Learn how to design your space like a pro. Whether you have an empty room screaming for a floor plan or an aspirational vision of how you want your home to look, this start-to-finish guide will help you bring it to life.
The most important aspect of any room is its function and flow. To achieve this, it’s important to have a good understanding of scale and proportion.
1. Look at your floor plan
Floor plans are an important part of the design process, because they offer a bird’s eye view of the space. They can help you understand how each room is connected, which will ultimately affect design cohesion. Depending on the layout, you can also determine how much natural light each room gets, which will help you select furniture and lighting accordingly.
A floor plan is a scaled two-dimensional diagram that shows you every space within your home, including rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, garages, basements and stairs. It typically includes the dimensions of each space, as well as symbols that represent walls, windows, doors and appliances. Some floor plans will even showcase renderings of where specific appliances like a washer and dryer or dishwasher might go.
The easiest way to evaluate a floor plan is to compare it to one of your own rooms. If you’re working with a builder, you can also visit a model home that has a similar floor plan to get a feel for the layout and design of the spaces.
While comparing your own space to the one on the floor plan, take note of any areas that aren’t as functional or welcoming. This might be a good opportunity to make some changes. For example, if you have an open floor plan with an entryway between multiple rooms, try to dress up the transition area with some color or wall treatment. You don’t have to dress all of the connecting rooms in the same tone, but choosing a color scheme that flows naturally between rooms will help create a more cohesive look. Let architecture guide you, by looking for features like arches, variations in flooring and corner areas that offer a natural place to start and end a transition color.
2. Decide on a color scheme
When deciding on a color scheme, think about how you want the space to feel. Do you want it to be cozy or airy? Your answer will help you decide what the 60% color should be (whether it’s pink or burgundy) and what neutral colors will go with it. Then, you’ll be ready to start planning your room layout!
A great place to start is by looking at the colors of your natural surroundings. For example, if your home is overlooking a lake or the ocean, you’ll likely see lots of blues and whites. You can also find inspiration by looking at photos and other interior design styles that you love. For example, if you’re drawn to a specific painting or area rug, try pulling out the different shades that are used in it to create your own color scheme.
Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel and create a harmonious, soothing feeling because they match. This type of color scheme is ideal for spaces that require a calm atmosphere, such as a nursery or a bedroom.
Complementary color schemes use opposites of each other to provide contrast in a design. This is a good option for creating visual interest in a room, but it’s important to remember that too much contrast can be jarring and may make a space feel cluttered.
A split complementary color scheme is a variation on the regular complementary scheme that adds more complexity. Instead of choosing the direct complement, choose two colors that are on either side of it on the color wheel. For example, if your first color is yellow-green, choose violet and red as your second and third colors.
3. Shop for furniture
It’s no secret that home design can be a bit overwhelming. Between home Tok, interior design Instas and a constant barrage of new decor trends, it’s easy to get sick of your space, even if you spent time perfecting your Pinterest aesthetic when you first moved in.
The best way to avoid that is to shop strategically and keep your room’s functionality in mind. This means creating a layout plan (using design software or even just by physically moving furniture around) that maximizes the room’s functionality. It also means choosing a color palette and creating a mood board that will serve as your compass when shopping for furniture.
Lastly, it’s important to shop with your needs and lifestyle in mind. If you have rambunctious kids and pets, consider what upholstery fabrics will be able to stand up to their wear and tear. If you frequently entertain guests, it might be worth investing in a dining table that can seat more than just two people. And if you work from home, make sure your home office is set up with the right tools and equipment to be productive.
When it comes to decorating your space, the most important thing is that you make the space your own and that it’s a reflection of who you are. So start by taking measurements and doing a simple drawing of your space – it will help you avoid returning the “wrong” pieces. Then, focus on the mood you want to create – a light and airy zen oasis might suggest natural materials and minimal designs, while an energizing family space might inspire bold colors and patterns.
4. Add accessories
Whether you’re planning to redesign an entire room or simply want to add some new accent pieces, accessories can be an excellent way to bring your design plan to life. Using different textures and colors, and varying the size of your accessories, will help you achieve the look you’re going for. Plus, they’re a great way to showcase your unique personality and style.
If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are a lot of great resources available, including online tools that can give you ideas for furniture arrangement and layout. You can also take inspiration from magazines and books that specialize in decorating and home design. These are often full of inspiring photos and tips for creating the room you’ve always dreamed about.
When it comes to choosing your accessories, remember to think about the mood you’re trying to portray. The color and tone of your accessories will have a big impact on how the room feels, so choose carefully. Consider if you want the space to feel calm and serene, or if you’d rather have a more energetic vibe.
Be careful not to overdo it with your accessories, as this can be just as bad as having too little! Large items should be placed first, with smaller accessories used to complement them. Also, remember to use your rugs as an opportunity to incorporate some color! You can always go back and change your paint color if you need to, but incorporating small pops of color through accessories is an easy and budget-friendly way to give your room a fresh look.