10 Do’s and Don’ts for Decorating and Furnishing Your New Home

10 Dos and 10 Don'ts for decorating
BY BLINDSTER | January 16, 2015
September 25, 2023

When you move into a new home, furnishing it for the first time gives you a clean slate that you may never have again—unless you move, that is. That's why it's important to make the best of your "blank slate" opportunity the first time around so that you can make your home look and feel a way that matches your style, personality, and energy. Here are 10 Dos and Don'ts from Blindster.com to make the most of your new living space and create a warm and inviting atmosphere that you'll enjoy for years to come.

Do the hard work first

If possible, do any extensive or even minor renovation projects before you move a single piece of furniture into your home. Want to knock out that wall dividing the living room and kitchen? Need to update the tub or shower? Does the kitchen need an entire makeover? If so, tackle those projects first. Not only will the open spaces give you plenty of room to work, but you'll also be better able to visualize the furniture and décor that will match the rest of your house after you're done.

Don't overcrowd any rooms

If you have any large rooms in your home, it can be tempting to fill them with furniture in order to close them in and make them feel warmer and cozier. Sometimes it's best to resist that temptation, however, and simply allow the room to exist as-is. Instead, decorate and furnish large rooms with bold artwork and pieces of furniture that draw your eye's attention instead of causing it to wander around the room straining for something to focus on. In art, negative space can often have a powerful effect on the viewer, and the same is true in-home décor as well.

Do choose window treatments that are appropriate for each room

Some rooms, such as bedrooms and media rooms, benefit from blackout shades that can reduce or block sunlight and glare while providing maximum privacy. Other rooms, like the living room, sunroom, and kitchen may be better served with window treatments designed to let in ample natural light and maintain a clear view of the outdoors.

Don't focus too much on matching furniture

While it's nice to have an entire set of matching furniture, it's not realistic for most people. Don't leave a new piece of furniture behind just because it may not fit perfectly with your existing furniture. In many cases, a vintage sofa, cabinet, chair, or table can turn into the showpiece of a room—even if it came from a different decade or even century from the rest of your furniture.

Do use rugs to create sections within rooms

Whether you have carpet or hardwood floors, rugs are a great way to easily section off parts of rooms into designated areas—especially in homes that feature open floor plans. Use a rug underneath your breakfast table or nook to help separate it from the rest of your kitchen area. You can also use a large area rug to section off your couch, coffee table, end tables, and television stand in your living room.

Don't follow any themes too closely

Unless you're aiming to make your home look like a hotel room, try to avoid decorations and furniture that seem stereotypical for the area. For example, if your home is near the beach, don't go overboard with a nautical, seashell, or palm tree-inspired decorations. Let your home's natural setting and your sense of style and décor speak for themselves without resorting to an overarching theme that dominates the focal points of every room.

Don't be afraid to spend a little more

Not all furniture is created equally, and if you've moved more than a few times in your life, you're probably well aware of that fact. That's why it makes sense to splurge and shell out a bit of extra cash for certain pieces of furniture that are sure to get heavy use and will stand out in your home, such as your couch, kitchen table, or an interesting piece of décor. It's not necessary to furnish your home entirely with luxury items, but a few well-placed high-end pieces can make all the difference.

Do provide plenty of options for seating

One of the most overlooked aspects of furnishing a new home is making sure you have enough seating for family members, guests, and party attendees. Have extra chairs and even an extra table on hand for dinner parties or holiday gatherings, and furnish your living room with plenty of seating options. Sectional couches are great for maximizing space and providing ample seating for your guests—especially if they're paired with a loveseat or a couple of roomy chairs.

Don't forget the personal touches

To make a house truly feel like a home, be sure to display pictures, artwork, mementos, souvenirs, and other personal items created by you, your family members, and your friends. Adding a personal touch to every room helps make your home feel more inviting and comfortable, while also conjuring memories of great times you shared with the people closest to you.

Do test paint colors

If you decide to paint any room in your home, take your time and test the color before you commit to it. It's important to never base your judgment on a color based on what you saw at the hardware store. Big box hardware stores have harsh overhead lighting that is drastically different from what you have at home—and that means the color you see in the store will look very different when it's on your wall. Get several samples and test them out individually to choose the color that works best for each room's purpose and desired décor.

Don't over think it

In a list of Dos and Don'ts, this may seem counterintuitive. But remember—it's your home, and ultimately, it's up to you to decide how to furnish and decorate it. While it's handy to have a few pointers and tips and tricks in mind when you're visualizing the décor for a room, it's also important to please yourself and your family. After all, you're the ones who have to live there! So use the opportunity to have fun and be creative, and remember—if you don't like the way a room looks now, you can always change it.

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