How To Decorate A Room From Scratch

Last Updated July 27, 2021 By Bella Zinti

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You finally have that brand new space, and it’s all yours. Now what? 

One of the most exciting parts of moving into a new home or apartment is the blank canvas it provides for your own personal design style. But empty rooms and blank walls can be surprisingly overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a plan. Below, we outline five easy-to-follow tips for decorating a room from scratch.  

5 Tips To Decorate A Room From Scratch

Decide on a Design Style 

Before you begin buying furniture and choosing paint colors, it helps to come up with a plan. Start by scouring Pinterest, Instagram, and even interior design-themed magazines for styles and details that match your design personality. 

Modern, farmhouse, and transitional are three of the most popular design styles at the moment, and it’s likely that your aesthetic is defined by one of these.     


Modern design is defined by sleek, clean lines and an emphasis on industrial materials like wood, glass, and cement. Minimalism also fits into the modern style, as most modern spaces look and feel uncluttered. To soften a room designed in the modern style, earth tones and warm-colored woods are incorporated. 

Modern Farmhouse

Farmhouse style has made quite the resurgence in popularity thanks to Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper. Fortunately, it’s no longer defined by busy wallpaper trims and chicken decor! Rather, rooms done in the modern farmhouse style tend to feature lots of white and natural woods, overstuffed furniture, and antique-style accents that add a little historic touch.   


A blend of modern and traditional, the transitional decor style is probably the most common. In a transitional-style room, the furniture has a softer, curvier shape, while accent colors tend towards the neutral. Using transitional decor is a great way to make an older home feel more modern or to personalize a new construction.  

If you are still unsure, professional designers recommend matching the interior style to the home’s exterior. For example, a Spanish-style exterior could have an interior with lots of earth tones, dark natural woods, and bold patterns.   

Choose a Color Scheme

Once you have a general idea of the look for which you’re going, it’s time to determine a color scheme. 

Technically speaking, there are six types of color schemes ranging from monochromatic (using different shades of the same hue) to tetradic (using two sets of complementary colors in the color wheel -- green and red, for example). 

But to make things a little easier, choose three colors: one neutral shade and two complementary shades that can be a bit more vibrant. Grey, navy, and cerulean make up one appealing color combination, as do sand, coral, and cream. 

If you are having trouble coming up with a color scheme, carefully study an item or textile you hope to incorporate into the room, such as a painting or pillow. Then choose three colors from that item to determine your color palette. 

Decide on the Most Important Piece in the Room

You know your design style, and you’ve come up with a color palette, so now it’s time to start building up your room. To begin, decide on the room’s most important piece. For a bedroom, it’s likely to be the bed. For a living room, it may be the sofa. 

Your room’s most important piece is usually the largest and -- sometimes -- the most expensive. Because this piece will be part of the room’s focal point, spend some time considering different options.  

Add in the Layers 

Once you’ve figured out your design style, a color scheme, and the most important furniture piece in the room, the real fun can begin! As you spend time in your room and learn more about how you want it to function, you can begin adding in layers to bring forth your true design personality. 

Add splashes of your accent color(s) throughout the room with pillows, throw blankets, and other textiles. Wall art and a mirror can contribute to your focal point, while window treatments will add a bit of stylish functionality. 

Finally, round out your space with lighting, an area rug, and accent furniture like a nightstand or coffee table. 

Consult the Experts 

You don’t need to be an HGTV star or even a professional decorator to design a room from scratch. But if you’ve followed our steps and you’re still not entirely pleased with your home, then it’s okay to consult the experts. 

Home decor stores like Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and West Elm offer free design services to their customers. These design experts are full of advice and can tell you which furniture pieces and decor accessories best fit your personal style. Though consulting a store’s design expert usually requires purchasing a piece of furniture, these design experts can sometimes help you save some money, too.  

A Final Thought

There are few things more satisfying than watching your space develop into something that’s both comfortable and reflective of your personality. You don’t need to be a professional designer to design the perfect room. Rather, an idea of your preferred style, a color scheme, and some patience are all that’s needed. Begin with the largest furniture piece in space and layer around it. And if you ever need a little direction, then don’t hesitate to reach out to your favorite home decor store’s helpful design experts!  

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.