Skip to Content

Whole House Decorating: Where to Start (Full Guide & Plan)

When beginning to decorate a house, it may seem daunting and even an impossible task. The good news is that it isn’t going to be as difficult as it might seem, and you can make it fun for yourself as well!

Before decorating a house, map out what rooms need to be decorated and set a budget. Then, pick-out decorations that match the aesthetic and color schemes of the house. Choose one main color and pattern for each room, and decorate one room at a time. Decorate the main rooms first.

Below is a plan to help you on your house decorating journey, as well as tips and tricks to ease the stress of the tasks and help you create a space where you feel safe and happy.

Best Order to Start Decorating In

It might feel like every room and every space of a house is an interlocking puzzle piece. You can’t work on one section until you’ve done another, and it can be extremely daunting, as well as frustrating, for a number of reasons.

The good news is that it isn’t difficult to categorize and lay out a plan for how you want to start decorating spaces in your home.

You will want to start by decorating the areas that you use the most and the ones that people will see first when they visit. This allows you to be able to feel good about the area as well as how others perceive it if you have visitors.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links which will take you to online retailers that sell products and services. If you click on one and buy something, I may earn from qualifying purchases. See my Affiliate Disclosure for more details.

The spaces that people see first are usually the living/sitting room, the kitchen and/or dining room, and the bathroom. It is extremely important to make sure that these rooms have a good feeling to them and help people feel at home. Not just you, but your guests as well.

The second focus will be the more intimate side of a home: the bedrooms, office space or spare room, and the entertainment or secondary room that serves as a living room for the family more than for guests if you have it.

This side of your home is meant to be a retreat, a space you can go and really live in and enjoy. It’s not something for others to enjoy as much as it is for you and those closest to you.

There are a few things that might change the order of how you start decorating. Consider the following:

  • You desire to decorate
  • What you have available
  • Your budget
  • The intensity of how you are decorating

All these things will affect your decision of what room to decorate first.

If you choose to paint a room, you’ll have to wait for the paint to dry to decorate, so make sure you’ve plotted out what will work best for you and what areas you want to be done first. The above recommendations are a good way to start, but aren’t the only way to do it!

How to Organize Your To-Do List

When you go to start decorating a room, you’ll need to choose one room to focus on so you don’t try to do multiple different rooms all at once. If you try to decorate the whole house at once, you risk overwhelming yourself, and then you are ultimately making it harder to actually complete these projects!

Something to remember while starting to decorate your home is that you won’t need to really have everything set in stone when you start decorating.

You might like a certain vase for a while or even have more delicate decorations that could need to be replaced or swapped out for something else in the case that you have kids, friends’ kids visiting, or pets who might accidentally knock things over. Things like this are perfect to change things up, so long as you are still happy with the space.

Start with the budget. Plan out how much you intend to spend on decorating as a whole, or even just one room since you can decorate over the course of several months. There really is no need for a deadline unless you see a reason to set one.

Next, visualize what you want the space to look like. Pin things on Pinterest, make a mood board, look at paint colors, carpets, furniture and paintings. You don’t have to decide it all right now, but if you find an aesthetic you like, go for that.

And then you need to acquire both the decorations as well as the tools to decorate properly. Make sure when you get any furniture or paintings that you’ve measured out your space beforehand so you know that they will fit. The worst kind of letdown is when you like something a lot, but it won’t fit in your space.

Matching Color Schemes and Aesthetics

Usually, when you look up online how to decorate a house, the main thing you’ll be advised to do is figure out what your style is. There are so many different styles and choosing one makes it so much easier to figure out what you want to do mood board-wise and aesthetically. It’s easier to plan a space if you know what types of furniture you like and how you want it to come across.

The hardest part often ends up being matching colors and aesthetics. You don’t want to walk from one time period into another when you walk across your house. You want each room to be cohesive! You also want to make sure you choose colors that actually look good on the walls and complement the color of the carpet and the rest of the furniture in your home.

When you look at a color wheel, there are a variety of ways to match up colors, and the best thing to do is find more neutral tones for things and not go too vibrant. You’ll not want to feel like you’re stepping into a children’s nursery or playroom unless it is meant to be that kind of room.

Choose one main color to base the rest of the room off of. You can also choose one pattern (it could be a rug or a pillowcase) to also be a starting point. Once you have a color and a pattern, then decorating the rest of the room will be much easier.

Make sure you choose other colors and patterns that will be secondary to your main ones to blend into the background. If your main color is green, then you may decide to paint the walls a light tan color and have vibrant green couches with dark brown furniture to tie it all together.

A tip with patterns is to only have about three in a space at a time and choose the biggest pattern first.

