1. Separate items into three different piles: display, storage/hidden, and garage sale/giveaway.
2. Decide on a color palatte and a general idea of what you want the room to look like. Maybe something in your "display" pile (from step one) will make you choose a certain color scheme, or possibly the color of the floors, or the colors in nearby rooms. One of the best things to do in order to find out what you like is to go through home magazines, home decorating blogs, online shelter magazines, and designing websites. Save the pictures you like and your room can be inspired by the colors and things you love from your favorite pictures.
3. Once you have at least the color of the walls picked out, move on to how much furniture you will need and where it will go. Create a layout. Try using painter's tape on the floor in the measurements of the furniture, new or old, that you want in the room. Having to walk around the tape will give you a better sense of the space before it is finished.
4. Once the layout is approved, move on to the color and style of furniture. Maybe you have furniture already that you would like to use. Otherwise, a budget will be created for new furniture and everything else that will need to be bought, such as bed linens, curtains, area rugs, lamps, art and accessories.
5. Working within the budget, furniture and accessories will be bought on a slow basis. Not everything should be bought all at once, so that there is room to make changes. You might decide part of the way through the makeover that the wall color isn’t really working for you, or the rug doesn’t really match the curtains. Adding things slowly will give you time to assess the progress.
6. A space should be continually evolving to meet your aesthetic needs and become as efficient for you as possible, meaning, you should always try improving and adding to the space over time, letting the room grow, and adding things you love or switching things around so that they make more sense for how you use them.
In the picture above, the color palatte is traditional, classic black and white. The soft dove grey paint color, crown molding, chair with draped robe, and black, white, and sepia framed photographs accentuate the comfortable, timeless ambiance. Nothing else is needed but a mirror.
Matt Camron in Elle Decor via Shelter (blog)
In the photo above, an unusual and elegant layout works well with an oversized black-framed mirror relflecting a dresser (instead of a sideboard) on the opposite wall. An elegant rug matches the apricot color of the French-style chairs and the same color in the drapes. A velvet settee adds drama and sophistication, while connecting to the other pieces with an apricot colored pillow. There are small console tables on each side of the settee to add balance and interest, each with accessories and art on them. The art on these tables matches the art seen on the dresser through the mirror, and the two lime table lamps give the space a pop of added interest, glam, and fun.