We joke that after this post goes live we’ll do a collective blog mic drop and retire. For some reason it seems hilarious to me that we’ve never written a ‘how to design a room’ article – one article can’t encapsulate it all, obviously, but I will be referencing this post for years. My creative process is not the only way, but if you follow it you can get a room that is functional, comfortable, cohesive, stylish and reflects your personality and meets your needs without it taking years or costing a fortune. I’m not saying its easy or that anyone can just pick up and do it (we still make mistakes and there is a reason why if you are going to hire someone you will likely save a lot of time and stress) but this post WILL HELP.
1. Find Your Style
Step 1 is truly where most people get paralyzed and they stop before they start. Yes, you are likely a mix of styles and yes mixing your mix of styles with a partners mix of styles is indeed challenging, but it can be done and it will make your home look more like your collective selves. Your style will and has evolved and its hard for it not to be tied to the greater zeitgeist and that’s ok. So think about what styles you are most consistently drawn to, whether its Midcentury, traditional, modern farmhouse, etc, or a many of them. Take my quiz which can help you a lot.
My #1 tip is Ask yourself how you want it to FEEL, not just look. Use expressive adjectives to answer that. Designing a room that is “exciting” is different than “calm”. Ask yourself what you want guests to FEEL when they walk through your door.
No matter WHAT style I choose to do for a space (i’m a special case because I design so many rooms in such different styles) I ALWAYS use the adjectives ‘Happy’ and ‘inviting’. Sometimes its followed with ‘calm’ or ‘fun’, ‘exciting’ or ‘quiet’, its usually eclectic and collected, but its always “happy and inviting”. Sometimes those adjectives are more important than specific styles especially if you are someone like me and literally loves the great parts of EVERY SINGLE STYLE.
2. Consider Your Architecture
We always consider the style and era of the house when creating a room. The architecture of your space can help guide you towards a style that will feel symbiotic with your home, but it doesn’t have to be rigid – nor should it. Creating a time capsule or putting on a decorative ‘costume’ isn’t the goal here. If you own your home (congrats) you likely chose that home because you were drawn to its style. I think considering the architecture is more important when renovating than decorating (i.e. choosing hard finishes like tile and flooring that work with architecture and era is important), but when decorating I like to consider the architecture and what feels “right” without making it all that theme, obviously. I weave it in with a few key pieces that makes it feel like the decorating is cohesive with the design of the home.
3. Find and Pin Inspiration
Pin for look and feel, not specific pieces and really fantasize. Don’t limit yourself. If you are drawn to it, pin it.
Hot tip: Get specific with your pins to sort through all the generic photos. Don’t just put in ‘bedroom’ put in ‘bedroom cozy emily henderson’ or ‘bedroom colorful domino’. Try Brands and designers that you like with elevated photos otherwise it can be very daunting.
5. Get the Facts
measurements, limitations, where is your junction box, can you add a sconce, wall mounted tv? decide a budget, decide layout, tape it out to get ideal sizes of rugs and sofas. design program for layouts and renderings.
6. Ask Functional Questions
how do you use it and what do you need?
7. Pick Your Color Palette
8. Shop Online, Create Room Boards
9. Find a “Jumping Off” Point
a conversation piece or something inspirational
10. Pin Actual Products onto Different Boards
playing with mood boards with real products
11. Pin Similar Products to What You Have
12. Pin Your Dream Pieces Then Try to Find Affordable Versions
13. Start Purchasing …
Order bigger pieces to ensure they fit and work
wait on what you can, buy simple for now for what you need while pulling design together