10 Ways to Start Decorating a Room from Scratch

This blog post about 10 Ways to Start Decorating a Room from Scratch was last updated in August 2023.

Living Room

Here on the How to Decorate blog, we can’t even count the number of times we’ve been asked: “I just moved into my new home, and I have no idea where to start!”

That’s because decorating a room completely from scratch is intimidating: You have no where to start and yet so many choices to make, things to buy, and colors to coordinate. Looking for a jumping off point? We pulled together some easy jumping off point so you can start decorating your room from scratch!

Wall art shelf1. Find a Piece of Artwork You Love

When we design the rooms for our catalog, we have the same dilemma. We have a completely blank canvas with endless possibilities. However, more often than not, we’ll use a piece of artwork as a starting point.

  • Here, we used our handy art display stands to display some interesting pieces including our Intaglio in Gold Wall Art. We wanted to emphasize those gold colors in the room, so we used them for our upholstery, pillows, and coordinated everything with a bright blue rug.

2. Start with a Rug when Decorating from Scratch

If wall art seems like a hard jumping off point, another great way to start coordinating a room is with a large area rug. Our Diamond Sisal Rug is one of our all time favorites because it’s subtle colors and eye-catching design.

Use a bold fabric as a jumping off point for your room

3. Find a FabulousĀ Fabric

Large scale patterned fabrics with florals are another great jumping off point for decorating a blank room. This year, we’re loving our Kennedy Stone Fabric for its neutral palette and repeating, chic design.

Use an inspiration tear as the jumping off point for a room if you're starting from scratch

4. Inspiration Elsewhere

An inspiration tear is a great way to give your room some direction. Whether you love it for the color palette, the layout, or just the general vibe, use a room you find as a reference when you’re starting from scratch.

Bold colors, like green, can pull any room together

5. Choose a Color

Color can have a huge impact on the way your room feels. Every color has it’s own personality, so if you find a hue that evokes the feeling you’re after, go to town with it in your space. Here, we used the rich green tones of our Nadine Velvet Quilted Bedding to accentuate the entire room, from drapery to nightstands.

Choosing your room's layout before you pick furniture

6. Land on a Layout

If you’ve got an oddly shaped room or a very small space, first decide on a layout that works in your favor. Needing specific furniture pieces will narrow your options and help you get started in the right direction.

  • You can play around with different furniture arrangements with our free room planner tool until you land on a perfectly functional and stylistic space.

Choose a statement piece for your room

7. Start with a Statement Piece when Decorating from Scratch

One dramatic piece can inspire an entire room. In this living space, our Paloma Chandelier was our starting off point, so we echoed the gold exterior in the rest of our choices.

Neutral furniture and/or wall paint

8. Neutral Need Not Be Boring

Neutral rooms get a bad rap, but if you don’t have an inspiration point for your empty space, consider doing an allover neutral color palette. Choose one neutral shade, be it gray, white, or beige, and bring in pieces that are neutral but in different textures.

  • Linens, leathers, velvets, rustic wood, metallic pieces, and wallpaper can all work together beautifully in they’re in one shade.
  • Using a neutral shade, pick a hero fabric for your statement pieces that compliments the color’s undertones.

Work with what you've already got in a room!

9. Work With What You’ve Got

Consider using a piece from somewhere else in your home as a starting place. Maybe it’s an family heirloom, a children’s piece of art, or a collection of blue and white porcelain. Reinvent something you already love by using it in a new way, and let that one standout piece (or piece) guide all of your choices for the space.

Collect as you go!

10. Collect As You Go

For some people, not having a plan is a plan in and of itself! If you can’t come up with a direction, let the inspiration come to you. Hit an antique shop, flip through your favorite catalog, or go to a local home store, and inspiration may just strike you when you least expect it. Layer in new pieces as you find them, and simply let your room evolve over time!

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments; To stay up to date with all things How to Decorate, sign up for ourĀ monthly newsletter.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    PATRICIA Motzheim

    April 2, 2021

    I have seen many design ideas, but none as beautiful as these

  2. Reply

    Julie sherman

    March 25, 2021

    Hi. I love the Catherine rug in you design idea page but the 3 choices to purchase do not look the same color tone. Can you verify which Catherine rug is in your design picture in this article. Thank you. In love with all.

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      April 30, 2021

      That is our Catherine Rug in Sage. So glad you like it!

  3. Reply


    July 6, 2020

    Where can I find the chairs from the first picture? I love that burnt orange colour and the style of the chair
    Thank you

  4. Reply

    Baylee Frost

    June 27, 2017

    Any idea what the wall color is in #3?

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      July 6, 2017

      Yes, that color is a Benjamin Moore paint called “Half Moon Crest” #1481. You can find all of our paint colors from each catalog here:
      Hope this helps!

  5. Reply


    March 4, 2017

    Can I ask where to find the large orb chandelier with ball crystal?

  6. Reply


    January 14, 2017

    Have same tall cabinet displayed in Lay of the land display.How could I decorate it for a dinette area off the kitchen?

  7. Reply


    January 14, 2017

    Thanks for the advice.

  8. Reply


    January 11, 2017

    If it were only that easy. You make it look so effortless. Just beautiful!

  9. Reply


    January 11, 2017

    All of these rooms are SOOO incredibly gorgeous!! Wow, so amazingly put together.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      January 11, 2017

      Thank you so much, Phara!