Putting together a beautiful space is harder than you think. Though you may have a vague notion of what you want a room to look like, if you start without a plan, you’ll make mistakes and quickly lose momentum. These missteps may come in the form of snagging furniture on sale when you don’t have anywhere to put it, buying window treatments that are the wrong size, or beginning to paint then realizing the shade is too dark.
To help keep your interior design process moving in the right direction, here are the top ten things you should consider when designing a room.
1. Determine the Purpose of the Room
This should always be the first step in room design. Some areas are more straightforward, such as dining rooms used for eating, bedrooms for sleeping, and home offices for working. However, many spaces aren’t so cut and dry. A room for relaxing should look very different from one for studying, and it may not even resemble one used for formal entertaining. Overall, you should base the décor, color scheme, furniture materials, layout and overall feel of the room on what it will be used for the most.
For instance, plenty of people have living rooms in their homes, but that doesn’t mean they have an identical purpose. Some people host game nights, so it’s important to them to have video game consoles, tables and chairs and storage furniture for game discs and board games in their living room. Others enjoy having a group over to watch movies or football, so they’d prioritize a nice TV, ergonomic seating and places guests can put down their food and drinks.
Ask yourself basic questions about what you want and need. Focus on your current priorities and circumstances, and then be prepared to design around the function of a room. A kitchen shouldn’t lack the appliances and furniture required for meal preparation, and a bedroom should be centered around a comfortable bed. Are you converting what used to be a guest room into a home office? You’ll need to make some major changes. Do you have any children or pets? Keep them in mind during the process as well.
2. Do Your Research and Make a Budget
Before you can come up with a solid concept for your room, you need at least a general idea of what you want. That means asking several more questions. What do you want to change most about the space? Are you keeping a bulk of the furniture you already have but switching out the accents, or are you going with a clean slate? What style is your home, or what style would you like it to be — traditional, modern, eclectic or something else? What will enable you to complete the project to your satisfaction?
Spend some time browsing interior design websites, clipping pictures from magazines, or pinning photos to a dedicated Pinterest board. See what the images you’re drawn toward have in common. That will assist you in landing on the design style you truly love or the mood you want to convey. Gather paint chips, fabric swatches and flooring samples just in case, and make notes of everything you feel is relevant.
Early on, you must figure out your budget and what matters most to you. Do you want to make a room cozier with throw pillows and blankets, or do you want to stun your guests with gorgeous wall art? Find a way to get exactly what you want without breaking the bank. It’d be a shame to end up wasting money on unrelated furniture pieces or excessive decorations while coming up short for necessary supplies. Don’t forget to include the cost of an interior designer as well!
3. Think About the Room’s Layout Before Buying Anything
Each room has its own unique dimensions that you have to work around. Think about the size and scale of the space, the style of your home’s interior and exterior and the neighborhood you live in. Take cues not just from the bare bones measurements but from your surroundings as well.
Begin by mapping out the layout of your room on graph paper. You can either have your interior designer take care of it or do it yourself, if you know how to render it to scale. Then put down pieces of tape on the floor where you want certain items to be or based on specific furniture pieces you have in mind. Contemplate how you want the room organized before you start designing it, then purchase or arrange the furniture to fit that layout.
The worst thing that could happen is going through with buying something only to realize it’s out of place. You don’t want a dining room table that’s too big to get through the door or a sectional that sits awkwardly along the wall. From living room furniture to home office essentials, you don’t want anything to feel cramped, out of scale, or poorly positioned. Not to mention, every room has its own physical limitations beyond dimensions, such as pre-existing features like electrical outlets, doors/windows, and fireplaces. The layout you draw up should consider them as well.
Check out our guide to picking the right size furniture for more tips on how to arrange your space.
4. Leave Some Free Space
As we touched on in the previous section, space should be part of the equation in your room’s layout. Free space makes a room feel larger, and it reserves room for any future additions. Don’t feel like your goal should be to completely fill the room. That said, you don’t have to be a minimalist to appreciate the power of a little extra space.
Overcrowding a room can lead to restlessness, while enough space will make you feel more peaceful. Your room will even appear cleaner without the clutter of too much furniture or too many decorations. It’s key to leave the right amount of space for the activities of the room and for walking through, otherwise known as the traffic flow. Avoid arranging your furniture against the wall, as that will make your room look smaller.
5. Don’t Buy Furniture That’s Too Big
Oversized furniture also factors into the layout of a room. Some pieces of large furniture are luxurious, but others will easily overwhelm the room. At the same time, a carefully chosen piece that’s out of scale — whether it’s dining room furniture or a painting — can really make a statement. All you’re left to do is measure, plan and measure again. Find furniture that will fit like a puzzle piece in your space.
When you go shopping, make sure you buy for the future. Don’t invest in furniture you don’t foresee yourself loving in a few years, pieces that will be hard to move to a new home or items that aren’t versatile enough to incorporate into different spaces later on. Consider consulting with an interior designer for recommendations on sizes and types of furniture that coordinate with the room you’re designing as well as lend themselves to future uses. Don’t settle for something in a showroom floor just because you can get it fast, it’s worth special ordering the right piece and waiting a little longer.
