How To Design A Room - The 8 Essential Questions
Are you trying to design your own home, but struggling to bring it all together cohesively? Or maybe you feel your room is missing something and not feeling like you hoped it would? Let me help with the 8 fabulous questions to show you how to design a room in 8 easy steps.
Before I jump into this post, I'm just going to apologise for all the times I say layers and contrast. I'm truly sorry.
Here's the truth: Layers are the interior design secret sauce, this is where the design magic happens, it is the detail of intentional thinking about each individual layer, by layer, by layer.
Press Play To Get The Essential Eight....
If you want to elevate your designs thinking about these 8 questions really should help you take things up a notch. Take your time, really think about each question as a layer. If you get the essential eight into your room you're onto a beautifully designed space that will have complexity and depth. It's all about the layers and intentional thought, so let's jump right in and I'll show you how to design a room.
1 - Does your room have three (or more) colours?
If you want to create variety and interest you should really aim for three (or more) colours.
If you're struggling for colour combo inspiration try and find an inspiration piece to work around such as a cushion or piece or art, or maybe a fabric you adore (bonus: the fabric designer has done the hard work for you and created a scheme that works).
Colour combinations you can think about are tonal, harmonious and contrasting, and if you’d like more information on that stop by next week as we have a post to inspire your colour creations.
If you'd like to create a unique scheme from scratch, follow this simple process:
- Pick A Pattern: You can start an entire scheme from a single pattern. Find an abstract pattern or print on Pinterest that has the look and feel that you might like to create in your home.
- Create An Initial Mood Board: Develop the pattern into a higher level view moodboard and the overall feeling you’d like to create in your home. Don't get into specific items like which bed, chair etc. Look for the mood and feeling, perhaps that's the soothing colours of beach scene at dusk, or the rustic feel of a washed up piece of driftwood, of a vibrant contemporary city scape. It does not need to be a room to copy from Pinterest, you can easily create a unique design.
- Drill Down On The Design: Create a new moodboard for each new space in your home: living room, kitchen, dining room bedroom etc drilling down and getting more specific with items such as bedroom furniture, seating, lighting, fabrics and finishes. Keep referring back to your first mood board to keep each space in alignment with your overall vision....Hello whole home flow and cohesion.
If you’d like to learn how to create mood boards and understand more about defining your vision, the Ultimate Home Design Toolkit shows you and easy to follow 8 step by step process.
2 - Does your room have a little bit of black?
Black is a colour that you will find often in many successful schemes, even if just a splash. In science, black is the absence of light. In reality, black is a pigment and a mix of all the spectrum's hues, the darkest colour.
Having this even in small quantities be that a picture frame, a chair leg, or a table, well, it will give your scheme depth and contrast. Using the colour black adds a focal point that anchors. It adds a sophisticated look to a space.
Your eye will try and settle on splashes of black because it creates contrast and will outline and sharpen a scheme.
3 - Does your room have a little texture?
Every room needs texture to add life and tactility. We all need a couple of things that are fluffy and make you want to stop, reach out and touch. Texture stops your space feeling too flat and one dimensional.
It's easy to the of the obvious choices of texture as in fabrics, throws and cushions. Texture can also be found from surprising places like in clashing patterns (think Jacquard + linen), feature walls, lighting designs, adding a little greenery even. To create a multi layered look, think about contrasts such as materials, colours, patterns, shapes, light + dark and so on, texture is all about the layers.
4 - Does your room contain at least two (ideally three) patterns?
Step number 4 in how to design a room, perfecting your patterns!
Combining patterns in your space is what will give your room an edge, and creates a confident feel if done correctly. You need just the right combination of shape, colour, shade, and size to create a harmonic feel within your schemes and not end up too chaotic.... Unless chaotic is the style vibe.
Having at least two patterns, ideally three, possibly four, will help you create a designer done feel.
Remember that you can find patterns in so many places on rugs, throws, wallpaper, furniture. Think of the veining in marble, the patina of a tile or the grain in wood, it's not just fabrics and soft furnishings.
Below are some simple steps to combining patterns to make it super easy:
- Play with scale - Try to avoid patterns of the same size. Have a larger dominant pattern and mix them with medium and/or small scale patterns. As with all things interiors, by doing this you'll create contrast and interest.
- Location, Location, location - Think about the energy in a pattern. Patterns like herringbone can overwhelm a space in larger quantities so are better suited to a small space such as a cushion or throw. If you're using a high energy pattern then ensure you balance and contrast with something a little simpler.
- Tie in similarities - If you mix up your pattern type (floral, damask, chevron), try and find an element to unify such as the colour. If the pattern is the same, mix up the colours. Don't stick to all the same saturation though, that might feel a little flat, add in depth with thinking about light and dark, it will help your individual patterns stand out and not blend together.
- Two, Three or Four - Sticking to just one pattern can feel a little lifeless, the magic lies in 2/3/4, anymore than this and it might feel like too much energy to feel cohesive, unless that's kinda the point!
- Buddies - There are some natural buddies in the pattern world, the truth is it's about contrasting. Stripes as an example work well combined with busier florals or Ikat designs. Houndstooth would work well with something simpler like a pinstripe.
- Your Style - If your style favours a busier and more energetic feel, like eclectic, maximalism or bohemian say. These styles are less about formal order and symmetry, then you can have more energy. If your design style is modern and contemporary, then this would be reflected in simpler styles, less energy and a more simplified feel.
5 - Does your room have a little bit of bling?
We're talking sheen and shine here! You'll need something that adds more layer-able contrast and interest. That could be a mirror, a lacquered piece of furniture, some glass.... Get something that sparkles to add in more contrasting layers, textures and more complexity to your room.
Adding in something with reflective surfaces will also help you bounce a little light around your room, which can be a great help in darker areas.
6 - Does your room have something that's living?
I’m not talking unwelcome visitors here. Plants, flowers, greenery.... No room is complete without something to feed. Indoor plants can be used as accent pieces, to soften areas or even to create a certain expression.
Adding greenery to a space not only makes your space feel more appealing and alive, it also plays a role in your overall health and wellbeing.
If you needed any extra reasons: plants filter the air, they help reduce stress and anxiety, they can increase productivity and even help you sleep better.
Who doesn’t want a little more of that!
7 - Does your room shine with light?
If you want to create show stopping drama in your room, you need a show stopping lighting design. Poorly or improperly lit rooms are the biggest room design killer!
Here’s the things you need to think about, ask the same question you would ask to understand more about space planning.
The Who: The people, who will be using the space?
The How: All the activities that will be undertaken, how will the space space be used?
When you know the answer to these questions, you’ll understand the different lighting types and sources that you need and where you need them. You’ll then be able to create a lovely layered up lighting scheme.
8 - Has your room got some good energy?
Time to get a little woo, every room needs a little bit of good energy (chi), untouched and empty space to allow the energy (and people) to flow around.
Ensuring your space has a bit of emptiness will allow your design choices to pop. It gives a place for the eyes to rest and notice your lovely things.
Even if you're all out maximalism, too much stuff without a break overwhelms the eyes and senses. Make sure you have a couple of empty spaces or surfaces.
I hope you've found the questions helpful and that you use them to dig a little deeper learning how to design a room and create more complexity in your design schemes. Let me know in the comments if this checklist that you make sure you tick off and include in your room?
Want to grab the Essential 8 Checklist? You can grab it here.