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Help! I Don’t Know How To Decorate My Home! – How To Decorate Without Getting Overwhelmed

Decorating your home can be overwhelming if you have no idea where to start. Follow these 10 steps to guide you on how to decorate without getting overwhelmed.

Do you find yourself saying or thinking “Help! I don’t know how to decorate my home!”? I hear you, friend. 

Do you spend hours browsing gorgeous home decor ideas on Pinterest and turn away asking yourself “how do they do it? ” 

Let’s face it. Decorating can be overwhelming, especially if you have no idea where to start. These 10 steps will help you learn how to decorate without getting overwhelmed.

When we moved into a large 3-bedroom rental home shortly after moving to Bend years ago, I remember staring at the blank slate for weeks. There was no coffee table. No floor lamps. No decorative items or wall art. Just blank white walls. 

To me, there was nothing more daunting than the task of decorating this huge, empty house. As a young newlywed, I was still figuring out what my decorating style was. Heck, even decorating our little fixer upper that we purchased after renting was a challenge.

So you have two options if you’re stuck and find yourself saying “Help! I don’t know how to decorate my home”.

  1. You can run away and hide under a blanket, hoping that someday Joanna Gaines will knock on your door and say that she wants to decorate your house for you (someone PUH-lease give her my address).
  2. Or you can use these simple steps to learn how to decorate without getting overwhelmed.
Wondering how to decorate your home, without getting overwhelmed? Here are some decorating tips you can use to decorate any room in your house, without feeling overwhelmed by choices.

This guide on how to decorate without getting overwhelmed contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend anyway! Read my full disclosure here.

How To Decorate Without Getting Overwhelmed – 10 Simple Steps

1. Quit doubting yourself.

You will probably find that you are your own biggest roadblock on your journey to decorate your home (I know I was…and still am). 

Suzy Kassem said it best when she said: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” 

Doube kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Suzy Kassem

Before you begin, you need to give up perfectionism and realize that to discover your home decor style, you’re probably going to make mistakes. 

You may try a new look and hate it. You may need to move slowly and leave some empty rooms as you figure things out. You may need to rearrange the furniture in the conversation area of your living room 10 times. You may need to switch up the color scheme entirely. 

And that is ok.

No need to stress about decorating anymore! Check out our blog post for expert guidance on how to achieve a gorgeous home without the overwhelm.

2. Don’t be afraid to try new things in your home decor.

Many times, it is the unexpected that makes a room really stand out. Learning to decorate like an interior designer involves a ton of trial and error. 

Don’t be afraid to try every decor combination before getting it right.

In fact, when I’m planning my wall decor, I usually lay everything that I plan on hanging on the walls out on the floor first to play around with different combinations.

This is one of my little hacks that helps with planning a gallery wall. Whether we’re hanging family photos in picture frames wall or wall art, I always start with it laid out on the floor. 

Then, I typically have my wonderful hubby hold it up on the wall so I can visualize it. 

If it is possible, I always use velcro command strips for wall decor. They are your best friend because you don’t have to commit to nailing a big hole in the wall if you’re not too sure that you will like the piece right there. You can remove the command strips easily without damage!

Sometimes you can’t use the command strips (like a large mirror that is too heavy for them). In those cases, I use this simple method of how to hang a picture the easy way – seriously, this will change your life. 

Learn how to decorate your home confidently with this step-by-step guide!

3. Take it one room at a time.

There’s nothing more discouraging than feeling like you have to figure out how to decorate your entire house right now (especially if you are just moving in and starting with a blank slate like I was). 

The best way to avoid overwhelm when decorating is to turn on your blinders and keep your sights focused on one room at a time

Start with the room where you spend a lot of time, like the living room or kitchen. This will make a huge difference and get you started in a room you can enjoy often.

Another good idea is to avoid starting with a room that is giving you the biggest headache or needs the most amount of work. 

It’s always better to start with a small success instead, so you walk in feeling encouraged rather than lost all over again.

Once you choose the room you’re going to focus on first, follow along with the rest of the steps in this article as a step-by-step guide!

Even if you’re decorating one room at a time, it is still important to keep a cohesive color palette throughout your home! Learn more about creating a whole house color scheme.

Find out how to tackle home decor with confidence and avoid the overwhelm. Say goodbye to stress and hello to a beautifully styled space!

4. Make a list of the essentials for your room.

Are there any big furniture pieces you need to buy (or make)? Maybe it is time for a trip to the flea markets or thrift stores to find some affordable furniture with character! 

What items do you already have on hand that you want to incorporate? Does your room need an area rug? 

