Simple answer is No, not necessarily.If, after getting everything set up, will I have to go through it all again if I choose something different?
In the Linux Mint line, I think Cinnamon has more visual appeal.... but it's not a lot. Cinnamon and MATE are fairly similar. Of course, I hope that you've already found that there is built-in wallpaper that you can switch to.... that is the first step to making Mint (or most distros) look a lot better. And you can use your own images or others on the web to turn into desktop wallpaper also.I've installed the MATE edition but, honestly, I was hoping for something with a bit more beauty. Hard to define that, I know.
Sounds like a good idea. I'll read up and follow when I get back in this evening.