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Preliminary guide to designing your home (DIY)

“Where do I start from?” has always been a primary concern for a person with no knowledge of designing interior spaces. However, it is understandable that not everyone can hire an architect or an interior designer for their house or workspace. Hence, here is a hands-on list that lets you explore your mind and design your own space. It guides you through the process and steps of designing so you can bring your ideas to life.

This guide also highlights what one can expect from DIY interiors; its scope and limitations. Furthermore, it enumerates various types of interiors, for providing you with a jump-start on your Interior-Design planning.

Introduction


Do it yourself (DIY) culture has been around for quite some time now. For some, it may be due to their genuine interest in designing their own space whereas for some it may be their only option. Whichever it is, everyone has the right to make the most of what they can.

For someone who hasn’t studied design and designing strategies, the most difficult part is to understand the process and work that goes into designing your own space. Material selections, color, lightings, furniture, etc. are a few out of many aspects to consider when designing your own space. These innumerable categories that have to be considered might leave one in a pickle. Hence, it is always advisable to have a “plan of action” and basic knowledge of the journey you’re about to embark on.



What to expect from DIY interiors:


The complexity of planning your own interiors can be overwhelming. Hence, before you begin working on your project, you should know the scope and limitations of your project. Today, we have abundant information available at our fingertips leading to unrealistic expectations. It is important to realize that some works are better done by professionals and doing it yourself might pose a serious risk. For eg- you can pick out your own furniture and lights, but making changes in electrical lines or plumbing is not recommended. You should realize that it can get messy and requires tremendous effort from your end. It is advisable to do thorough research before starting your project, not just on the internet but also by personally talking to someone who has done a similar project recently. Make sure to enjoy the process. There is no right or wrong. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve, setting a budget, hiring skilled workers, and starting small i.e taking one step at a time can go a long way.


'Do it Yourself' guide

The steps mentioned below will help you execute your ideas in a strategic manner.


1) Make a mood board


With access to the internet, this has to be one of the easiest and most interesting steps. A mood board helps you visualize your ideas. It helps you find a style that suits you best. It is an arrangement of images, concepts, and ideas that help you decide on a particular style. It visually presents what is on your mind.

So, how to make a mood board?


Pinup pictures of the kind of interior you would like to have, of different pictures of furniture, spaces, textures, curtains, home décor items, and color combinations that express your intent well. There is no limit to how many pictures you can have. Let your mood board do the talking for you. Decide the vibe your house is supposed to give, should it look vibrant and colorful or would you prefer one dominant color? Do you want a modern or an ancient theme? Do you want it to be ornamental or minimalistic? It is better to decide on these aspects before moving forward with your project. You can also make a digital mood board using various software and websites such as adobe spark, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, milanote.com, etc. The Internet and interior magazines are full of various color schemes and interior ideas you can get inspired by.

2) Make a brief


It is important to understand the requirements of the space you are about to design. So, what is a brief? A brief should define the scope of work. It should talk about the requirements of each room whilst considering the functionality of each room. Make a list of furniture and the ‘kind of spaces’ you want in each room. For eg: The master bedroom might need a bed, a cupboard, a study/work table (furniture), and an informal seating space or a rocking chair with a tiny coffee table next to the window with a view (kind of space). Make a brief and see how you can incorporate your mood board themes into these rooms. You can also use predesigned checklists available online on audreynoakes.com, refreshrenovations.co.nz, taskrabbit.com, alisongieseinteriors.com, pintrest.com, etc.



3) Fix a budget


Once you know what you want and how you want it (Considering your brief and mood board) do thorough research of the prices of various items/materials that you are considering to use or buy. Now, set up a budget for each work by prioritizing what is most important to you. Do not overspend on unnecessary items and end up compromising on factors that are much more important. This is why you should always divide your total budget into categories after completing your online & offline research. This will give you an overall idea of your expenditure before you begin designing.

Now that you have a basic idea of what you want, you can begin the design procedure.


4) Decide your furniture layout


Now that you already have a brief, decide your furniture layout, one room at a time. Your brief tells you ‘what you want’ and now you have to decide where you want it. You have to come up with a floor plan. In case you want to take down walls or make similar massive changes you should do it now and decide your furniture layout accordingly. Make sure to use your whole room and have ample circulation space. If you have time and are willing to take it a step forward, you can use various software or online platforms such as SketchUp, Floorplanner.com, planyourroom.com, etc. which are easy to use and lets you design and visualize your floor plan.


5) Prioritize and pick a color scheme


The first step is to prioritize. Do you already have specific furniture in mind and want the walls to complement your furniture, or is it vice versa? Or do you want specific flooring and everything else to go with it? Decide, and then finalize the color scheme. The color scheme is one of the most important aspects of interior designing as it decides the “mood” or “vibe” of your house. This is where your mood board comes to play. Referring to your mood board you will have a fair idea of the colors you want to use in your house. Decide the colors for your furniture and walls so the selection becomes a tad easier. It is advisable to use 3 colors and to try out a patch of paint on your wall before finalizing it. This step can go hand in hand with the next step i.e selection of materials, furniture, etc.


6) Selection of materials, furniture, and lighting


Once you know the colors you want to use it’s now time to start selecting materials and furniture. In the above step, you have decided your priorities. Select materials and furniture accordingly and do not be afraid to be bold. It is okay to throw in different styles and to mix and match as long as you love it; there is no hard and fast rule. Your only aim should be to find the balance. For eg- if you have a small room, do not fill it up with plenty of storage furniture but instead buy multipurpose furniture with storage.


The selection of flooring can be a difficult task. Make sure to use appropriate flooring considering the functionality of your room; don’t be afraid to use textures on walls. Most people who do their own interiors end up adding more lighting fixtures than necessary. Do not overdo it and make sure the room has enough natural lighting as well. Using concealed lights to highlight certain walls or spaces enhances the ambiance of your house. You can use various lightings such as under-cabinet lights, Task lights, and Recessed lightings to give your house a finished look.


Online websites such as indiamart.com, cgtrader.com, architonic.com, zingyhomes.com can provide you with essential details for various interior materials, lightings and their prices.