Maybe you need creative storage solutions for your small bedroom. Do you need to think through small bathroom organization

What about the light fixtures? Do you have your heart set on a new statement chandelier

Make a list of the essentials that you need for your room. This list will be your starting point of what to prioritize and focus on when decorating your room.

Tired of feeling overwhelmed by decorating projects? Our blog post has got you covered with practical advice and a step-by-step approach.

5. Prioritize your list.

Rank every single item on the list that you made. There are NO ties. 

What is the single most important thing to you in the room? What things would you like to have in the room, but aren’t necessary?

There may be some things that are must-haves (like a dining table in your eating area) and some things that are just want-to-haves (like new side tables next to your couch in the living room). 

I always use Pinterest to help me when I'm struggling with how to decorate a room in my home. Learn how to use these online resources so you can decorate like an interior designer!

6. Start a Pinterest board for your first room.

Pinterest can be a great way and very effective tool for decorating your home. You can read my guide on how to use Pinterest to discover your home decor style here

Essentially, the goal for your room’s Pinterest board is to start developing the overall look and feel of your room. 

​Here’s a quick summary of how to use Pinterest to help with decorating: 

  • Start a Pinterest board for your home (or the specific room in your home that you’re working on)
  • Just start pinning things that you love. 
  • Review the related pins to find similar ideas (just scroll down when you open a pin to see the related pins). 
  • Use the Pin description section to record what you like about the pin. 
  • Once you have a bunch of things pinned to your board, take a step back and look at the board to find general themes and overarching ideas. Look for items that appear multiple times. 

Remember that Pinterest is a great source of home decor inspiration and can definitely help you in your journey of how to decorate. But YOUR home style needs to reflect YOU. Your house needs to be a place that you love coming home to. Your home shouldn’t be a compilation of the most current trends on Pinterest, just for trend’s sake. 

Decorating can be a breeze when you have the right approach. Learn how to avoid overwhelm and enjoy the process with our helpful tips.

7. Know when to stop pinning and start doing.

Although Pinterest can be a very powerful tool for entire home decor, in order to learn how to decorate like a pro you need to PUT. DOWN. THE. PINTEREST. 

If you don’t eventually stop pinning and start doing, you will get sucked into the rabbit hole of Pinterest. 

And I’ve been at the bottom of that rabbit hole friends, you’ll be lost, confused, and discouraged.

If you feel like you’re stuck pinning, my best advice for you is to just start decorating

Starting can be half the battle when facing something daunting, like decorating your home.

8. Make a mood board.

Wondering how to decorate your home without getting overwhelmed? Start with a mood board like this baby boy nursery board, filled with design and decor inspiration.
Here’s an example of a mood board I made for our baby boy’s woodland rustic nursery! 

Now is a great time to create a mood board for your room. A mood board is a visual plan for the decor of your room. 

Mood boards are great jumping points for you to move from pinning decor inspiration pictures to planning the specific decor for your room. 

If you are a visual person, this can help you tremendously on your journey to learn how to decorate! 

How to make a mood board for your room: electronic

For those of you that want to create your new home decor mood board electronically, Canva is a great FREE online graphic design website where you can arrange the photos together. 

Learn how to make an interior design mood board here. I walk you through the entire process! 

How to make a mood board for your room: no computer

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t be afraid to kick it back to old school. Grab the scissors and a glue stick and make your mood board like you used to make collages!

What do you want to put on your room’s mood board?

For your mood board, you definitely want to compile pictures of everything on your list that you prioritized earlier in Step 5. 

If you are still shopping around for your pieces, you can add photos of items that you like or ones that inspire you. 

Creating mood boards for home decor helps me figure out how everything looks together so there is a cohesive look. You’ll be able to nail down your color palette and overall get an idea of how the room will feel! Even if it is a small room, I would recommend creating a mood board first!

Quick tip: If you are looking for a quick way to see how things look together, save photos and then open them up on your desktop. This works great for items that will pair together like throw pillows on a bed or pieces for a boho-style gallery wall.

Uncover our secrets to creating a stunning home that reflects your personality effortlessly. Learn how to take advantage of online resources to help you decorate your home.

9. Layer in your home decor.

One of the things that really helps me figure out how to decorate without getting overwhelmed is really breaking it down. I love to think of my home decor for each room as layers. This may sound a bit confusing, but don’t worry! I would recommend thinking through each room in this order. Each of the layers builds upon each other. This process will really help take some of the “hugeness” out of decorating. If you’re overwhelmed, you’ll give anything to simplify the decorating process, right? 

