5 Important things to consider when decorating a room

Updated: May 3, 2021

Whether you just moved into your home and are starting from scratch, or the needs and demands of your home has changed, you have found yourself in a position where you need to redesign a room in your home. But where do you start?  Do you have to throw everything out and start again?

5 Points to consider for a well designed room: 

1. What is the purpose of the room


What activities take place in the room?  Does the room have multi-functions? For example, let’s take a look at a living room, a family room or rec room.  

  •  Do you want a TV in there? Yes or no?
  • Who hangs out there the most?  Kids? Adults? Or both?
  • What type of furniture do you want?    A sectional for lots of people to hang out?
  • Is the room more for formal entertainment?
  • Does the space need to be used as a spare bedroom if someone stays over? A sofa bed for people to sleep over?
  • Does the room need to double function as a home office during the day?

Once some of these questions are answered, it will help you plan the next steps with clarity. You may go back and revise the purpose of the room in the meantime, but at least you have a place to start.

2. Your style. Your home’s style

Here’s where you really need to ask yourself (and the other decision makers) some hard questions.

  • Try to visualize what you see the needs of the room 3 to 5 years or more down the road.  You don’t want to be going through this again any time soon.
  • What is your design style?  Traditional?  Contemporary?  Country?  Transitional?
  • What colors do you like?  Can you see the adjoining room from this room?  If so the other room’s colors and style need to compliment each other. There needs to be flow from room to room for a cohesive look.

DESIGNER TIP:  In one of my design classes, our instructor said that “in theory” you should be able to take an upholstered patterned chair and it should be able to go from room to room and look like it belonged.  In other words, one room in your house shouldn’t be a neutral country style, the other room a pink electric room, the other a gold traditional room – you get the idea.  You should be able to move from one room to another in a calm manner without being shocked as you walk through the house.

Go on Pinterest, Houzz, HGTV, BHG and the thousands of other sites out there to get ideas of what you like and DON’T like.

read 5 ways to make a focal point in a room

3.  Your Budget

What is the budget?  How much do you want to spend on this room makeover?

Now that you know what the purpose and function of the room is, and what you want the space to look like is, take a look at the existing furniture.  Is there any furniture you want to keep?  Can you recover or reupholster a piece?  Maybe you can do a furniture makeover and give a piece new life?

Do you need to curtains or are you going to use what you have currently?  What about the lights, pictures, bookshelves etc.  Take a look at everything in the room and make a list of what you’re going to keep, throw/give away, and what you’re not sure about.

Also take a look at any renovations that you might want to do.  Put in pot lights or a new ceiling light?  New flooring?  Take everything into consideration during the planning stage so you won’t find yourself over budget and out of money once you’re in the middle of your redesign.

When planning your budget, leave 10% of the budget for contingency funds for just in case… If you have an older home, leave 15% in the budget for those unseen but inevitable expenses.

4. Start with a plan

Alot of rooms can look thrown together. It may have started out organized, but you may have had a large party and realized you need more seating. Or you received some hand-me-downs from Aunt Mary that you couldn’t say no to so they ended up in the room. Perhaps you picked up some great pillows on sale at Home Sense and added them in the room. Before you know it, the room looks like a bit of this and a bit of that. You need to step back and really evaluate whether each piece of furniture and accessory belongs in the room based on your the decisions you have already made regarding the purpose of the room, and your design style and the style of your home.

read the #1 decorating mistake most people make


Need expert help or guidance? Check out my online design, staging, color consult packages here.

5.  Floor plan

floor plan, kathleenssugarandspice com
Floor plan: kathleenssugarandspice.com

It’s best to do an actual floor plan to make sure design works before you spend your hard earned money.  There are lots of free software programs that you can download to do this. One person I know did a floor plan using graph paper and drew out the room and proposed furniture arrangements to scale.  He was able to move his paper furniture around to see if it worked. The floor plan doesn’t have to be fancy but you want to make sure that you don’t have too much furniture in the room, and that your furniture is not blocking any major walkways.

Doing a floor plan will ensure that you are not overcrowding the room with too much furniture.  A common mistake people make is they put too much furniture in a room OR the furniture is too big for the size of the space. In one house I went through, the homeowner ordered an oversized couch and matching chair for their small bowling alley shaped living room.  They didn’t do any measuring or space planning beforehand.   The couch and chair just never really worked in the room.

You should have a comfortable 24 – 36″ space for walkways for people to be able to move comfortably around the room. Make sure to include any side tables, coffee tables, bookshelves, floor lamps etc. in your floor plan.  They need their space too!

At this point you may either LOVE your floor plan and ideas, or need to rework it. You may need to go back to step one and redefine the purpose of the room.  Perhaps the desk doesn’t really work in the space.  It doesn’t fit and leaves the room to cramped.  Do you need to add a chair?  Maybe the current couch you have is too big for the new redesign.  Think it through carefully and sleep on it if you need a break from all the planning.

When I’m decorating or staging an empty house, the first thing I put in the room is the furniture.  The big stuff goes in first like a couch and chairs, table & chairs or bed.  Next are the curtains, rug and lights and usually pictures.  Once those items are in place, then I add all the other items like the pillows, maybe more pictures, vases, plants or sticks etc.  All the accessories is what makes a place a home.  Most people don’t budget for the accessories or “bling” but it makes a HUGE difference to make the room Instagram worthy.

Read 5 Common mistakes when accessorizing a room & how to avoid them!

The last step?  Just sit back and enjoy your newly redesigned room.

Perhaps you have a couple of questions that you are looking for answers.  Click here to book an hour or two to “Pick my Brain” and I’ll help you get your design and decorating projects on the right track!

I help busy homeowners, just like you, to style their house to make it a stunning retreat, where they can live and enjoy their home. I help homeowners, make money beyond their wildest expectations from the sale of their house by guiding them when they’re getting their house ready to sell.


I help busy homeowners, just like you, to style their house to make it a stunning retreat, where they can live and enjoy their home. I help homeowners, make money beyond their wildest expectations from the sale of their house by guiding them when they’re getting their house ready to sell.

Hi! I’m Debi Collinson. Home Stylist. Color Consultant. Stager. Real Estate Investor. It all started back in 2006, at the request of a realtor, where I nervously staged my very first home. But the sellers liked their newly styled home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price. I went back to design school and the rest is history.

In my spare time, LOL, I buy “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent. I’m currently living in my 8th “fixer upper.” Sign up to receive my e-mails of how to make your home stunning, how to sell your house for top dollar AND how to become financially independent one fixer upper at a time!

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