Basics of Interior Design

First Shop for Ideas

Some people have a knack for going beyond the basics of interior design, blending what seem to be the perfect colors, furniture, art and patterns together to make a room or an entire home really "pop." The rest of us might have to work a little harder, but with time and research, you’ll have fun developing a style truly your own based on expert tips.

Idea shopping allows for contact with professional arrangements first hand. You can spend as much time as needed to compare color schemes, furniture arrangements and so on, learning as you go.
Three relatively free ways to get ideas:

  • Flip through magazines and make a "clip file" of what you like.
  • Take a showcase home tour.
  • Visit furniture stores that feature whole room displays.

Your reactions to various settings may surprise you. Maybe you thought you wanted a French country feel for the living room but now like the look of a neo-contemporary couch. Your mind’s eye might have always envisioned the dining room in fire engine red, but there’s just something about it being delft blue with white trim that soothes you.
The ideas you’ve collected will help you move forward with design.

Plan the Room

Think about what you want the room to accomplish.
Maybe you’re redoing a family room that will be chock full of children, pets and peanut butter cracker crumbs. The fabrics, paint color, even the lighting for this action-oriented room will be completely opposite to the needs of a tranquil bathroom, just as the functional design of a modern home office will differ from a cozy guest bedroom.

Design pros use a maquette to map out the dimensions of a room, outline the furniture, assign placement to windows, doors, outlets and other immovable objects, such as a fireplace, to know how and what to design.
The maquette can be a simple piece of paper with the room drawn on it, featuring measurements of each area for quick reference. You can also place little shapes of furniture on the maquette to "move" at will as you work through your design.