  • Layer 1: Base – This is the wall color and the type of flooring you have. This is the foundation of any room. Check out my tips for choosing paint colors here.
  • Layer 2: Furniture & Lighting – These are usually your investment pieces, so choose timeless and classic designs and avoid trendy times. Try to decide on these big pieces first because they will be the most expensive and will set the tone for the rest of the room. And don’t forget to think about lighting early on in the process. Good lighting can make or break a room’s atmosphere. Layer different types of lighting, including ambient, task, and accent lights, to create a warm and inviting space. 
  • Layer 3: Texture – Bringing in texture is all about area rugs, bedding, window treatments, throw pillows, and blankets. 
  • Layer 4: Walls – Next you’ll want to think through the wall decor in each room.
  • Layer 5: Style – Lastly, layer in accent pieces and smaller decorative objects. Here is where you can go with more trendy finds because they are usually inexpensive and easy to replace as your design style may change. 

The last thing I want to do is confuse you, so I wrote writing a WHOLE post about how to decorate with layers as a follow-up to this post about how to decorate without getting overwhelmed.

10. Keep your receipts.

Here’s what I’ve learned about decorating: a good decorator is a good returner. 

I usually end up overbuying home decor when I’m planning a room. And that is totally ok. I always make sure the places where I shop have good return policies. If I can’t use the decor somewhere else in my home, I will return it, sell it or donate it!

Remember, decorating is a journey, not a destination. Take your time, enjoy the process, and let your creativity guide you. 

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on Joanna Gaines knocking on your door and decorating your house for you. But don’t worry! I’m here to help you every step of the way. 

Seriously – I’m right by your side as you discover how to decorate without getting overwhelmed. You can find all of my “how to decorate” posts here and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need advice. 

When you find yourself saying help! I don’t know how to decorate my home, follow these 10 simple steps as you learn how to decorate without getting overwhelmed.

Learn how to decorate your home without getting overwhelmed with this ten tips!

Further reading: Check out these decorating articles:

This article was originally published in March 2017 but has been updated most recently as of May 2023.

10 thoughts on “Help! I Don’t Know How To Decorate My Home! – How To Decorate Without Getting Overwhelmed

    1. The rabbit hole of Pinterest is REAL! Haha. Sometimes it helps me to just go out to one of my favorite home decor stores to see the items in real life. Being able to look and touch the decor pieces seems to help me really start o think outside of the “Pin” 🙂

  1. Very insightful! Before coming across this article, I was moments away from grabbing a brown paper bag to breathe into because of how overwhelmed I was feeling! I made the mistake of ordering “the smaller things” wall prints and decorative things without remotely considering the bigger things as a priority. And it definitely does not help that I’m a type a personality wishing to conquer all overnight. Thank you, I’ll be prioritizing and creating a mood board to help layout my ideas better 🙂

  2. I’m sure these are helpful tips for people who are into home decor and like pinterest. But I literally have no idea what to do. I know what I like when I see it, bu have zero ability to create it myself. I would not spend more than a minute on pinterest before I want to poke someone’s eye out with a sharp stick. I need a mix and match program where I literally click on images like an eye doctor’s chart…”better here, or there” and then maybe I could figure out what to do. Mean while, I have spent the last 20 years of my life in a house decorated by my husband (lots of beer growler displays and concert posters) because I can’t find a site that will dumb it down enough for me. And honestly, I DO CARE. I just have no visual aesthetic understanding of how to put things together and I can’t find anything online that will help me.

  3. Wow, I love these ideas. I will be starting them Saturday. Your decorations tips and ideas just make sense to me. Yet, I know I will not be able to pull things together as nicely and fabulous as you are doing in your home. However, I will do my darnedest to make my dreams come true in our home. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hellllp, I just moved to a house I hate, it’s too big, it’s a 2 story ,I’m 66 yrs old, and I’m just over where’d, I sold a lot of stuff so what I have I like and I want to use it, but… I feel like I have lost all creativity. And we bought this because this was all that was available at the time, the housing is crazy, although I’m still looking, but no luck, sooo I think I’m stuck here for awhile.
    But it is so hard for me to decorate. Any suggestions other than move, because that is not an option right now ?

    1. Hi Melody! It sounds like the house is big and overwhelming which is probably where you’re getting stuck! I’d recommend starting with one space at a time and start small. Instead of thinking that you need to decorate your entire house right now, just start with the easiest and most simple room. Work on it and finish it and you’ll probably find that gives you motivation to keep going. And remember…the grass is greener where you water it.

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