Let’s face it… for most people, if this isn’t your career of choice, design can be completely OVERWHELMING and will definitely stop you in your tracks!
I’ve broken down the process into 10 simple steps to help you create the room(s) of your dreams!
Step 1 - Find your STYLE
I know what you’re thinking…DUH NAN! But figuring this out is truly one of the most important aspects when starting to design a room. Listen, I get it – there are waaaaay too many amazing ideas, Pinterest boards, blogs & websites and if you’re a bit on the “easily distracted” side (like I am), you can start to go down the rabbit hole & get distracted very quickly! Once you figure out your style…things will quickly start to fall into place. Use 2-3 descriptive words to describe how you want your room to feel – is it peaceful, cozy, formal, casual, glam, lively, vibrant? Now write them down. Over time these will likely change…but this is the first step.
Step 2 - Find the PURPOSE of the Room
How could your room function better for your needs? What is it currently missing? Do you need more storage? If space is limited, how could you use furniture that has a dual purpose such as a sofa bed? What changes could you make that would make your daily routine easier when you use the space? Once you have decided on how the room will function, this will help you choose the décor!
Step 3 - Write a Wish List
Hold a brainstorming session! Write down EVERYTHING you can think of that your perfect room would have in it and use this as a starting point to help decide how much you will be looking at spending. Does this fit within your budget and where will you need to cut corners to get what you love? Start to prioritize your list from the things that are most-important to least-important and then have a really frank discussion to decide what projects need to be done and what items need to be purchased so that everyone in the home will be happy and comfortable!
Step 4 - Get Comfortable with the 'B' Word
Yup, you guessed it…the dreaded BUDGET (insert scary horror movie music here)! Be prepared to get real with the numbers…right down to the penny! It’s important to include EVERYTHING for the project including paint brushes, nails and any little things that will add up very quickly. Try to leave a little bit of wiggle room to help with unexpected expenses. Start shopping around. Get at least 3 quotes and talk to friends & family about who they have used. Will this be a DIY project or will you hire a contractor? Watch for sales & compare prices among competitors. Where do you want to break the bank and where do you want to save money? Create a spreadsheet listing every price as you make your decisions so that you can see at a glance what the project is costing.
Step 5 - Who Will use the Space?
It is extremely important to design around YOUR family and the people who live in YOUR home. What may work for your neighbor, may definitely not work for you, so this is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when planning out a space. Do you have pets? Will children use the room? Do light colored textiles make sense in your space or do you need more heavy-duty, darker colors? While white silk slipcovers may be a beautiful, sophisticated choice for an adults-only room, this would definitely not be the best choice for a cozy, casual area that is a play area for kids and pets!
Step 6 - Do your Homework
Start looking through design magazines, go through Pinterest boards, spend some time on websites and save photos that you love! Use your “style” words to go back & review your favorite “looks”. These images will tell a story of what you like and what your room should be and will embody your style words.
Step 7 - Take Measurements & Lay out the Space
How many times have you “eyeballed” a room and then ended up with a piece of furniture that is either way too big or too small?? A simple sketch of the room on graph paper will help avoid costly mistakes. Draw a floor plan of your room to scale (1 square = 1’ for example). If you have your home’s blueprints, make a few extra copies and use these to mark up! Draw out the actual size of the furniture you are considering before you bring them home. Ultimately you want to match the scale of furniture to the size of the room.
Step 8 - Continuity is Key
Now that you have an idea what your actual “style” is, it is important that you keep a general flow going from room to room. This will make your home feel larger and provide a calm, continuous feel. When you do one room, you have to think about all of the spaces connecting and everything that touches that room as well!
Step 9 - Neutral is NOT a No
Neutral rooms often get a bad rap, but if you’re not in love with color and aren’t inspired by a specific shade, an all over neutral palette is the way to go. Whether it’s white, grey or cream, use pieces that are one shade but different textures. Velvets, metals, leather, linen & wallpaper all work together beautifully if they’re in one shade.
Step 10 - Add Personal Touches to Tell your Story
Often, an item you already have & love can become inspiration for the rest of the room! Maybe it’s a chair, or a pillow or a beautiful accessory that you picked up on one of your favorite vacations. Perhaps those great black wire baskets you found on a weekend flea-market adventure could be the inspiration for the modern farmhouse vibe you are dreaming about! These things are what turn a house into a HOME…a reflection of your family! Plus they’re pretty fab conversation starters when guests come to visit too! Creating magazine-worthy spaces are pretty to look at, but they often lack soul – nothing can beat a room that is decorated from the heart.
As always, if you have any questions please comment below!