You may choose a fun rug to be the focal point in the room, and then after that, make sure the rest of the patterns in the space are smaller than the rug. For example, if you choose a rug that has large polka-dots as a pattern, then make sure your patterned pillows have a small zigzag pattern, etc. Too many large patterns in a space can overwhelm quickly.

Pinning things on Pinterest and saving aesthetics that you like will be your saving grace. Going into something blind will inevitably inhibit your ability to decorate a space to your liking, especially if you are still guessing what you might like versus what actually looks good.

What might help the most is just looking up on Pinterest or just the internet in general with several keywords for what aesthetic and color scheme you’re going for, such as “blue bathroom minimalist decorations”. You can also get several other people’s opinions on color schemes so you don’t have to second guess yourself.

Basic Decoration Ideas

Depending on the aesthetic and the style and color schemes you end up running with, you’ll find that how you decorate is based on that.

  • If you are going for a minimalist look, you might just put one painting on the wall and call it a day.
  • If you like the more eclectic look, then you will want lots of decorations to fill up the space.

Usually, the basic things you’ll want to go with are some nice shelves that can house plants, pictures, or other memorabilia that you’ll enjoy seeing on a shelf.

The shelf itself could be a variety of different woods to match colors and styles or not wood at all. You might want to purchase a shelf from Ikea, drill it into the wall and then put your LEGO collection on it for the bigger and more expensive sets. Or you may want floor-to-ceiling bookshelves for your personal library. Shelves are a great way to show off all of your cool stuff.

Oftentimes, it’s fun to have plants in the apartment, whether they be potted plants or just a vase of flowers. It will be up to you whether or not you want to do something like that, but it definitely adds an element to the decorating that is distinctly personal to you. Even if you just add fake plants, it will look nice!

Another thing that you might want to note is bathroom design. Sometimes bathrooms can be quirky. The most important thing other than a clean bathroom is that it is comfortable enough that people won’t be weirded out by what’s in there, so maybe avoid the color-changing rugs that turn red when wet.

A good towel rack, a beautiful painting that hangs on the wall, an aesthetically pleasing clock, or fun towels are all great things to include in your bathroom decor. Have fun with it, and make the space something you will enjoy.

Summarizing the Plan

All in all, this gives you a great action plan, but after reading all of that, you might be trying to mentally plan out how you’ll do this. So, let’s do a quick rehash in the simplest way possible and give you an easy-to-follow guide on what to do when you start out decorating.

Step #1: Plan & Plot Where you Will Decorate

The first step is to plan out and plot where you want to decorate. This step has multiple steps in it that will change depending on the room and how much you want to decorate or change.

You’ll want to find:

  • the style you want
  • the color scheme you’ll stick to
  • the aesthetics you want
  • how you want the space to feel.

This process can take a long time, and that is completely okay. If you need ideas or are worried about how something might look, don’t hesitate to talk to your friends, look at Reddit, or find various ideas on Pinterest.

Step #2: Set a Budget

The second step is to work out what you have the budget for and how much you would like to set aside for decorating. Don’t get too worried because you will have time to change your mind and find out what you really like. If you’re worried about costs, going to thrift stores is just as valid as any other decor-finding trip.

Step #3: Set Time Aside for your Project

Third step, set aside time to follow through with your decorating and do the painting or the hanging of pictures. Enjoy it, make a day out of it, and then you can stand back at the end of the day, see what you did and be proud of it.

It’s a great feeling when you feel happy enough with a room or space to share it with those you love and cherish the most. All in all, the hope is that you have fun with your decorating and that you come out of it with a space you love to call your own.

Basic Tools You’ll Need for Decorating

Most decorations will require a toolkit of some kind, and depending on what kind of decorating you are doing, those tools could range from a simple screwdriver, hammer, and drywall nails, to painting equipment and tools.

Because much of this is up to what kind of aesthetic you are going for, your budget, and how much you do to decorate the spaces you have, you will never have an exact list of tools you need unless you make one yourself.

There are the generic tools that will be most helpful as you go about decorating, and then there might be some you’ll need for something new you try.

As such, here are some basic tools that you will need. When you’ve acquired them and have mapped out what and how you will decorate, make sure to make a list of unconventional tools you will need for other decorations.

Tools Often Needed to Decorate

  • Screwdriver
  • Alan Wrench
  • Hammer or Rubber Mallet
  • A Level
  • Ruler or Tape Measure
  • Stepping Stool or Ladder
  • Blue tape or Painters Tape
  • Nails, Screws, and other wall affixing bolts
  • Pencil for marking where to hang things
  • Patience with Yourself

All of these things are intended to be resources for you in creating a space where you feel happy in. If you can accomplish that, it will be well worth both the effort and time put into it.