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Interior Design Tips: A Beginner's Guide to Interior Design

If you’ve never taken on an interior design project, taking full control over one and being your own interior designer may sound like an overwhelming task. Following the interior design tips from our beginner’s guide to interior design will help you be well on your way to designing a space you’ve always dreamed of, even if it’s your first time.

Empty white room with wood flooring and wooden door

You are your own client

As a beginner to the interior design process, you have to put yourself in the right mindset and ask yourself the right questions. An important interior design tip to remember is that you don’t have to be a licensed interior designer to think like one. When you first approach designing a space, it’s essential that you don’t start painting, moving things around, or bringing in new furniture before assessing your goals for the room. Typically, an interior designer would ask their clients a substantial amount of questions to fully grasp the client’s needs and the overall goal of the room prior to designing anything. Therefore, it’s crucial to treat yourself as the interior designer as well as the client and ask yourself what you want your space to do for you and how you want it to make you feel.

A great way to gather this information is to sit in the space you will be designing and envision what you hope the room will become. What will the room function as? How can you best use the space in terms of furniture and decor placement? What should be included for you to feel comfortable? Creating and jotting down a vision for your room by considering your needs, items that you already own and want to place in the room, and the opinions of those who will be sharing the space with you can make the process simpler. After you’ve gathered ideas of your desired end result, it’s helpful to take those notes and create a realistic budget to work with throughout the entire interior design process.

Painting and drawing supplies laid out on a white table with a hand holding a pencil over a notebook

Start designing

Now that you’ve curated a list of aspirations for your space, the fun part of designing begins. Not sure where to get started? Sometimes visiting your past likes from social platforms like Instagram or Pinterest can help you narrow down certain styles, colors, and overall designs you already love. As you’re browsing through home design websites and such, it’s helpful to have a sketchbook available to sketch designs and write down your ideas. Additionally, you can combine these ideas and create a mood board.

It’s extremely helpful to be able to visualize your ideas in actuality before deciding if everything fits well together. With the free DecorMatters app, you can make your mood boards come to life by designing your space with scalable 3D furniture and decor that can conveniently be purchased in your favorite stores. A useful interior design tip for those on a tighter budget is to design your dream space from the start, which can include items that are out of budget because afterward, you can find affordable alternatives that look similar to what you liked or easy DIY projects for a fraction of the price. If you’ve fallen in love with a piece of furniture that you must have, you can make the decision if it’s worth splurging on and adjust your budget for other items on your list that can be scaled down.

Large living room design with three bookshelves, deep teal and gold furniture, and pink and blue curtains and accents

Take a risk and step out of your comfort zone

Interior designers provide a different creative perspective and an open mind to decorating that not everybody may possess or act upon. As your own client, an interior design tip is to drive yourself to push the boundaries of your style and mix elements of design that are out of your comfort zone like an interior designer would do for you. Sticking completely to one design aesthetic through every element in a room can potentially lead to one dimensional or boring spaces. Playing around with juxtaposition and taking a risk that you’re unsure of can result in a better design than you predicted. If you find a bold bed frame, dramatic tall curtains, or a colorful sofa that you would’ve never thought of purchasing, try incorporating them into your space and you might be surprised with how nicely it blends into your space and the unique touch it adds.

Large bedroom with natural wooden bed frame, hanging clothes on a rolling hanger, and a small desk area

Start with the larger tasks before the little details

The larger tasks, such as painting walls and installing flooring, may feel like the more tedious ones that you gravitate least toward, but an interior design tip that beginners and licensed interior designers would agree on is that it’s best to start with the largest projects first. The tasks that are most time-intensive and expensive are the best ones to get out of the way in the beginning because these larger factors set the tone for the entirety of a room. Tackling the larger projects first also gives you something to look forward to instead of dreading them after you’ve finished the less time-consuming tasks.

The last step of our beginner’s guide to interior design and one of the most productive interior design tips is to wait to choose accessories and add other small details at the very end of your interior design. It may be fun and tempting to shop for accessories throughout the design process, but that also leaves plenty of room for you to spend a significant part of your budget on non-necessities that may not have the space or style to fit well into your room later on. Besides, once the foundation of the room is set with wall colors, flooring, and furniture, it will be easier to decide on accessories and other small details that complete a room.

With these interior design tips from our beginner’s guide to interior design, thinking like a designer and starting a new project on your own doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or intimidating experience. If you take the time to plan out all the imperative factors of an interior design project, such as a budget and timeframe, the interior design process will be a more enjoyable and smooth process.

A wooden desk and a wooden desk chair in a white interior design room behind text that reads Follow Our Guide, Design Now.


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