How To Become Your Own Interior Designer
Interior Design Tips for DIY Success
Have you ever stared at that beautifully designed room in the glossy magazines and wished it could be your own?
Do you have multiple Pin Boards of your dream space that you pine over daily?
Are you just stuck with a cluttered corner that is so overwhelming that it just sits there untouched?
We get it. Trust us, we’ve been there!
Here at dayziner, we love to share some of the professional tips and trade secrets that we have learned along the way. We tell you the tough questions that we like to ask and give you an insight into our thought process so you can eventually become your own interior designer. After all, who knows you better than you do!
Step One: Create a Mood Board
Did you know that Interior Designers want to see your inspiration boards? Using sites like Pintrest and Houzz to compile a slideshow of your favorite spaces gives designers an insight to your design style. Maybe it isn’t the whole room that inspires you, but there is just one aspect of the space that you want to copy. Include it anyway! Make an exhaustive list of the things that inspire you. As designers we often find that even though our image searches may be all over the place there is still a common theme, or look and feel that is consistent.
Don’t simply search and stop. Take a moment to really STUDY the images. Ask yourself what you liked about it and why you saved it your board. Analyze all the images for common ideals. Often times you will find that subconsciously you were following a similar trend. It just wasn’t immediately present. Designers are experts at uncovering the theme and determining your design style quickly based off a series of images. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see it at first.
Step Two: Ask the Hard Questions
Congratulations! You have now established the look and feel for your space! Given the multitude of design styles available that was challenge! Next establish what you want out of the space.
Ask yourself some hard questions such as:
How you want the space to perform?
- Does it need to be relaxing?
- Will you be entertaining? If so, how many people?
- Does it need to be private?
- Is sound control an issue? What about lighting?
- What types of activities will you occur in the space?
- Is the space subject to frequent spills or other damaging activities?
- What about the flooring? Do you need to provide a soft surface for frequent falls or underfoot comfort? Is a hard surface better for the types of activities occurring?
These are great starter questions to determine all the ways you could use the space and what types of fabrics, textures and materials would work well (or not at all) in the space. Keep function in mind. After all this is your home, it needs to be livable.
Often times these starter questions leave to more questions and many of the questions are inter-related. This is great! You are imitating the discussion you would have with your designer. Typically the designer would the moderator of this discussion. But in the DIY world sometimes you have to ask and answer your own questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you get suck. We are always an email away!
Step Three: Take an Inventory
Now that you have determined what you want, determine what you need.
Take a look at your space and decide what can stay and what can go. Remember to look at items you can re-purpose from other rooms. This will help you determine your shopping list and help set budget expectations. For example, you are looking at two different price points if you need to purchase a full set of living room furniture vs. keeping the set and simply adding new accessories.
When taking an inventory, think about what you want vs. what you need. Start separating your nice to have items from your mandatory items. Doing this now will make it easier to edit if you go over your budget
Step Four: Know your Size
Next up, take some measurements!
Know the length of your wall and the height and width of your windows. Draw a quick floor plan of the room. This will help you if you are buying new furniture pieces. Many sales people love to see floor plans!
A few other key dimensions to note:
- The width of the doorways, both going into room and the main entry door.
- How high the windows are above the floor (as measured from the top of the finished floor to the underside of the windowsill)
- Ceiling Height
- Hallway Width
- Size and location of any special built in features
- If you are going upstairs, how wide is the top landing and adjacent hallway? Keep in mind any large pieces will have to turn and you need to allow for enough clearance for this to occur.
Step Five: Start Shopping
For many of us this is the fun part!
At this point shopping can be just to look. It can be online or in store. If shopping in store, be sure to take a picture of your product finds so you will remember them! Many online sites have a “Save to Favorites” option that will keep track of your selections. If a particular website does not, take a screenshot and save it to your project folder.
After you have created a round up of your favorite images put them all together in one place to determine how they look cohesively. For this step we like to use Photoshop or other image editor to see everything in on one page. Then we can hide images and drag and drop until we are satisfied. This initial product roundup will help indicate where you fall within your previously determined budget. It may take several iterations until you get it just right. As designers, we go through this step numerous times!
Step Six: Putting It All Together
Now it’s time to assemble the room.
This can be daunting! Sometimes that first coat of paint can be scary. Trust in your vision and remember…it’s just paint. You can always repaint it!
When assembling your room utilize a few of these key design tips:
- Repetition: Find a detail you love and repeat it again in a different place. This simple trick will create consistency and reinforce your design theme. For example if there is triangular pattern on an area rug look for a pillow or a wall hanging that has a similar pattern. It doesn’t have to be exact, but reference the idea. Visit our blog post on decorating for tips, HERE.
- Grouping: Items are more power when grouped in threes. Cluster similar decor items together for added impact.
- Scale and Balance: A successful room is all about perception. Place items that are in proportion with each others. Keep in mind that your eye will naturally go to sources of light and things that seem out of place. Be cautious not to place pillows that are too big for their furnishings or window treatments that are too short or too long. Find a natural balance where different items can exist harmoniously.
If you’re working to achieve a specific design style. Study up on that style to uncover key attributes of that style. Reference our style tips on how to master the Bohemian and Romantic design styles and check back often as we delve deeper into different design styles.
So there you have our comprehensive guide to becoming your own Interior Designer! That was a LOT of information. It takes some time to get the hang of it. Keep in mind professional interior designers spend years in design school, study for their professional license and spend countless hours designing and redesigning beautiful spaces for their clients. So don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it quite right the first time around. And always remember if you get stuck, you can always Contact Us!
Until Next Time!