5 Tips for Decorating Your Home From Scratch

Whether you’ve recently purchased your first home or are moving across the country with nothing but your wardrobe and your pet, starting from scratch can feel overwhelming. However, with a little planning and organization, you can take this enormous project and break it down into manageable tasks that still get you the same final results (minus a lot of the stress). 

Start with these 5 tips for decorating your home from scratch to get you on the right track to creating the living space of your dreams.

Set a Budget

One of the most challenging aspects of decorating your home from scratch is the financial commitment. Many people are taken off guard by just how quickly decorating can add up, especially when it comes to larger spaces. 

To prevent yourself from falling under financial strain while trying to make your house livable, it’s important to make a budget before you start making purchases. Before you flinch away from the word budget, you should know that it’s easier than ever to create your own. Whether you flesh out your discretionary income and total decorative costs in a spreadsheet or use a budgeting app, there are plenty of ways to create a useful budget without overcomplicating things.

Make a List of What You Need

In order to enforce your budget and make sure you get everything you need for your home, you should start by making a list. Your list should be as detailed as possible and as long as it needs to be in order to cover all your bases. One of the easiest ways to create a comprehensive running list of home decor is to create a Google doc that you can add to and check off as needed—plus you can access it from anywhere.

To make your list as useful as possible, try to keep it as organized as possible. For example, you could create sublists by room, urgency, or price. As long as the organization makes sense to you for your shopping purchases, that’s all that matters.

Any time you start shopping, whether it’s online or in the store, it’s important to have your list front and center for reference. This will help prevent you from getting distracted by all the neat knick-knacks, beautiful accent pieces, and fun add-ons before you’ve gotten all the essentials. Later on down the line, you can slowly introduce these additions to your decor. 

Set Priorities

While canvas picture prints are a great way to display your favorite memories throughout your home, they’re not exactly necessities when you first move in. To help you stay organized, on budget, and make progress on your home, you need to set priorities. 

When establishing priorities, the first thing to do is separate your wants from needs. Here are some examples of how you can prioritize your home decor shopping list:



  • Throw blankets and pillows
  • Shelving
  • Art
  • End tables
  • Decorative salt shakers
  • Rugs

Setting priorities can also apply to different parts of your home like completing your living room or kitchen before worrying about your home office and backyard.

Decide on a Color Scheme & Decor Style

Now that you know what you need, it’s time for the fun part of decorating. Since you’re starting with a blank slate, you get to choose a new color scheme and decor style for your home. For those who follow interior design trends, you probably already have something in mind. However, for many people it can be challenging to scale down all their inspiration and design ideas into something cohesive. 

If you’re struggling to select a color scheme and design style, these tips might be helpful:

  • Research color theory, which breaks down how different colors can impact your mood and the overall feel of your home
  • Compare interior design styles and determine which one best suits your personality (minimalism vs. maximalism, traditional vs. modern, luxury vs. farmhouse, etc.)
  • Think about whether you’d prefer to have a fluid design style throughout the entire house or if you’d like to mix it up 

Take Your Time & Shop Around

While it might be tempting to rush in and get your home decorated as soon as possible, taking your time may make the process less stressful and yield better results. For starters, taking it slow can allow you to get to know the space better and determine what shapes and sizes will work best. It also gives you time to come up with creative solutions that are unique to your home. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that even though you see something you like, you don’t have to purchase it on the spot. Bookmark it and see if you can find the same thing, or something similar, at a better price point. This can help your budget go farther and prevent you from overspending on any one item. 

That said, cheaper isn’t always better. Some items, like your bedding, couch, and furniture are worth investing in for optimal comfort and function. Otherwise you may find yourself replacing things more often than you should due to poor craftsmanship.

Following these steps, you’ll be able to navigate the home decorating process like a pro.


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