Baking Up a Room from Scratch

The most common question that I receive is – how do I design or completely makeover a room?  Where do I begin?  I wanted to share my general “recipe” and rules of thumb when baking up a room from scratch.


One of the most common search terms that leads people to my blog is Silver Sage Living Room (because of this post on a child’s room painted Silver Sage from Restoration Hardware).  This is a really popular and versatile paint color.  So, as an example, I will use a silver sage living room.

1. Take Inventory. What is already in the room?  Do you like the color of the walls?  What furniture do you have that you want to use?  What function will the room serve?  What is the decor of the surrounding rooms?


2.  Choose your color scheme. I usually begin with the color of the walls and work from there.  If you have a fabric that you would like to use, beginning with the fabric works too.  I usually choose three colors — the wall color, the trim color and an accent color.

In this example, the walls will be painted silver sage from Restoration Hardware.  For trim, I usually use a white, off white, cream or gray high gloss paint.  In this example, I like the contrast of a high gloss white for the trim.  And for accent colors, well, let your personality shine through!  I, predictably, would probably choose orange these days!  The accent color is perfect for throw pillows and blankets, for use in your window treatments  and rug, and to tie the room together.

3. Choose a Furniture Finish. Although all of the furniture should not be matchy-matchy, I think a room looks much more pulled together when the wood finishes are in the same family (whites and creams, or varying shades of blonde or mahogany wood).

4.  Furniture Selection and Placement. I personally like to use furniture sparingly.  I try to select only pieces that have function and place them accordingly.  Give thought to the use and flow of the room.  Nothing is more jarring and suffocating to the eye than a room chock full of function-less furniture!

5. Fill In with Accents (with high editorial discretion!). Choose complementary window treatments, lighting, rugs, art and pillows.  Decorate with items that you really love and give them the respect they deserve.  Admiring eyes get lost in a sea of knick-knacks.  I love to rotate art and vases through the house (including a rest on closet shelves for a while).  It makes me love the piece even more when it’s displayed in a new place or new way.

6.  Enjoy and Perfect. Every room is a work in progress and tweaking may be necessary based on the everyday use of the room and the moving targets that comprise your life.

Voila! – check out the possibilities of our finished room:





[Images Courtesy of: Decor PadDecor Pad, Simplified Bee, Western Interiors via Material Girls – Dallas]

One response to “Baking Up a Room from Scratch

  1. Those are good tips – we are going to do a living room overhaul this fall and I’m clueless when it comes to decorating! Thanks!

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