Create My Space

“An interior designer is not paid for his labor but for his vision” – James Whistler


The role of an interior designer is to create a vision of a space in order to address the function, aesthetics and clients’ desires. Interior designers possess an ability to visualize and interpret ideas in terms of color, structure and ambiance, in 3-D in order to bring ideas and concepts to life.

Most clients do not think three dimensionally, therefore they rely on the designer to articulate and translate their visions, desires, and requirements. So… how do you start the design process?

(READ MORE on “The Role of an Interior Designer”)


As a designer I often get inspiration from my client’s ideas, style and taste, translating these to reflect their needs and desires, while enriching it into a preferred vision. Some designs begin with selections of fabrics, finishes and furnishings in order to establish the color scheme and the overall ambiance.

At other times, a good place to begin is with the color scheme, which may be inspired by a recent visit to an exotic island, or a red leather sofa you always wished for to achieve a “Hollywood Glamour” look.

Picture of RED LEATHER SOFA Dianne –> (?)

The variables are endless, as inspiration is key. Another option for inspiration would be to draw the color-scheme from a favorite piece of art.

Picture or ART – Bob and AVA’s Home –> (?)

If you start with art, remember that when placing fine art in your home, it does not have to ‘match’ your sofa perfectly; it could just have the right “feeling” in order to create the proper ambiance with the space.

You can place modern art in a completely traditional room or an antique serigraph in a very modern home. Just make sure that you start with something you love, not something that you’re just ok with. Art has a powerful impact on one’s home.

For example, a previous client was an art dealer and we began the project with an art collection. In order to allow for the art to showcase as the focal point, we allocated ample wall space and proposed more minimal furnishings than usual.

(READ MORE on “Art at Home”)

If existing conditions and elements of the interior will remain as is, (such as existing furniture or flooring) the designer will pull inspiration from them and will weave these elements into the overall design with a desired vision in mind for the final outcome.

However, if this is your second home and you do not have any inspirational or existing pieces you wish to include, begin with creating an idea board by searching through magazines or the internet for a starting point. Pinterest is a very good source as you can create different boards by category or room.

pinterest snapshot

Another way to begin is to have a basic consultation with a designer that will be able to help you clearly define your own unique style. Even if you wish to design the room yourself, a designer can begin to guide you in the beginning even if it’s just to give you some parameters to work within, ideas for establishing a color scheme, or initial furniture space planning.

An initial plan with the correct scale and proper layout will provide a clear map for you to reference before you begin purchasing items. Many designers are available on a consultation basis whether for a minimum hourly consultation price or a day fee basis. Setting some parameters that you are willing to stay within will help prevent any “emotional buys” you make during this process.


The best thing to do is to draw a diagram, or a scaled furniture layout. If this is where you feel your skills may be lacking and you’re not great with scale and proportion, setting up a consultation with a designer is definitely worth the cost, as this is crucial step in the design process!

Below is just one sample plan of the “how to begin” process. Keep in mind that designers have the ability to look at all these different layers simultaneously, and can switch from one step to the other simultaneously while considering all elements at once.

For someone who may not have the ability to factor in so many different concepts all at the same time, it helps to have a step-by-step list of how to go about designing a room.

Let’s Break It Down

Step 1 – Inspiration:

There are so many ways to get inspired, such Pinterest, magazines, art or even a trip to Tahiti! I think a good way to start would be to cuddle down with a magazine to start getting an idea of what you like and establish the “feel” you are going for in the space.

Step 2 – Evaluate the Function of the Room:

What will this room be used for? And who will be using it? (consider children, pets etc.). Do you need a glider, a massage chair, maybe a functional lift coffee table, a desk behind a sofa, or leather arms for durability? Do you really need a dining room or could the dining table fit into a breakfast room?

Diannes Banquette Dining Room

Evaluate the type furnishings that are needed for the room – sometimes other pieces you might not have considered might work better, such as a sectional rather than a sofa, or a floating console rather than a furniture piece. Maybe you need a sleeper chair. Begin by envisioning what you see the space being used for, maybe sipping wine by the fireplace?

Fireplace Hollywood Glamour

Step 3 – Floor Plan:

Draw your floor plan to scale, meaning layout all furniture required for the function of the room. Decide on a basic layout with a few options. (When deciding on the layout, consider the lighting of the room as well, see step 10). An easy way to draw your plan is to use graph paper – each square represents one foot.

Floor Plan

In the room shown above there’s an observation area where we placed two swivel chairs and a round end table the client stated that they would not use, however, it turned out to be the “observation spot” in the house and the client was surprisingly pleased with the outcome.

Logan LR - Park Plaza Gulfshore Blvd North Naples Florida (4)

Step 4 – List All Furniture:

Make a list of all required furniture and the sizes needed. Start with the largest item first; sofas, chairs, area rug, TV console, cocktail table, end tables, etc. and then adjust your floor plan based on your final decisions. This is a good time to jot down a budget for each item and make sure you have funds for a complete design.

