Welcome to part 2 of our 3 part series on how to create a room you love. This week’s post is on designing your room makeover. This is probably the most “technical” part of the room makeover process since it involves drawing a floor plan…but it really isn’t as hard as it seems once you try it. And it really helps to avoid a lot of issues since you will know exactly what will fit in your room and where it should go.
Before you can complete this week’s exercises, you must have done the planning from Part 1 of this room makeover series. If you missed that part, you will need to complete those steps first.
Once you have completed these designing steps, you’ll want to move on to part 3 of the Create A Room You Love series…decorating.
Continue reading to learn the steps required for designing your room makeover.
Figure Out What You Need In The Room
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This step will help you make sure that you have remembered to include everything you need in the room.
You will need your notes from Part 1 (the planning phase) of this room makeover process. If you haven’t completed part 1, you will need to do that first…
Go through the functional needs list that you created and identify all of the furniture that is required to fulfill those functions. If you said you wanted to watch TV, then you might probably need a television, a sofa (or somewhere else to sit), an ottoman to put your feet up on and a table to place a drink. If you said you want the kids to be able to do their homework, you’ll probably need chairs, a work surface, lighting, electrical outlets for their laptops and storage for paper and pens. You get the idea.
What Stays and What Goes?
Now you want to compare this list of functional requirements to the list of what you have in the room (from part 1).
Create a new list which will be all of the things that you are going to include in your new room. You’ll want to cover all of the functional requirements…if you don’t currently have a piece of furniture in the room that you need, keep track of that, too…you’ll need to address that in a future step.
Look at your list of “likes” and “dislikes” from part 1 as well. Try to include as many “likes” as you can, and avoid as many “dislikes” as possible…if you do include a “dislike”, try to think of ways that you can change it so that you will like it better.
Make sure to include things like area rugs and other flooring changes, window treatments, light fixtures, and mouldings so that you remember to add them to your plan.
Also add in any accessories or artwork that you really want to have in the room.
By the time you are finished, you should have a pretty complete list of what will be going back in the room, what won’t be going back in the room, and what new things you will need to add.
Draw a Floor Plan
Now comes one of the major portions of the design…drawing a floor plan. This will you help you decide if you can really fit all of the chosen furniture and functions into the room, and help avoid decorating disasters!
1. First draw a rough sketch of the shape of the room…it doesn’t need to be to scale yet…this is just to keep track of the measurements. Make sure to mark where all of the windows and doors are on your sketch. If there are any built ins or fireplaces, mark those on as well.
2. Then get out your measuring tape. Start in one corner of your room. Work your way around the room always going in the same direction. Measure the length of each of the walls and write it on your sketch. Then go back around the room a second time (still going in the same direction), and measure the distances to the windows, walls, and built-ins on your sketch as well as the distance across them.
3. Now can draw yourself a to-scale drawing of the room. There are a lot of software applications (like Chief Architect Home Designer*) that will help you with this, or you can do it manually with drafting paper (that’s the paper that has squares on it instead of just lines). Each square on the paper will represent 1 foot, so if your wall is 10 feet long, your line will be 10 squares long.
4. Get the measurements for all of the furniture in your list from above. Measure the width and length of each piece of furniture that you already have. For any items that you don’t already own, use sample measurements. Either find something similar in your house that you can measure, or do a search online for something similar and use those measurements.
5. Finally you will need to add the furniture to your room plan. If you are doing your plan on paper, it’s easiest if you draw the furniture on a separate piece of drafting paper, using the same scale as the room. Then cut them out and put a label on them (so you remember what they are). For online applications, you can usually select representative pieces of furniture and enter the sizes. In both cases, use the list of furniture you came up with from above as your starting point.
Then the fun begins! Now you can move your pieces of furniture around on your plan until you find an arrangement that works. You can add and remove things to fill up or free up space as long as you are happy with the result (and it still meets your functional requirements). Also, remember your “likes” and “dislikes” lists so that you can avoid repeating the same problems with your new layout.
Pick Your Colors
The next step is to pick your color scheme.
The easiest place to start is to find a “leading fabric”. This is an area rug, piece of art, fabric swatch, or favorite piece of clothing that you can use to pull colors from. Pick 3 or 4 colors from this inspiration piece to use in your room.
Apply the 60-30-10 rule…which means selecting one color for 60% of the room, the second color for 30% of the room and the third color for 10% of the room. If you have chosen a fourth color, it will be used for accents.
Use the “look and feel” words that you chose in part 1 to help select which colors you are going to use in the room. Pick colors that make you feel like the words you chose.
If you are planning on using any custom fabric treatments (like curtains, cushions or chair covers), now is a good time to start looking for fabric that matches your colors. You don’t have to know exactly where you are going to use it yet…finding patterns and colors that go with your look are most of the battle!
Note: The paint color should be the last thing that you choose…it is much easier to match paint to a color scheme than the other way around.
Update Your Inspiration Board
With your colors chosen and floor plan done, you can now update your inspiration board to be more specific for your room. Add your fabric swatches and paint chips. Remove pictures of furniture and ideas that you are not going to use. Add any new pictures of furniture and room layouts that are similar to your design. Take a look at your inspiration board and make sure that it makes you happy!
If you have access to an image editing tool like Photoshop, you can create yourself a visual representation of the room. Create an image that uses your paint color, floor color and window treatments as the background. Then add pictures of the furniture, accessories and artwork to the screen. It won’t be an actual room layout but should give you a good idea of what they all look like together.
When you are done, your inspiration board should feel right, and you should love it! If something feels off, it probably is…so try to figure out what’s bothering you and fix it. It’s much easier to do that now, than it is after you have already started decorating.
Click here when you’re ready to move on to the third and final part of the room makeover process – making the final decisions and actually decorating the room!
Have comments or questions on how to Create A Room You Love (Part 2): Designing Your Room Makeover? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on May 23, 2016 but was updated with new content on July 7, 2023.