My best practice to go about the design process, and my experience has shown me repeatedly, is that you need a good roadmap to get started. I always get the intended results when I follow a good process, especially when time and money are involved. What I like about this roadmap is that it does allow you to keep some of this open-ended; think of it as a journey! Good design is never meant to be finished and is certainly not a destination.
The interior design process starts with inspiration, coming from many different places as we make our way through our daily lives. It can be from nature; it can be a mood or a feeling or how the natural light enters the room. Inspiration can come from a beautiful patterned pillow, a chair you passed by at a vintage shop or even a travel experience. All you have to do is look all around you to see what inspires you and pay attention to what makes you feel good. As I discussed in my last blog post, it often can start with a color. Or, sometimes, it comes from a life event. Hello, 2020, and all the new work-from-home arrangements some of us had to make!
From there, the process moves to purpose. What are the primary activities that need to take place in the space? This will allow you to direct that inspiration creatively, specific to the room’s needs. The primary function is pretty easy to think about; the challenges usually come into play when a secondary role of the space has to be considered. Is it a guest bedroom that also requires office space?
Usually, a room design includes items we already own, and typically new purchases will be added to round out the room design, so I call this step the repurpose stage. Decide what you have on hand that you’d like to keep in the room. This is an excellent time to go ahead and move things out of the room so you can more clearly see what space you have after you’ve done some editing. And when I refer to edit, I mean everything not staying, art, accessories, window treatments. The more space you can see, the better you can move to the next step, layout.
The layout is essential to figure out at this stage of the process, measure your room dimensions so you know the actual size of space you have to work with. This will help you down the road as you determine a budget. I love the idea of mood boards, whether you do them on a digital tool like Canva or the old fashion way, cutting out pictures from the pages of magazines and putting them together in a book or taped and arranged on a piece of paper. This exercise will help you visualize your concept. Layering all the pieces together guarantees you’re headed in the right design direction.
Once you have your inspiration, determine the primary and secondary purpose, choose what you’re keeping, and how it all fits together aesthetically, you can start researching new pieces and the associated costs. When you have clarity and understanding of these basics, the real fun begins, and that’s putting it all together. Remember, good design that makes you feel comfortable should take time, don’t rush, and I think this approach is less stressful. Don’t look at design as something to be “done” or “finished.” It’s getting the room or area to a place that feels comfortable to you and meets the intended purposes. Spaces should evolve with us, and we need to give ourselves room to allow for changes or shifts in how we feel to reflect in our homes.
One last thing to point out is that it’s essential to spend some time with step one because no matter your purpose or budget if you’re not inspired by your rooms, you’ll eventually want to make drastic and most likely expensive changes. So spend some time getting your inspiration together, including how you want to feel in this space. It’s going to set the tone for everything else you do after that.
Are you stuck with designing your room or home and need some help? Let’s work together, check out The Design Studio at https://farmhousenewengland.com/virtual-design-services/ for details on my virtual design services.