Five Steps To Learning Interior Design

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You know that feeling when you look at inspiring home photos on Pinterest or in magazines and think, “I could do that!” So, you start decorating a room in your home. During the process, though, you start to wonder what’s gone wrong. Your room doesn’t look like you thought it would. Suddenly, learning interior design doesn’t feel as fun as you thought it would.

I feel ya! Before studying interior design and getting my degree, I did the exact same thing! I used to think that having an “eye” for design was something you were just born with; either you have it or you don’t. While there are people who naturally have more of an eye, design is something that CAN be learned. Great news, right??!!

So if you want to train your design eye and get better at decorating for yourself, here are my top tips…

Top tips for learning interior design on your own

  1. Study the designs of well known designers in books, magazines, Instagram and Pinterest. Study their use of space, color, texture and pattern. 
  1. Don’t just look at the spaces that appeal to you. Intentionally study spaces that aren’t necessarily your style.  The more you do this, the better you’ll be able to tell what works and what doesn’t.  Honing your design eye is about more than just figuring out what you like. It’s about being able to discern a good use of space regardless of whether or not it’s your style.
  1. You’ll know you are progressing when you start appreciating styles that you wouldn’t have before. Even though you may not want that particular style in your own home, you will be able to appreciate the beauty and functionality of it.
  1. Learn the design process. Most of the time, we start decorating a room by shopping for things we like. This is the last step designers take when designing a room. Learning the process that designers use can make things much more structured and straightforward. As a busy physician, you have no time to waste, so I adapted the design process I learned in design school and made it super high yield for you… so you can start using it immediately. Here is the summary:

The House Calls 5-Step Design Process

1 – Programming. This refers to the information gathering phase that takes place before you start decorating. I’m often asked questions like:

“What paint color should I use?”

“What do you think I should put here?”

These are great questions. My first response is, “What are you going to use the room for?” Often the answer I get is, “I’m not entirely sure.” The function of the room – what you’ll use it for – should always inform the design of the room.  Programming allows you to fully explore this, so you end up with a room that works well for the way you live in your home, rather than just being a pretty space. So before you look at a single color or piece of furniture, make sure you answer these questions:

  • What do I like about this room now?
  • What drives me crazy about this room?
  • What will this room be used for (get specific.. think watching tv, playing games, eating with family, entertaining, etc.)
  • How do I feel in this room now? Why?
  • How do I want to feel in this room?

2 – Finding Inspiration. Really diving deep into what inspires you is important. This will give you focus so that you don’t end up getting pulled into lots of different directions and stalled out by confusion and overwhelm. When you have a well defined inspiration, you know where you’re going and can get there more easily. Look for inspiration in nature, meaningful objects or heirlooms, or other spaces you see on Pinterest or Instagram.

3 – Space Planning. Space planning is the term used to describe furniture arrangement. This is where you decide how your room will be laid out. By starting here, you’ll decide exactly what furniture pieces you’ll need to shop for and approximately what size they need to be. Draw out your space and experiment with different arrangements before purchasing any furniture.

4 – Design Concept. This is where you develop a true vision of what your space will look like.  An easy way to visualize your space is by creating a Google Slide or Powerpoint. Take screenshots of items and mix and match them on your board until you have a combination you love. This way you’ll be able to make sure all of your ideas work well together, which will save you a lot of time and money in regrets and returns!

5 – Design Selections. The LAST step is shopping for specific items. As I mentioned before, this is often the step we are tempted to do first. After going through the entire design process, you’ll find this step to be so much easier!  

If you’re interested in learning interior design on your own, take my free mini course “Learn To Design For Yourself”. I’ll take you through each of these steps in more detail so that you can feel confident the next time you tackle a room! Click here to get the free mini course.

Hi I'm Kricia

I help crazy busy women physicians create intentionally designed spaces that makes coming home the best part of their day!

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Create a home you love that fits YOUR style, so you feel relaxed, inspired, and enjoy every space in your home.