Saturday, October 1

Room Design–The Beginning Steps

I think about the logical steps when designing a room. Where to start first? There are many things to consider. What pieces or objects do you own that you want to incorporate in the room or space? Do you have a favorite picture, vase, pillow, collectable, or family heirloom? These items reflect who you are and should be incorporated into the space. These pieces can be your design inspiration or just something you should just have in the room.

If you don’t have any special objects what do you do? You could look through magazines or online for pictures of rooms you like. This will help with your design style or theme. Pick out the things that you like from your research and either find similar or related pieces in your stash of stuff or purchase new.
Some of you are aware of the different design styles like traditional, country, cottage, beach house, contemporary, modern, eclectic, and the list goes on and on. If you already know what they mean then you just need to find the things to fill your space to reflect that design style.

Okay, you now have a style or theme for your room, what's next? How do you pull it altogether? There are a few things at this point of the design of your room you need to think about at the same time such as: color, furniture, flooring, lighting, and accessories. Again, gather pictures and/or samples of what you like. Pictures can come from magazines, the internet, from the brochures you can find from your local DYI retailer, or take your own pictures of building interiors you have visited that caught your eye for some reason. The samples you can collect from your local DYI retailer are paint, flooring, and countertop chips. Place your collections together on a tray and voilĂ ; you have just made your own “design board”. I would suggest you take a picture of your “board” to carry with you when you shop for your room.

Okay, what’s next? You need to pick out your wall treatment. Are you going to use paint, texture or faux painting, or wallpaper ? What colors are you going to use. You could pull the colors from your inspiration piece or from your “picture” research.

What furniture pieces are you going to use and what size? You need to think about how all your stuff will fit in the room. Is the furniture proportional to the size of the room? It’s not too big, too small, or is it just right? Make sure the furniture is not in the way of the traffic pattern or flow.

You need to decide if you are going to use carpet, wood, laminate, ceramic, or rugs on your floor. Some of these items will be dictated by the use of the room, the design style or theme, even where you live and/or the climate.

What are you going to use or not use on your windows? Will it be blinds, curtains, drapery, and/or shears? Will the fabric be solid, striped, plaid, or a combination?

You need lighting. Are you using table lamps, recessed lighting, floor lamps, or mood lighting?

How about accessories? Make sure to incorporate your special pieces. Where are you going to put them? On end tables, sofa tables, a mantle, shelving, bookcases or even on the floor?

Once you have arranged everything in the room, step back and look at the room. Does one side “feel” heavier than the other or is it equal or balanced? Is there harmony between the colors you chose, the furniture pieces, all the accessories, flooring, window treatments, everything? To your eye, does it look good? Does it make you want to be in this space?

There can be more things to consider when designing a room but for now this is a good start.  If you have any questions or comments click the link below.


  1. This is a great post! These are a lot of questions to ask, and a lot to think about. Some of them are easy to answer. For instance, we are taking out the carpeting in our living room and dining room and refinishing the wood floors. But other questions seem more difficult, especially the color question. But when I think about the accessories in this space, it really becomes easy. In our living and dining rooms, we have so much artwork, plants and dark wood that those things really do a lot of the work necessary for me. Most of the artwork features green and/or golden-yellow as a central theme to the pieces, so that, and the dark wood, helps us figure out a color scheme.

  2. Shana, sounds like you have figured out how to pull color for your room by using the accessories you are planning on placing in the space. How old is your home? I would love to see pictures. I'm not sure how you can post them to my blog but maybe you can email them to me.

  3. Pam, our home was built in the late 1930s-early 1940s. I will take pictures of our space, upload them to my flickr account, and post links here.

  4. Will you show me a picture of the exterior too! Older homes have a lot of character. Even if you try to add character to a new home something is just missing, it feels off somehow. I can't wait to see the pictures.