Designing a room from scratch doesn’t have to be overwhelming

You signed the stacks of paperwork, picked up the keys and even begun unpacking a few boxes. A lot of "tough" work of moving is over.

Then it hits you: What's left to do -- decorating your new space -- can turn out to be the hardest part! You're facing a blank slate when you're eager to see it transformed into an inviting living space you can enjoy and where you can organize your life.

But don't fret. We've got a few tips and a step-by-step approach to help you get on the way to turning your new space into home, sweet, home.

Stick to what pleases you, what fits your lifestyle and reflects the personal style you want to bring to your new home.

— Erika Riggs

What's the Purpose?

It’s a good first question is to ask yourself: What’s the room going to be? Before you start daydreaming about color schemes or furniture sets, make a decision about what it will take to make the room work the way you need it to. Is it a guest room? If so, what should be in the room: A bed, a desk, a dresser? Or will the room be an office with bookcases? Start with function first.

Get Inspired

Whether you love cool blues, warm Mediterranean hues or a clean, modern scheme, it's a smart move to choose one style or one color scheme and work from there. Unsure of what you like? There are plenty of resources to help you define a look for your new space. In addition to myriad design books at the local library or home products store, one easy place to look is Pinterest. This website has attracted thousands of images of kitchens, baths, bedroom and living spaces. We've collected tons of these pictures on the Zillow's Pinterest boards.

Big Things First

While some designers may instruct you to pick a pillow or an accessory to spark a color or design scheme, that may prove a tall order for most people to create a cohesive look. Accessories are easy to come by. The real keys are what colors and materials you envision for your floors and walls, and what larger pieces of furniture you are working with. Will the color of a love seat or the style of a bookcase determine your decor? Build out from there.

Don't Overdo It

Design magazines are enticing, and it's exciting to think about recreating a look you see splashed on those glossy pages. Then it’s time for a reality check. Those images are staged, and every element displayed has been carefully chosen without regard to cost. Or, sometimes, kids! If you have children, an all-white living room is probably not the way to go. No doubt you want a room to look great, but it must also fit your needs. This is your life, not a photo shoot!

Have Fun

Ultimately, this is your home. You are free to create the space that you want to spend time in. Don't worry about what's in or out, hot or not in the home decoration world. There are so many choices, anyone can be overwhelmed. The best plan is to stick to what pleases you, what fits your lifestyle and reflects the personal style you want to bring to your new home.