10 Steps to a Well Designed Room!

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! 

Happy Planning! 


2020 design trends

2020 Design Trends

Follow along with me as we go through the 2020 design trends that we are most excited about here at designQ!

While not being a huge fan of interior design “trends” (for the simple fact they are called that for a reason…they don’t last!) it is interesting to see what the forecast is for the 2020! 

Here are a few cool details to look for in the coming 365 days…think BOLD, NATURAL, WARM, EDGY & JUST DOWNRIGHT INSPIRING!


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If you’re a child of the 50’s -70’s the thought of more wood makes you CRINGE, but unlike previous years, 2020 will feature dark tones to add a touch of elegance & luxury!  Expect to see oak, hickory, pine, mahogany, birch & teak to lend to the warmth of a room.  Walls, ceilings, furniture, beams, doors & windows will all take on a dramatic richness.

Wicker, Jute & Rattan

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Vegetable fibres will be super hip!  With everyone working towards becoming more environmentally conscious, the theme of organic materials is set to continue for seasons to come. The presence of wicker, jute & rattan will become commonplace, & rich textural expression will be the headline story.  Light, earthy palettes will be prevalent and will include the use of natural area rugs, unique baskets and room divider screens! 


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Picture yourself sitting in a big ole tufted Chesterfield with a glass of bourbon, listening to jazz music, smoking a cigar!  Is it just me or does this sound AMAZEBALLS!  Maybe it’s just me lol! 

 If you are a fan of this moody feel & love industrial style, 2020 will be your year!  Look for leather to be at the forefront in details such as cabinetry pulls, toss cushions, headboards & of course, furniture!


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Metals come into 2020 full force!

We’re talking silver, gold, oxidized steel & copper. For the bolder personality, the mixed metal decor trend will also be uber popular. 

Watch for this in lighting, plumbing, hardware, accessories and furniture accents.  

Remember, there are NO RULESSO MIX IT UP and HAVE SOME FUN!

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Botanical designs, a metallic twist on geometric patterns & different application areas are going to be among the biggest wallpaper trends for 2020.  Wellness in the home continues to be a trend & with a massive resurgence of everyone craving more greenery, there will be a push to try to bring the outside in on the quest to create a greater sense of calm.

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If you’re famous for killing all of your houseplants (like I am!) but still want to feel like you’re living in a tropical paradise, this might be your year!  Vivid, bold greens will be the color of choice with botanical prints being so huge & vibrant, you’ll swear you can hear the parrots in the trees!  If this sends you into a bit of an anxiety attack, these will be toned down with warmer, earth tones and natural motifs.

Look up…look waaaaaay up…wallpaper on ceilings will appeal to the bold, adventurous design lover who pushes themself to think outside of the box!  Stay tuned for wallpaper to replace dated “feature paint walls” in bathrooms! 

Murals are making a comeback to provide a dramatic WOW factor!  For a safer, more conservative aesthetic, geometric wallpaper patterns show no signs of slowing down but 2020 brings about a shiny new twist with sexy shades of silver, gold and rose!


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Black Kitchens

I see the look of horror on your face & hear you saying “but it’s going to make the kitchen look SMALL!”  Not true!  You don’t have to be scared of black kitchens! By adding elements such as natural wood, white or brighter metals, a black kitchen is dramatic, full of character & presents itself in a stunning, timeless way!

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Now that you’ve got a little inspiration under your belt for 2020…what cool changes will you make to your home that will make a shift in how it feels?  Break the rules and have fun!

Next week be sure to check out our vlog where we go deeper into each of these trends, and show you how you can easily get these looks in your home now! 



Interior design center for:

Welcome to designQ 2020


Welcome to designQ, and to our brand new blog! We are super excited to showcase what we are all about at designQ and keep you informed on all things design throughout 2020.

If you have never heard about us before, or even if you have but you just aren’t sure what the heck we even do, then read on my friend! In our introduction blog post, we go back to grade school and explain the 5 W’s – Who we are, What we do, Where we work, When should you come see us, and How any of this benefits you! 

But before you scroll down with excitement – do yourself a favor and sign up to receive notifications of new blog posts, how to design video’s, featured designers, events, and so much more. 


Nan Marshall

Who are we, and what do we even do?

designQ is the state of the art design center for 3 of Edmonton’s most prominent new home builders – Pacesetter HomesSterling Homes & Streetside Developments

When you buy a new home from any of the above new home builders, you will in some way be affected by our team. 

The talented designers at designQ conceptualize, design, and execute all showhomes – so before you even step foot into designQ you have already experienced the stunning work of our design team in over 80 showhomes throughout the city. 

Once you decide to build, then you get to come see us where we will walk you through selecting every detail and finish inside of your home. 

Learn more about us here. 

And if the above wasn’t enough, designQ is adding one more tool in our belt this year. Stay tuned in the next few months to learn about an amazing opportunity for you and your home. 

Who says you can’t have your new home, and furnish it too? 

Which Builders do we work with?

Each of the new home builders we work with offers a variety of home plans, and options. Click on their logo’s below to read more about them! 

You can also stop by to visit them, and check out our talented designers work, in any of their show homes throughout Edmonton and surrounding areas. 

Where & when can you visit us?

** Preview Nights currently CLOSED due to Covid-19**

If you aren’t building a new home quite yet, but want to come and check out what we have to offer, come and see us on a Preview Night. 

Every Thursday evening from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m, designQ opens it’s doors for you to come and take a peek at every item you will be able to select in your new home. We have designers in each room answering any questions you may have, and showing you the standard items for each builder as well as any upgraded products. 

We are located at 3203 – 93 Street NW in Edmonton. 

How will signing up for these blogs benefit me?

We LOVE giving information – even on things non design related 🙂 

So what can you expect? 

  • We will bring you the latest design trends & how to achieve the look in your own home
  • We will show you how to stage a room – ever wonder exactly how to lay out your master bedroom for maximum efficiency and relaxation?
  • We will also show you where to shop to get the showhome look in your own home
  • Be the first to know when new products get brought in to the design center
  • Promotions. Need I say more?
  • And SO much more! 
  • We also do video’s – which means blooper reels. Oh yes.