Step 5 – Determine the Rug Size:

Determine the size of the rug as well; make sure it is ample and not ‘a small postage stamp’ under the cocktail table only. You would not want to pick out a rug you love just to find out it’s the wrong size. Most of the furniture should sit onto the rug, and bigger is definitely better. It is often said that the rug is the “glue” of the room.

(READ MORE on “How to Choose A Rug”)
Large Rug Estuary at Grey Oaks

Step 6 – Evaluate Your Style (now seriously):

Once you have your inspiration and the furnishings list, as well as the layout, then you a ready to evaluate your style (in more detail) – such as contemporary, eclectic or traditional. When considering this make sure it transitions well into other areas of your home. You can transition dramatically, but it helps if you carry out some element pertaining to the adjacent area.

Otherwise the home appears disjointed and generally will look smaller. Yes, you can mix some periods, however eclectic is the most difficult style to achieve. A complete series on Determining Your Style is in the works, so stay posted!

(READ MORE on “Determine Your Style”)

Step 7 – Determine Your Color Scheme:

Determine your color scheme by pulling some fabrics, paints, and ideas together. Keep your flooring in mind (wood, tile, ect.) and possible paint colors (not finalized yet) and begin searching for fabrics for the main furnishings, as well as the accent pillow or chairs. This might require seeing the fabrics in different lighting (morning/afternoon/evening). Make sure the lighting is the same type you will be ultimately using with your final selections.

It’s best to take the fabrics with you when selecting the furnishings, so that you can stay on track with your color scheme.

(READ MORE on “How To Select Your Color Scheme”)

Determine your Colorscheme

Step 8 – Begin Thinking About Paint Colors:

Paint colors are usually finalized last, unless you started with an ideal color, and began your overall color scheme and design there. Otherwise, you may begin looking for that perfect paint color by pulling paint chips in order to help establish or tie in an existing color scheme.

Sometimes the exact paint tone can be altered later in order to coordinate it to the exact tone of your upholstery fabrics or floor tile. For instance, once you find the perfect fabric, you can’t easily alter the color of it, but you can easily alter the tone of paint.

Paint selection BLOG

(READ MORE on “How to Select a Paint Color”)

Step 9 – Design Your Window Treatments:

Next layer – design your window treatments – they usually finish and tie in the entire design hiding all the imperfections of a room, whether architectural or otherwise. Window treatments often add to the overall silhouette of the design. To do this you must consider how the window treatment design will complement the room by choosing the ideal style, fabrics and hardware.

This requires looking at ALL of the elements above before making this choice. Most importantly, make sure you check your drapery fabrics against the wall color, not only the furniture and fabrics.

(READ MORE, “Details on How To Design Window Treatments”)
Window treatments photo –> (?)

Step 10 – Choose Your Lighting:

Choosing Your Lighting is an important step and is based on the overall design and layout. You will need to consider lighting for general use, specific tasks, accent and art lighting for overall ambiance. You may even want to add lighting to emphasize art or an area that is your focal point.

(READ MORE on “General, Task, and Ambiance Lighting”)

Step 11 – Finalize Your Paint Color:

Finalize the paint color – Now, once all of the selections have been determined, revisit and finalize the right shade of paint (this is an entirely separate subject). Make sure you test the color with your drapery fabric, rug, upholstery, wood tones, tile, trim color and other elements in the room. If you have done a good job up to this point, all should coordinate well.

Another paint evaluation photo –> (?)

Step 12 – Order Furniture:

Once you have made all of your selections you are now ready to order. If you need to adjust something, now is the time, before you place the order. Once you have evaluated that the design is cohesive, and no further adjustments need to be made, you should order all the main furnishings and add necessary details such as finishes, contrast welts, pillows and other tie-in elements.

Purchase Order –> (?)

Step 13 – Accessorize:

Now that the furnishings have been ordered, your room has a good structure; however, it still needs some finishing touches!

The final step – adding the accessory layers: mirrors, lamps, greenery, art, and accessories will be the next stage (unless you have existing art and accessories you have included in your plan).

This is the most important and difficult stage to consider, because the right accessories will make the room come together creating that ambiance you desired to have in the beginning.

Scale and proportion is still very important when considering accessories, art and lamps. When adding in these final pieces, it’s important to include subtle repetition of the already added elements, such as repeating a certain color or shape. This repetition shouldn’t stand out too much, but having this slight reiteration can really help create that “wow” effect.

(READ MORE on “Selecting Art and Accessories”)

Voi-la! You’re done!!!

As I’m sure you can tell interior design is quite a complex process. Sometimes it’s perceived as “just picking a few fabrics and some paint colors” but there are many different layers that go into creating a whole design. I only scratched the surface about what goes into designing a room.

Many other factors have to be decided on when designing such as, custom cabinetry, faux finishes, custom floor inlays, and ceiling details. These background elements are necessary details needed to achieve the custom interiors look you are going for.

If you are looking for more information on how to create your dream room, please visit our portfolio or give me a call at (239) 437-1000.

Wishing you a creative journey to discover your designers’ potential all while creating your dream space!

(READ MORE, “I Need a Designers Help”)