Smart Tips from Showhome Decorators: 4 Ways to Decorate When Starting from Scratch

Our showhome decorators’ main job is taking an empty house from bare to beautiful. They’re often decorating new homes with items they’ve reused, repurposed, purchased, or created. We chatted with showhome decorator Marnie Galbraith to get some smart tips on how to start from scratch when you move into your new home:

When moving into a new space, the excitement and anticipation can be both thrilling and overwhelming. That is, ’til you try and put it all together and realize what you have might not work or fit in your new space! Starting from scratch can be a daunting, yet enjoyable experience. We often feel the same way when creating a new look for a showhome here at Homes by Avi, so this is our showhome decorators four step process to decorating a new, empty home:

  1.  Assess your inventory: Find out what you have, what you don’t, what you would like to use, and what you need to purchase. Working in this scope will help you determine an overall feel, style or theme. This is crucial to completing a cohesive and pulled together look. Be it coastal or metropolitan, stick to it and try to incorporate that in all aspects of your home, including accessories, textiles, and art.
  2. Set your budget: Figure out exactly what you have to spend. There are so many options and levels of budget when searching for home furnishings. From affordable IKEA and HomeSense, to high end luxury brands and boutiques, you need to determine how much you would like to spend. Expensive isn’t always best- we like to mix and match!
  3. SHOP! Begin by hunting  for key pieces to invest in, such as a sofa, bed, dining table or whatever pieces you need. This is where the majority of your budget should go, since they will likely follow you throughout your home acquisitions. Invest wisely, these should be in neutral tones if you don’t want to commit to this year’s fads. These will serve as a focal point and ground your space to help assert your style. If you’re working on a budget, we like the idea of refurbishing used pieces, hunting on buy/sell websites, or refinishing pieces that others have given you. If pieces from your current place don’t work, sell them and use the money to put towards a piece that fits better in the space (like selling a queen bed to purchase a king bed, or a small couch to purchase a sectional).
  4. Pull it together: Now is the time to complete your look. Start big and work small – couches and big furniture, then art, then textiles such as bedding and area rugs, then accessories. Remember to work in small groups for accessories, and odd numbers are pleasing to the eye. Keep scale in mind when choosing and placing pieces, since they should be relative to each other. Seek inspiration from home décor magazines and keep it fresh by rearranging things as you buy them.

Our showhomes are a great start if you’re looking for inspiration. Check out the Avi Urban Past Developments section to see samples of townhomes we’ve decorated in the past to see how your pieces would fit. Or find inspiration on our Pinterest boards, we’ll be pinning tons of cool “empty space” ideas this month.