Every journey requires that first step. Your first step to gorgeous and functional DIY room design may begin with a glass of wine and some reflection.
Some Questions To Ask Yourself
- What are the defining architectural or natural features of this room and/or home
- What are the functional requirements of the space: will we watch television, swap stories with friends or will children play as they eat colorful drippy popsicles
- How might these functions be supported by furniture, fixtures or lighting
- What have I seen that inspires me
Think About Concept
A design concept is the foundation upon which you will plan and pull together all of your design elements.
It can be a 2-3 sentence mission statement that drives decision making and ensures specifications are focused around your key priorities.
For example, one of our favorite clients had purchased her dream home, a lake house. Our challenge was to design a room around the amazing water view. The concept:
Create a space that embraces the lake. Bring the lake into the room. Foster both casual entertaining and luxurious relaxation for two.
Having a concept means designing toward a cohesive synergy vs. just organizing a bunch of disparate pretty things.
The lake view concept will drive us toward emphasizing the colors in the lake. We will strive for calming fabrics, textures and patterns with hues of green and blue that don’t overpower. We will avoid, for example, punches of pink that would immediately draw the eye away from the water.
Furniture placement to support the concept means long cushy sofa benches with low backs that don’t obstruct the view out the huge bay windows. We’ll bring in shimmering moody lighting that doesn’t overpower the soft glow of the sun setting over the water in the twilight.
Your “envelope” is the material construction of the house and everything attached to it. Walls, flooring, paint, window and wall coverings, tile, etc. It is important these reference the architectural styling of the home in a neutral and transitional way.
These finishes will stay with the home should you hand it over to a new care-taker someday and therefore its smart to be a bit less tied to the temporary trends of the day for colors and styling. Make it easy for potential buyers, or even yourself in the future. Emphasize trends in the inexpensive items that are less costly to replace, not the foundational elements of your envelope.
You’ve been restrained and responsible with the envelope and stuck to your concept. Now is the time you get to have fun and get a little wild with your inner interior decorator. Decorations, artwork, pillows, throws, rugs, accessories, lighting and more. These are the areas where you should embrace your favorite trends, whims, seasonal celebrations, crazy colors and patterns and all of the pretty things you fall in love with.
We’re fans of mixing frugal finds, cherished pieces and solid investments in items that need to stand the test of time.
A good starting point may be to evaluate a major purchase based upon the unique use or abuse it may be required to entertain. Assign your budget accordingly.
Make smart investments in higher quality items when…
- You need furniture super constructed (with a warranty to match) that will foster active children paying video games, building forts and exhibiting a less than perfect track record of getting all of their food in their mouths.
- Movable parts must glide with minimal effort for the elderly or someone with a physical disability. Spend a bit more on well engineered metal-glides that will operate smoothly vs. lower quality or wood glides that will stick and require significant effort.
Be stingy with your budget when…
- Choosing a decorative piece for aesthetic reasons. For example a side table hidden in a corner, a piece of furniture in a room with infrequent use or one that doesn’t support significant weight. Maybe its a decorative item like lamp that is rarely required to illuminate the space. These are the areas where you can pursue much more budget friendly sources and products.