There’s nothing more daunting than staring at a blank room with heaps of ideas but no game plan of how to get to where you want to be. I remember staring at our living room for weeks, knowing a “general” idea of what we wanted, but feeling utterly lost when it came to actually executing. After lots of research on interior design and endlessly staring at design books, Paul and I compiled some tips that we now use consistently for each room. And trust me, it works every time! I’d love to share that with you in hopes that it might also help you in your home journey!
1. Define Your Purpose
This is such a crucial step when planning a room. You truly want to create a space where function, form, and comfort collide. Start with a simple question, what do I see this room being used for? Who is my main audience? How much seating do I want? Do I want it to be a room for easy conversation? How much storage space will I need? This will also serve as a guide for what kind of furniture you should buy. When planning our living room we went back and forth with the idea of a sectional with built ins, or two sofas facing each other. Ultimately, our goal for that room was to create a sophisticated, yet casual living room that would be great for entertaining as well as comfortable for the family to use. We envisioned this space full of family and friends and wanted it to be a cozy place for our guests to make their way to after a nice dinner. We decided to go with two identical sofas facing each to open up the space and invite people to look at each-other and engage. We put the TV over the fireplace for an easy focal point. We also made sure to have deep seated couches for everyday comfort, and arm chairs and ottomans for extra seating. The layout of this room leaves no doubt it is a place for conversation and memories!
2. Gather Your Inspiration
This is probably the most obvious step! But you’d be surprised how many people abandon ship at this point. And it is okay if you don’t even have a concept in mind yet, just start gathering! Gather textures, colors, imagery, really whatever makes you tick! Think about how you want your space to feel, do you want it to evoke relaxation or spark energy? Is there a word that comes to mind when you look at your space? What style are you most drawn to, mid-century modern, rustic, or scandinavian? (You may have a mix of styles and that’s okay, don’t let that scare you). Keep in mind, you can find inspiration anywhere. I like to use design books, instagram, pinterest, but don’t limit yourself. It can be as simple as looking at the objects or architecture around you. The important thing is to just take action at this point, the rest will follow!
If you are struggling to identify with a specific design style, is, here is a link to a design quiz you can use as a reference.
3. Measure, Measure, Measure!
I know how tempting it is to skip this step, but measuring helps you define your constraints and/or advantages. Perhaps the most boring part but never the less still very important. It is crucial to have a good idea of the measurements of the whole room and any furniture you are considering in your space. This can also help you come up with “ideal” measurements for the items you are planning to purchase like rugs or sofas. For example, when Paul and I were planning our living room, we were dealing with a very long narrow space, which at first we considered a constraint, but then realized it was an advantage for the function of that room. Like I mentioned above, we wanted this room to be a place for easy conversation and connection. So we knew we wanted lots of seating – two sofas facing each other along with some arm chairs. We had some ideal measurements in mind, we knew we wanted long sofas to span the length of the room, 95” or more, and deep seating for comfort. One go to resource for me was a program called “Home By Me” I used this for basically every room in our house as it allowed for me to try many different combinations with furniture and get an overall “feel” for the room.
4. Pick a Color Palette
This was such a helpful tool when planning our home. Especially when it came to establishing cohesiveness across all rooms. We actually have used Kylie Interiors, (a paint specialist) for multiple rooms in our home. We struggled at first with our floor colors. The initial colors we wanted to use just did not work with our floors. So we hired Kylie to help us and she was an amazing resource for us! She came up with a palette that worked wonderfully with our space. The palette has helped to create a seamless transition from room to room and truly anchors our space. This also made a lot of design choices easier for us because we had a game plan for colors when it came to picking items. The guess work was completely eliminated because we knew if it was in our color palette, it would work.
5. Establish a “Jumping Off” Piece
THIS right here has been one of the most PRACTICAL and helpful tips I have come across. Especially when you just have absolutely no idea where to start. It is tempting to think I can just pick a bunch of pieces I like, put them all together, and “voila” they will just flow. Then before you know it, you have a room with lots of pretty pieces, but all together looks busy and chaotic, and doesn’t end up feeling one bit like you. Establishing a “jumping off”piece can really help with this and give you great starting point with your room. It can be as easy as finding a piece of fabric that stimulates your interest or creativity, or creating a focal point with wallpaper. Maybe an interesting rug, favorite piece of art, or conversation piece for your table. For example, when planning our living room, we started with the rug that worked with our color palette, and pulled a few colors from there that we then used to pick our pillows for the couch and coffee table decor. This instantly created harmony between all the pieces in our room and gave us the feel we were looking for.
6. Design Your Mood Board
This is such a fun part of design. Now that you have established your style and hopefully your color palette, you can start gathering items and putting them together to create visual chemistry. You can do this using the app plotboard, or google slides. I typically use keynote on my Mac. Or you can simply create a “vibe tray” using some elements you have collected that spark interest. We love to do this with whatever samples of fabrics, wood, tiles, hardware we have on hand. The key here is to make sure everything looks and feels balanced. This is the place where you have a lot of freedom to mix and match different pieces so have fun with this! And REMEMBER to use your color palette as a reference to ensure that everything is cohesive.
And there you have it, 6 practical steps you can follow to get you started with your space. I hope this gives you more confidence in tackling your own home, just like it did for me! If you decide to follow these steps, feel free to comment below and tell me how it goes! Thank you so much for reading!
Leave a Reply