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10 Ideas for PCS Decorating Inspiration

It isn’t uncommon to dread a PCS. There isn’t a lot to love: the mess, the chaos, the broken items, the list goes on and on… But for some, the move is a golden opportunity to redecorate. A PCS is the perfect excuse to start planning for the next house. Envisioning a new couch, picking out the perfect paint color, and choosing fresh bed linens is just the beginning of the process. There’s no shortage of excitement surrounding each detail it takes to personalize your upcoming home with decorating inspiration.

To get you motivated for the inevitable unpacking effort, use this guide to continually remind yourself of the pretty things to come. Many of these ideas work not only for homeowners, but for those living in military housing and rentals.

1. Are you due for an updated decorating theme?

Moving time is the best built-in chance to try something current from the design world. Take stock of how you feel about the items you own now. Still love it? Awesome. Hate it? Plan for an epic yard sale, and save for another trend that makes you happy.

2. Create two lists: ‘What We Need’ and ‘What We Want.’

These items are the framework for how to decorate your new home. For example, it’s hard to live without a couch. If the old one is hitting the curb for trash pick up, decide your comfort ratio between functionality and design and begin to shop. Or, if the bedroom paint isn’t a favorite, but you can live with it for a bit while tackling the backsplash you hate so much, then prioritize picking the glass tiles that make you smile.

3. Start collecting paint chips.

They’re cheery, inspirational, and free, so it’s easy to push your creativity to the next level. Paint companies work hard to display their color stories in a simple way that’s appealing to even novice painters. After choosing a color, look closely, as neighboring shades are usually compatible, eliminating the worry of “does this match?”

4. Keep room and furniture measurements handy.

If you’re lucky enough to receive a list, that is. Add window measurements, the spaces potentially occupied by rugs, and any feature that’s unique to the space, like an odd corner or window seat. You’ll want to do the same for planning furniture placement in the next house. If you happen to arrive before the goods do, you can use the painter’s tape trick to leave accurate outlines of couches and other large furniture on the floor.

5. Be careful of rug sizes.

It’s a common mistake to buy rugs that are too small, which causes furniture placement problems and a tripping hazard. Verify the dimensions of the room to buy the correct size, but don’t become overwhelmed by the expense of traditional 8 x 10 and larger options. An expansive floor space can handle two rugs, strategically placed, and it’s popular now to install attractive, durable, low cost, synthetic rugs in rooms such as the kitchen or mudroom.

6. Assemble your decorator’s toolkit.

You’ll need the basics that work in every home: Command Strips, tension rods, a couple of tape measures, a level, basic screwdrivers, and a hammer that isn’t too heavy. You aren’t building a shed, just tapping nails into a wall!

7. Evaluate your window coverings and hardware.

Be unbiased. These quickly date a room if they aren’t a classic style. Throw away the items that can’t be spray painted, dyed, shortened, or lengthened to appear current. You don’t need the extra weight working against your total, anyway.

8. Try apps.

There are intuitive apps and websites that allow users to virtually decorate rooms of their home, commitment-free. The Houzz app uploads pictures of your space and lets you try out decorating items in 3D before you buy. Modsy has a service which uploads pictures to pro designers who come back with suggestions for layout and even decorating items that you can buy online from well-known stores like Wayfair.

9. Investigate home decor shops at your incoming town.

No need to be high end, but each city has hidden gems if you look. Don’t forget about charity and secondhand stores. There might even be groups online dedicated to sharing local vendor’s unique pieces.

10. Consider the pets.

Did you ever want to design a pet-friendly space? This move could be the home where you add advanced level pet comfort. From stain resistant fabrics and paint, to dedicated spaces for food bowls, designing with pets in mind is a rapidly growing industry.


Embrace the PCS stress as one step closer to starting with a blank decorating slate. Explore these ideas to find some decorating inspiration while imagining your life in a new home. Daydreaming about color schemes and room size floor rugs will make the unpacking go so much faster!  

By Dawn M. Smith for MilitaryByOwner


  • MilitaryByOwner Advertising Inc

    In 1999, the owners of MilitaryByOwner Advertising, Inc, David, (USMC,Ret.) and Sharon Gran, were stationed in Germany faced with a move back to the states. This move triggered the idea of linking relocating military families. In 2000, MilitaryByOwner was launched. Our website offers advertisements of homes for sale or rent near US military bases. Our home advertisers connect with other families in need of living near a military base. Our business advertisers provide valuable resources to help make a PCS move a smooth one. For more information, please email We strive to provide superior customer service by being available for questions through our live chat online, email and office hours. The majority of our staff is either military spouses or dependents who can relate to the joy and stress of a military move. Don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or live chat!

1 Comment

  1. Amber Cook

    I love your ideas! I’m looking to hang some pictures at home and needed some tips – thank you for sharing!


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