I’m going to share with you how I start planning a space and how to redesign or design a room in 4 steps. It really is easier thank you think!
Many times the hardest part of designing a space is knowing where to start and not getting overwhelmed. That’s where planning comes into the equation.
If you follow me you’ll know that I tend to gravitate toward what I like and sometimes it may seem like I don’t have a plan at all.
I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t have a plan at all.
Most of the time, the reason that it doesn’t seem that there’s a plan is because the planning all happens in the background before we ever start on a space. I know what I like so it makes decisions a lot easier.
I’ve come up with a 4 step process to help me narrow down what I’m trying to achieve and that’s what I’m sharing here. The four easy steps are:
Here’s how to create your own design plan!
Start out with Function
This one is usually an easy one to determine. What is the function of the room?
Don’t think that a bedroom always has to be a bedroom – it can be an office, a library, a playroom, etc.
The first thing that you want to determine in a room is how you and your family are going to use it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a room that you’re already using or a room that you want to start using.
What are you planning to use it for?
If you know what you’re using the room for it will help you decide what furnishings you’re going to need for the room, which will help narrow down what you’re searching for.
A bedroom will need a bed, maybe a nightstand and some lighting for reading. A library is going to need shelves and comfy seating to curl up and read, and good lighting for reading. A playroom is going to need shelves and cupboards that are easily accessible for the ages using it.
Here are a few questions to help you narrow down the function:
- What is the primary purpose for the room?
- How many people will be using the room? (you need to take into account ages as well)
- What specific pieces of furniture will you require? (ie – bed, dining table, desk)
- What kind of storage do you need/want? (open shelves, cupboards to hide items, filing cabinets)
- What kind of lighting do you need? (overhead lighting and task lighting)
This is the practical step that you need to get started.
This step also helps you narrow down all the ideas when you’re moving forward with your plans. You can bring in all the pretty but be sure you establish the function first.
It’s great to have a pretty room but it won’t do you any good if it’s not a pretty room that you can use and live in!
How do you want your space to Feel?
Once you’ve determined the practical parts of your space let’s stop and take a moment to talk about how you want it to feel.
This may tie into the next category, which is inspiration. These two steps can go in either order. You may determine your feeling first or you might find your inspiration first and that helps determine the feeling and direction of the room.
The mood you want to evoke in your room can help you determine the decor and the colors that you plan to use.
Here are a few ideas to help you narrow it down.
Do you want your room to feel:
Calm and relaxing or Lively and bright?
Warm and comforting or Edgy?
Nostalgic or Contemporary?
While you can often make pieces work in any situation, knowing how you want to feel in the room and the mood you want to evoke will help you be more discerning when you’re shopping.
Many times I find myself looking for something in particular when I find something else that surprises me. I have been looking for an oversize coffee table for months and have been admiring antique trunks and thinking an antique table would be perfect if I trimmed the legs on it.
Imagine my surprise when I came across and edgy metal table with a green top! It was nowhere near what I had been searching for but it fit the space perfectly.
Well, two of them pushed together fits the space perfectly. The point is that it wasn’t what I had been searching for but it was the perfect solution.
The questions that went through my head were:
Will this fit the look that I’m working to achieve in this room?
Does it fit the scale of what I’m looking for?
Can I picture it in another room in my house?
That last question was a maybe but probably not. There are only so many spaces a coffee table is going to work in a house, just like a bed.
It is definitely a question that I ask when I’m buying accent pieces though. Can I picture this piece somewhere else in my home? If the answer is no then I usually pass on the piece. Not always, but as a general rule.
Your Design Style
Don’t forget that knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want.
If you haven’t nailed down your design style or exactly what you’re looking for it can be helpful to start by ruling things out.
Decide what you definitely don’t want and that will help narrow down what you do!
It’s also a great idea to make a design file.
You can save photo’s on your phone into a folder, make a Pinterest board or cut out photo’s from a magazine. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start seeing a common thread in your photo’s.
Sometimes you’ll notice that you’ve chosen a lot of the same colors and sometimes it will be a common shape. Keep collecting ideas for your space until you start seeing the parts that unite them.
I’ve also got a few more tips on helping find your design style HERE
Find Your Inspiration
This step/process and the one before can be easily interchangeable.
Sometimes you need help narrowing down the inspiration for your space and sometimes you find an inspiration piece and the whole space comes together around it.
Either way will work.
Where to find Inspiration
Inspiration is everywhere. It’s all around you.
Pay attention to the restaurants you frequent and why you like the. How do they make you feel?
Observe when you’re shopping, walking in nature, visiting a friend or even an office. All of these places can be sources of inspiration.
All of these places can also help you determine things that you don’t like – a feeling, a color, a combination of items. Be sure to take note of all this as well because knowing what you don’t like is a big part of knowing what you do.
Take it a step further with an inspiration piece
Your inspiration piece can be a throw pillow, rug or painting. It can be a photo that you saw in a magazine or something you saw online. An inspiration piece can be your jumping off point for your space.
Shop – let’s find those items that make your space beautiful and functional
Since you’ve already determined the key items that you need to make your space a workhorse you’re ready to start shopping for those items.
Don’t forget to shop your own home and see if you already own pieces that you can repurpose into this room.
I also love to wander through thrift stores, antique stores and I will stalk Facebook Marketplace when I’m looking for furniture and decor.
When you’re working on a room that’s already furnished it can be really helpful to take everything out of the room before you get started.
Sometimes I can get stuck because I’m so used to seeing a room a certain way that I have a hard time picturing it any other way. Freeing the space can help free your imagination.
Be sure to refer to your plan often to help keep you on track!
I’m not saying don’t buy something just because you love it. If you love it you’ll figure out a way to incorporate it into your design.
Keeping your inspiration and needs in mind while you’re shopping will save you time and money. You won’t purchase a lot of items that won’t work in your space, and you won’t spend a lot of time looking at items that you don’t need.
Well I can’t guarantee that, but it does help.
I can always find myself going down a rabbit hole online so my other solution to keep me on track is to set a timer. If I’ve wandered too far from where I started when the timer dings it’sto time to regroup and start over or take a break.
A plan is just a plan.
All good plans leave room for changes and improvement. Be sure that yours does too.
Decorating a space or a home can be an ongoing project but it should be one that you enjoy. When you bring a new pretty into your space you may need to remove or just move another so that your vision still works. That’s the fun of decorating.
You are the best person to decorate Your space.
Your space should reflect your family and your personality. If you copy a room that you find in a catalog or online, you’ll probably find that it doesn’t have the feeling that you’re wanting to achieve.
That feeling is your personality!
It’s great to find a room you love and use it as an inspiration, just be sure to listen to that nudge you feel when you see something you like. Don’t ignore it.
Will you make mistakes? Probably so.
Guess what? Those mistakes help point you closer and closer to your very own style. Which is not anyone else’s style.
Don’t forget how to design a room 4 Steps:
These steps have helped me narrow down my choices and get moving when I’m stuck. They’ve saved me time and they’ve saved me money.
I hope that they’ll be able to do the same for you!
If you want to see daily inspiration I always share on my Instagram Story.
I’ve also shared how to use Pinterest to make a design board HERE