Do you ever wonder how to design a space? Where do you begin? What if you have some elements already? Well, I am here to walk you through a very simple step-by-step to help you in designing your space. You see, it doesn’t have to induce hives and a panic attack. So deep breaths, sister, we’ll get through this one step at a time. Get your tape measurer and a notepad, here we go.
1. Start with a neutral base.
The base of your room (specifically, walls and flooring) are going to be big parts of the design in the end. They will impact the feel of the room and even how well put together a space feels. Now, I have lived in rentals for a hot minute (12 years+ now), so I understand if you have a base that cannot be changed. At the very least, ask your landlord if you can paint the walls. I recommend a neutral gray, greige (gray/beige), or white.
Flooring is a hard one. I lived in an adorable little house (that I wished so hard was mine) that had a weird brown carpet. Since we rented, we couldn’t change it. If you have the option to change, I say hardwoods (or faux) all the way. If not, a good rug is a great option. We’ve had both patterned and solid color ones. Depending on your choice of patterns (wait till step number three!), you may want a solid color rug. Again, a gray color, jute, or even a very small patterned rug can do the trick.
2. Build from big to small.
You know the story about how if we fill a jar up with sand, we can’t fit big rocks in? Its an analogy for prioritizing or something…can’t remember, BUT the same goes for design. Starting with your big pieces will then allow you to sprinkle in different smaller elements later. If you have too many trinkets or small items taking up space, you won’t be able to be as creative with your large pieces. These pieces include: the sofa, sofa table, accent chair, media stand/center, bookshelf, etc.
Starting from big to small will also oppositely allow you to gauge if your piece is too big. If you find that all you can fit in your space is your sofa or bed or dining table, maybe you should go with a smaller one. Or maybe you have several big pieces in your room. My mom jokes that her living room couches sometimes feel like Lego furniture because they are a bit too big for her space.
And don’t forget to measure!! I had a gal one time want to buy my sectional, was ready on her way, and last minute measured her space. Turns out the sectional was too big and she would’ve had a big headache if she had gone through with it!!
3. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns!
This one is a fun one for me. I looooove patterns. Subtle, bold, you name it. And I love mixing them. To me, that is the best way to add pattern to your room. Doing different types adds texture and dimension to a room. You would never want to do 6 differently colored but same patterned pillows on your bed or couch. That would look weird. But adding patterns in the rug, pillows, throw blanket, and even in the fabric on your furniture itself adds a really fun element to the room!
Right now, as I sit in my living room writing this, I can count seven different patterns! And they all go well together. So how do you add patterns? Its good to try and match something from one pattern to another. Sometimes you can break this rule (and its not really a rule anyway), but if you’re first starting out, maybe start with two to three patterns. Find one item, say a throw blanket, and pick a color from the pattern in the blanket. Match this color to the color in an accent pillow. Then find another piece that either matches or compliments using a color wheel.
4. Remember to think tall.
Did you know that most of us are misusing a huge space in our rooms without even knowing it? Just take a second and look up. Yep. The top 1/3 of your walls and all of your ceiling are probably bare, right? Remember to decorate this space too! Doing a collage or gallery wall up to 6 inches from your ceiling, putting up a really interesting chandelier or ceiling fan, having a tall tree or plant, using up-to-the-ceiling shelving, etc. can make the room feel taller and can allow you to add more to your space than before! You’ve likely seen this trick, but raising your curtain rods so that they aren’t just flush with the top of the window but are above it adds height and also makes your windows look taller!
5. Add in the little things.
I love the whole process of decorating a room, but the little decorations in a room are one of my favorite parts of room design. Look for different textures here as well. Wood, smaller plants, concrete, ceramic, etc. One of my favorite places to look for these items are Target clearance and thrift stores! I recently spent $25 at Goodwill and got three vases, a jute-wrapped glass pitcher, two baskets, and a wooden bowl. And I can see all of these items in my living room as I type this!
Think of your small items for different uses as well. For example, I have shallow baskets hung on my wall, Target dollar spot twinkle lights on my mantle, an old antique child-sized chair holding a pot with a plant in it. Heck, I even used the wood stand from our ceramic water filter as a plant stand instead! Be creative and shop your house! You never know what you can come up with if you try to use things differently and creatively!
You did it!
Yay! Using these five steps make decorating your space super easy and less stressful, yes? I also highly recommend doing a mood board and/or mocking up your space to make sure you have an idea of what you’re going for. This will help you while you’re shopping to be able to stick to the design and have something to reference if you aren’t sure if something fits.
I hope this helps! Let me know in the comments, what is the hardest part about designing your space??