The idea of redesigning or redecorating a room is the easy part, making it happen requires a methodical, step-by-step approach. The overarching goal of the project is to create a space that is not only stylish and functional, but that reflects your household’s personality and lifestyle.
Steps to Designing and Redecorating a Room
There is most certainly a free-form and creative flow that’s part of redecorating a room, but it is woven through a very methodical structure. This is why an interior designer is such a valuable piece of the puzzle, especially if you are starting from scratch or have never worked through a complete overhaul before.
If you aren’t interested in working with a professional interior designer full-time, do consider hiring one for a single or a small series of design consultations. This is a budget-friendly way to glean professional tips and suggestions that will make all the difference in your finished project.
Either way, using a method-based, step-by-step process will allow the artistic pieces fall more naturally into place.
Step One: Know Your Style
Do you really know your own style? Or have you been copying your style all these years? Or, do you have such a mishmash of furniture and accessories you’ve collected over the years that it’s hard to see your way through the layers of style preferences?
Now’s the time to cleanse the design palate, so to speak, and figure out where your current style tastes really live. This is a place where a design consult can be helpful. I’ve even had clients move everything but the absolute essentials out of a room so it can sit as an empty, blank canvas for a while as they figure out what they’re really after.
Read What’s Your Interior Design Style for assistance if you’re truly stumped and need a little kick-start.
Step Two: Know Who Lives There
I’ve had stay-at-home mothers of three children, ages 2- to 8-years, come to me to design their living room. They present me with photos and idea books showing gorgeous living rooms in monochromatic whites, pale grays, and blues. The spaces are pristine and almost celestial (read “serene”) in their appearance. In this instance, I realize I’m not seeing the space the woman realistically wants to create, I’m seeing a picture of a space she wishes she could create because she’s absolutely dying for a moment of peace and order in her life.
The most successful designs are those that not only match your style but are specifically suited to the people (and pets!) who will live there. That aforementioned living room is not going to be an option for most young families, but we can find a way to design just the right space for your household (and perhaps carve out a little niche in a walk-in closet or something to create your miniature, kid-free, celestial-like living space).
Fabrics, colors, textures, durable or unbreakable accessories – all of these will depend on the Who factor.
Step Three: Know Your Budget
Budget is important because it will decide what tier you select from at every stage of the game. Be honest will every rep or salesroom you enter about what your budget is so they know where to guide you. Blowing your budget is extremely stressful and will take the wind right out of your redesign sails.
If you plan to do any remodeling while you’re at it, make sure to leave a 15% “safety net” in case anything unexpected crops up along the way.
Step 4: Reacquaint Yourself With the Floor plan
This is one of the reasons some clients like to clear out a room as much as possible before redecorating a room (especially living, family or bedroom spaces). It can be difficult to see your room any other way but the way it’s arranged right now. Your new design, however, makes anything and lots of things possible again – most certainly new furniture arrangements.
I recommend using a simple, online floor plan program, like This One, so you can play around.
In the meantime, make sure you carefully measure every dimension in the room. When it comes time to shop for furniture, accurate measurements make all the difference. You can take your sample floor plan with you. Expansive design rooms with ultra-high ceilings will make a humongous sofa look moderate in size, so you don’t want any disheartening surprises on delivery day.
Step 5: Play with Colors
Now it’s time to play with colors, creating a palette that best suits your style and the space. There are plenty of ways to go about this. If you’re starting from scratch, you can choose a favorite color palette and select furnishings around that. Most of the time, however, I suggest choosing your very favorite piece in the room, be it an area rug or a work of art, and then work to develop an accommodating color scheme from there.
Step 6: Choose Your Furnishings
Now it’s time to select your furnishings. Always max the budget with larger, staple, lifetime pieces – such as couches and chairs. You can always reupholster (or repaint) them in future decades, so the bones of a piece really matter. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to buy used or even seemingly beat-up furniture if you can sense there’s high-quality behind it. I’m often amazed at the “free” furniture I see on streets or on Craigslist – – reupholstering goes a long way.
Step 7: Make sure you include some oldies but goodies
Finally, a “brand new” room doesn’t always have a homey or comfortable feel, so do include some oldies but goodies into the mix. Beautiful antiques can always find a home, even in the most modern or contemporary of designs. If your family doesn’t have any heirloom or vintage pieces already, be on the lookout at flea markets and garage sales (or Craigslist, of course) to find a quality piece or two that will help to settle you newly designed room.