Interior Design Boot Camp: 10 Easy Steps to Start Your Interior Design Project Right

Too many people are disappointed in their do-it-yourself design projects, mainly because they don’t make the right decisions at the very beginning. Here are 10 Easy Steps to take at the start, to get your project going the right way.

Step 1:   De- Clutter:  This is the big first start to getting into shape for your great interior design project.   You don’t have to throw everything away, but get rid of the stuff you really don’t need or never use! Then live with the results for a week and do it again. Start with as clean a palette a possible.

Step 2:  Think Flow:  All spaces in your project are connected and flow together so you can’t just design one room. You may only have the money to do one room right now, but you have to plan for the entire space. One room touches another room, which touches another one, etc.  Your design will only be complete when you achieve an overall flow and theme throughout your house.

Step 3: Set your Scope:  Now you have to decide which room or rooms come first?  Get that straight and you are almost ready to plunge in!

Step 4: Don’t forget the ‘backgrounds’. You can redo everything, but if you don’t look at your backgrounds you won’t feel like you accomplished much.  Countertops, cabinetry, paint colors, flooring, shelving and more, all have a huge impact on your design. If they look shabby or outdated, everything else is a waste of time.

Step 5:  Set your budget.  Budgets aren’t just for small projects.  Even the most elaborate homes we work on have budgets or at least ‘targets’ in mind.  If you are redoing everything from scratch, then here are some rules-of-thumb for budgets.  Furniture should comprise about 40% of your budget, Artwork 8%, Window Coverings 12%, Freight 7%, Specialty Lighting+Lamps 7%, Plants 5%, Accessories 8%, Wallpaper and Paint 2%, backgrounds 10% , though that can vary wildly.  You will have to take from each of your budget areas to make it all add up to 100%.

Step 6:  Plants and Artwork. For many who are new to interior design, these two areas tend to be pushed to the background.  Big Mistake! Plants and Artwork make a room complete and are critical to the finished look.

Step 7: Use Simple Window Treatments. Trash the old heavy treatments immediately. Your room will get a much needed boost of light and energy. Simple, inexpensive panels or cornice can be purchased in many different fabrics from lots of online retailers. They will even send you a fabric swatch (see Step 4).

Step 8: Don’t waste money. If you are on a tight budget, then spend it where you need it.  Take  baby’s rooms for example. Tey are oh-so cute, but an expensive baby’s room can be a waste.  Baby’s need love and food and lots of hugs. All that other fancy stuff is for mama, not baby. So if you don’t have it, don’t spend it here!

Step 9: Make it usable. Don’t put a fussy sofa and two chairs in your living room because you ‘have’ to. If you won’t use it like that, then don’t do it. How about 4 club chairs and library shelving?  Be creative. Think of what you need, make it presentable and make it work.

Step 10: Do it like a Designer.  Designers plan everything before they actually do anything. They draw every built-in, spec all moldings, measure all furniture, select all fabrics and lay it all on a floor plan before they ever buy anything.  Know what everything is, where it goes and how it fits into your budget before you buy.

If you get all this, then you have passed Interior Design Boot Camp. Congratulations!   Keep these basics in mind throughout and you are off to a successful design project.