8 Easy Steps to Revamp A Room When You’re Not a Designer
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone tell me they just didn’t think they had the creativity or designers’ eye to make-over a room. It is true that some of us have a natural affinity for creative thinking and it may come easy for us, but there can be a process applied to design. If you aren’t a designer and can’t afford one, below are some simple steps to help you revamp a room.
Look at your room and ask yourself some questions. What bothers me about this room? Is it cluttered? Is my furniture dated or old? Does my space feel too small? Do I not have enough furniture or art? Is it warm enough? What is my end goal in re-designing this space? Is it to encourage family time and engagement? Is it because I need a quiet space to read and study?
This is also a good time to take measurements of the room and write down the information for reference. This will come in handy when you are ready to finalize your decisions.
2. Make a list
After you’ve established your primary goals and objectives, review what you want to keep, what you’d like to throw away, and what you’d like to move or change. Then, do it! Immediately if you can, without disrupting your quality of life too much. Now, if you want to get rid of the couch and don’t have any other seating in the meantime, you can wait until you replace it. But if anything is not necessary, than take that extra step in advance to get rid of it. Nothing will get you more motivated to change the room and finish the project than a clean slate. This is also a step by step process and getting rid of the clutter will clear your mind to make room for clarity and ease of design.
This is where some of the fun stuff starts. It’s time to look for inspiration. Gather photos of rooms you feel attracted to, furniture you like, and art you desire. Categorize your photos and start seeing a pattern of design and taste that is driving you. From there, you will start making decisions on what you want. It could be a white couch, brass finishes, or a captivating chandelier.
[Related: Yes, You Really Are Creative]
4. Determine a Color Story or Theme
Now it gets down to the serious designing part. I like to start with a color story, but a theme can also work. Maybe the theme you want is Shabby Chic or perhaps you picked a throw pillow that you liked in a turquoise blue. This step is about creating your theme or color story and beginning to select your paint colors or wall paper as finishes to anchor your space. Remember, for paint, you can always pull out an accent color from an inspiration pattern for contrast.
Based on your inspiration photos, start to look for the pieces you need and want, then finalize your decisions. I always like to start with one major piece like a couch or a dining table and then work in the accessories. But if you can, you should wait to actually purchase until you complete the next step.
6. Create a Story Board
Once you’ve almost made decisions, it might help you to visually pull them together in one or two documents to get a better idea on how they may work in your room. You don’t need a fancy graphic program, you can use Word or PowerPoint and insert photos. But if you’d like to get fancy, there are free programs out there such as Design Files that can help you. Example below.
Also, remember your list from Step 1? Start checking things off and pulling your pictures together. Once you’ve gotten your big pieces, review your goals. Are these pieces contributing to your end goal?
Once you’ve reviewed what you’ve chosen and made any edits, make your final decisions and move forward. Check dimensions of furniture you're purchasing versus the space you have to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Make sure if you're unsure on anything that you keep the receipt.
8. Put it all together
If you require painting or wall paper but would rather not to do it yourself, there are great websites like Angie’s List or Thumbtack where you can get quotes and select your contractor. But for the rest of the decorating part, work with a partner or invite a close friend over and implement the changes. This can be a very fun experience!
Designers generally have drawn out floor plans but instead, before your help arrives, you should have some ideas in mind of different layouts or where you think the larger pieces need to sit in your room. Start placing your items and adjust as needed. Go with how the room makes you feel and don’t be afraid to try a few things out until you nail down the best overall flow and look.
These simple steps make designing seem a bit easier for the beginner. You may have questions along the way, but that is part of the learning process. There are definitely benefits to hiring a designer, however if you have the time and patience to do your research and take these steps, it can be a success on your own!
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Savvy Spaces is an Interior Decorating & Design Company focused on residential & commercial spaces primarily in the Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality sector. I started Savvy Spaces recently after working several years as a Senior Executive in Visual Design & Interiors for Bloomingdales. In that position over several years I led a strong design team and had the opportunity to design complete shop build outs as well as take the lead with my partners on... Continue Reading
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