give you a good start to decorating a room, no matter which direction to take in the end. Decorating a room should be fun and it should result in a space that you love to be in and are proud of!


Interior Design Inspiration Photo
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. All opinions and recommendations are our own.

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