6. Decide on a Color Scheme
Selecting a color scheme allows you to create a room that has a unifying theme, feels cohesive and looks great. It also keeps you on track to make sure everything goes well together, so you don’t end up with a piece that doesn’t fit. Just some of the components that provide a color scheme in a room include drapery, blinds, throw pillows, rugs, artwork and furniture. Then don’t forget about walls, ceilings, carpet, tile, hardwood and other flooring. For example, neutral wall colors will give you more flexibility for the rest of the room. Ease of cleaning for walls and floors will also come into play.
You can use geometric patterns, floral prints, natural themes, or vibrant colors strategically. All of these hues interact in different ways. Some create harmony, others contrast. What mood do you want to set? What atmosphere do you want to create? You don’t want the wrong amount of noise, which will make friends or family members feel uncomfortable or distracted. Take advantage of the warm and cool colors you learned in art class. A bedroom requires calm colors like blue so you won’t be kept awake, while a living room or kitchen can have more energetic colors like orange or yellow.
7. Remember Your Other Rooms
It’s easy to become consumed with the process of designing a room, but you aren’t painting or decorating it in a bubble. All of the spaces in your home connect to each other, so you need to create a consistent look. Don’t have an understated beige room lead into a bright red one. Introduce transitions to bring cohesion.
Granted, not everything has to be perfectly coordinated. The exact same color scheme in every room would be boring. However, there should be some sort of rhythm and flow between rooms. Work within the context of the rest of your house and strive for unity. Think about the balance of old and new, masculine and feminine, light and dark, or soft and sharp. Take a stroll through your home to determine if the areas feel like they belong together.
8. Stick with the Classics
When you begin to fill in your room, you should work on the foundation first. That means deciding the anchoring pieces before decorating around them with stylish design additions. For instance, when it comes to bedroom furniture, the first building block that should concern you is the bed itself. Go with timeless pieces that won’t look outdated in a few years. Any accents should be easily swappable.
Craft the room around pieces you’ll love forever. They don’t have to align with any particular style, whether traditional or contemporary, if they’re things you know you’ll never get tired of. Feel free to form the room around a signature piece, such as an eye-catching chaise lounge, a unique type of tile, or a favorite work of art. Incorporate elements that have stood the test of time in your heart, whether it’s furniture, fabric, or patterns.
As you shop for room staples, don’t feel like you need to buy matching sets of furniture. A couch, loveseat and armchair that look like carbon copies of each other may feel drab and uninspired if the rest of your space is unique and vibrant. Don’t be afraid to mix it up! If you stumble upon a piece of furniture you adore but isn’t the same style as your current scheme, you can create an eclectic feel. Again, an interior designer can help you make it all work together.
9. Incorporate Lighting into Your Plan
One component of interior design that people often forget is lighting. The size and location of windows, the position of built-in lighting and the placement of lamps all make a difference in the layout of a room. After you’ve designed the bulk of the room, that’s when you need to think about the lighting situation, from ceiling or wall lights to table or floor lamps.
Integrate a variety of lighting in your space, utilizing both task and ambient lights. Have a few different lamps scattered around so you have options for the amount of light in the area, and consider converting your conventional switches to dimmers for even more versatility! Don’t let your room become too gloomy with opaque curtains and dark walls or furniture, but at the same time, don’t install overwhelmingly bright lights that will be hard on the eyes when night falls. Lighting can make or break the feel of a room, so be sure it fits with your design goals and the purpose of the space.
10. Accessorize Last
As we mentioned earlier, you should start your design with the most important pieces. After that, you can choose accessories that go with them. It’s much simpler to find a vase that goes with a couch or a picture frame that goes with a desk than vice versa! It’s smart to limit the trendy pieces you buy to your home accessories. That way, it isn’t a big deal if they go out of style in a year or two, because you didn’t make a big investment in them.
Try not to fall in love with particular accessories until you’re further into the design process. You can keep your eyes open for ideas, of course, but don’t settle on anything until a room is mostly complete. If you already have accessories you want to use, that’s great too! They could be unusual items from craft shows or flea markets, gifts from friends, mementos from a trip you took, or other objects you treasure. Plants are an excellent choice because they bring in fresh air and natural beauty.
Let Your Personality Shine
It’s important to note that the number one factor in room design is personalization. Don’t just go for what’s trendy at the time, go for what’s meaningful to you. Reveal your hobbies and interests, and show people what you hold dearest. If that means featuring original artwork, hanging up wedding or vacation photos, or putting your collections on display, so be it! While you may have guests over often and you want to impress or cater to them, it is your home first and foremost. Be true to your own preferences.
Your personality can truly shine with a little design help from Davids Furniture & Interiors. From home office furniture to custom window treatments, we have everything you need to put together the room you’ve been envisioning. We also haveinterior designers on staff at all of our locations. Feel free to contact any one of our talented designers through our website, or come into the store and have a chat with us about your project. With our attractive furniture and superior service, the room of your dreams is right within your grasp!
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