Ready, Set, Decorate: How to Create a Home Decorating Plan in Five Steps

How to Create a Decorating Planning Guide

Need to design your home, but you have no idea where to start? Design is a process, and believe it or not, there is quite a bit of work to do before you even step foot in a home store or visit a furnishings website. So if you want your place to be the uber-chic envy of the neighborhood, check out these five tips on how to create a home decorating plan. Trust me, they’ll save you time, money, and make the whole process easy! I’ve also included a handy planning guide to help you stay organized during the process!

How to Create a Home Decorating Plan Step #1: Conquer the Clutter

Get ready for a #truthbomb! Your home will never be the fabulous sanctuary from all of the stresses of life that you want it to be if it is full of a bunch of junk that doesn’t bring you joy, so it’s time for you to do some serious soul searching with your belongings. Here are my tips for purging your house of the unused and the uninspiring pieces that are dragging you down.

Welcome to the Purge!

  1. Pick a category of item to purge.

    • Clothes

    • Books and Media

    • Paperwork

    • Kitchen Items

    • Hobby Items

    • Holiday Items

    • etc. etc.

  2. Get it all out (and I mean all of it!) on the floor or a clear space.

  3. Take each item and determine if it brings you joy in your life or is super useful.

    • If it doesn’t donate it or toss it.

    • If it does, find a place to put it.

  4. Pick another category and repeat, repeat, repeat!

The purge should be completed quickly! I’ll never forget my purge of books. I had hundreds upon hundreds of books stashed away in my home. I put them all in my living room and I felt sick when I saw them all. I did not need about 80% of them- I was a book hoarder. Getting rid of them opened up so much space in my home and made me much more organized. The main goal is to keep items that make you happy and to ditch those that don’t.

If you are a minimalist, this will be an easy step for you, but if you have years of stuff lurking in every possible corner of your home, this is going to be hard. Remember- this is crucial, so if you’re not willing to purge, your home will always feel unorganized and off, no matter how great your décor is.


Think of your favorite home goods store or website. Maybe it’s Target, or Ikea, or West Elm. If you don’t know your design style, shopping is going to be really tricky. It will be like driving somewhere new without Siri telling you how to get there. I know that if I went into Anthropologie not knowing the style and colors that I want my home to be, I would want all of the things!

 Knowing your personal design style is your guide when making design and decorating decisions. When you know your style and colors you will:

  1. Go shopping without fear of picking items that are the wrong style or color for your home.

  2. Spend less money because you will know what to buy and what to forget about.

  3. Spend less time shopping because you will quickly be able to determine what items will go with your design plan.

  4. Have a space that looks professionally put together, even if you don’t enroll the help of a designer.

  5. You’ll know where to shop and where to avoid just by looking at a few web pages or by walking into a store. I get a sense of invigoration every time I step into Jonathan Adler, but I can tell by passing by a Kirkland’s that it’s not the store for me. Another time saver!


Like Yoda once said, “Patience, you must have patience.” This is especially true when you have multiple rooms to design in your home and you don’t have the time or funds to get it all done right away.

The best way to determine your top priorities is to look at your lifestyle. Do you entertain a lot and need a fabulous living and dining space for your guests? Do you work from home and need an office that is both functional and inspiring? Are you a home body that loves curling up with a good book and relaxing in bed? Or is your bathroom so fugly that there’s no way you’d take a shower in it for fear of a Norman-Bates-type incident? Start looking at which rooms need the most help ASAP, and then make a priority list from there.


You probably already have furniture and accessories that you want to incorporate into your new space. But will they work? Answer these questions to find out:

  1. Does the piece align with my design style?

  2. Is the piece a neutral or part of my color palette?

  3. Is the piece in good condition or can it be easily fixed/cleaned?

  4. Do I have a need for the piece?

  5. Will the piece physically fit in the space?

  6. Does the piece make me happy?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, yay! You have some pieces that will work with. If not, you have some shopping to do.


Now that you know what you already have for your space, it’s time to figure out what you need. Follow these steps to get down to the nitty-gritty of the design process- what you need to purchase.

  1. Brainstorm everything you could possibly need and want for the space. This could include number of seats, type of sofa, or size of bed, but also don’t forget about things like area rugs, shelving accessories, wall treatments, and art pieces.

  2. Take your brainstorm and prioritize the list, from the most important to the least important items.

  3. Look over your budget, and assign a max price that you are willing to spend on each item. I know you may not want to do this, but you need to be realistic with what you want to spend on each item.

  4. Determine whether or not you will be able to purchase everything now, or if you will need to work on the room in stages. Try to come up with a flexible timeline for getting the room done.

Organized house? Check! Design style and colors picked? Check! A prioritized list of spaces and needs with a budget? Check! Look at you! You’ve completed the five step of how to create a home decorating plan, and now you’re ready to go forth into the world and rock your design plan! Make sure to download your free interior design planning guide to help you stay organized.


Get Your Free Decorating Planning Guide

Not ready to go it alone, but don’t have the time to work with a local designer? Check out my virtual design process, set up a design brainstorm session and join the interior design revolution today!

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