How to decorate with intention: Making the right choice the first time

It’s a new year and you may be thinking about making some changes to your home. Whether those changes are big or small, I want you to make the right choices — the first time — and decorate with intention.

What is decorating with intention?

It involves making choices to bring out the purpose of a room to transform it into a warm, authentic space. It is making choices that are creative, mixing colours, fabrics and decor to complement your lifestyle and personality.


Your home is your special spot, the place you unwind, relax and recharge. Are you battle weary trying to “do a room”? Perhaps the end result wasn’t what you really wanted and you don’t know where you went wrong. You spend time and money only to end up with something you don’t like. We can change that!

decorate with intention sue pitchforth decor therapy plus living room cathedral ceiling

Five tips to help you decorate with intention

I want to share some tips that will allow your house to help you de-stress while letting you decorate with purpose. Use these tips to break free of those decorating challenges you have once and for all.


No. 1: Take an honest inventory

Look at the space you want to transform and decide what pieces of furniture should stay in the room and what you should remove.

Here is a great example of a bedroom that needed a transformation. The space was cluttered, didn’t work well and a change was needed.

By removing the desk and chair to another space, we repositioned the furniture, brought out the linens, styled the shelves and voila! — we have a space that was decorated with intention.


Now it’s a serene, spacious room that looks amazing and functions well. These changes were made using only what the client had — no new purchases were made.

No. 2: Position furniture so it works for you, not how you think it should be

Do you sometimes find that when you walk into a room you know something isn’t working but you can’t figure out why? This can happen when a room is decorated counter to how it is used.

The day-to-day function of a room should always trump its “design”. There’s no sense having a room that looks fabulous but doesn’t work for your family.


decorate with intention sue pitchforth decor therapy plus living room with sectional couch

In this room, the homeowners had a large sectional and they wanted the windows behind the sofa so that the fireplace would be the focal point.

No. 3: Add colour and personality

Give your room a pop of colour through the accessories you select. It’s so easy and inexpensive to add a few pillows, a throw, a fabulous rug or even a colourful ottoman and you’ll be amazed at how the room comes to life and has new energy.


Accessories can be changed from season to season and if you get tired of a colour, just change it up. You can experiment as well with new looks or colours without breaking the budget.

decorate with intention sue pitchforth decor therapy plus family room

This basement has a neutral base with the colour being added through the artwork, pillows and colourful ottoman, which works well with the focal wall.


No. 4: Measure once and then measure again

I’m sure you’ve heard this line from many a contractor. It’s so true and applies both to renovating a space and when purchasing new furniture.

It’s a good idea to take the measurements of furniture you are thinking of buying, go home, and with painter’s tape measure out the pieces on your floor. This way you can see how the furniture will sit in the room and how much space you really have. This exercise will save your sanity as well as your time and money.

decorate with intention sue pitchforth decor therapy plus painter's tape


Here we used painter’s tape to mark out a wall-mount TV, a mantel and a gas fireplace. This way there are no errors.

No. 5: Surround yourself with things you love

One of my key philosophies when I visit clients is that I want to help them surround themselves with things that they love and bring happiness to them. Whether that is special pieces brought home from travels, a favourite collection or something new that you just picked up, be sure to showcase things that make you smile and bring you joy.

Your home has a direct impact on your emotions. Cluttered, busy spaces evoke stress, while calmness and joy are shared through special items you see every day.


decorate with intention sue pitchforth decor therapy plus ladder shelf

This ladder shelf is filled with treasured family heirlooms and special pieces collected over time.

decorate with intention sue pitchforth decor therapy plus sitting area


And these two chairs are ones their homeowners love to spend time in. They are cosy, warm and inviting. Many a cup of tea and long conversation has been enjoyed in these chairs.

When it comes to decorating with intention, keep in mind one of my favourite quotes:

“Home… The story of who we are and a collection of all the things we love.”



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About the Author

Sue Pitchforth

Sue Pitchforth of Decor Therapy Plus is an international award-winning designer and Readers’ Choice winner for eight years in a row. Sue is a TV personality and professional speaker who takes a refreshingly unique and inexpensive approach to design that yields luxurious results. Believing your home is an expression of your life and personality, Sue says most people usually have a lot of what they need, they just don’t know it. She uses her popular workshops and seminars to inspire homeowners and her newest program is Design & Property Styling from a Distance. Having recently relocated to Ottawa, Sue is thrilled to be here and is already helping homeowners make the most of their spaces.



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