Decorate Like an Interior Designer

Stuck with how to start decorating a room? Interior designer and author of the Dear Designer blog Carole King inspires us to tackle it like a professional.

design like an interior designer carole king

Decorating can sometimes be daunting. Blank canvases that need to be filled can often result in an annoying agony of indecision. There is so much inspiration available on the TV, in magazines and on the internet that it can be hard to know exactly where to start or what exactly needs to be achieved. So it could help to look at the venture from the eyes of an interior designer.

An interior designer knows that our homes have to work for us. Space is always at a premium, and there’s no point in designing a stunning room if the furniture layout is awkward or the lamp sockets are in the wrong place.

Our homes should satisfy us on an emotional level too. When asked, most people say they want their homes to be calming and relaxing. A place to unwind after a busy day.

And last but not least, our homes are where we like to be with our loved ones and entertain friends and family. They should be beautiful yes, but they should also reflect the personality of the owners.

So whether you’re just starting out in your first new home, you’re moving house and want to re-evaluate your style, or you’re just giving the living room a new look, there are certain steps that professional designers use to help them along the way.


FINDING Inspiration


It’s never been easier to find inspiration for decorating our homes. Once upon a time we would buy a stack of magazines and hope that we’d find something to inspire us inbetween the pages. Nowadays we just have to look on the internet and the world is our oyster, as long as we know the right words to put into the search engine.

So whether we like ‘Scandinavian Cool’ or ‘Californian Bohemian’ or even ‘Hot and Tropical’ we can find a wealth of images to help us hone our own style. Pinterest is a great tool for collating these images too, as you can create folders for every room in the house, or folders for every style you are considering. I usually create a folder of things I need to buy too. You can pin images straight from websites and you have an instant reminder of where it’s from.

Instagram keeps it more real. You can follow users who have a similar style to you, and if you need to know where they bought that lamp, just ask them.


Planning a Layout

design like an interior designer layout

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of this stage. Not only does it help with ordering the right size of furniture, but it helps to work out how to place that furniture.

There are free tools on the internet to help with this but you don’t need anything more fancy than graph paper, a ruler and a pencil. Measure out the dimensions of the room, mark on the plan where the doors, windows and immoveable objects are, and you will immediately see the obvious position for the large pieces of furniture.

The next step is to cut out templates of any possible furniture to scale, place them on the plan and move them about until you are happy with the layout.


Creating a Moodboard

design like an interior designer moodboard

This is also a major stage of the process. It can also be done electronically but then you don’t get a feel for the textures.

It’s always worth putting in the effort of ordering samples of fabrics, flooring and paints to create a real board. Add to it any inspiration images you’ve collected (not too many, you don’t want to copy someone else’s style) plus pictures of furniture and accessories you have your eye on. Take a photograph of the board to take shopping with you. It will stop you veering off of your concept and impulse buying. If the colour isn’t on the board, don’t buy it.


Collating a Furniture Board

Design Like an Interior Designer - by Dear Designer's Blog (10)

Once you have decided which pieces of furniture you already have, and which you need to buy, it’s a good idea to put together an electronic inspiration board to make sure it all goes together.

You can add in lamps, artwork, cushions, plants, in fact anything that will be going into the room, just to make sure it all works together. By this stage you will have a pretty good idea in your minds eye how it will all look but it always pays to make sure. A good free tool for this is Canva and it’s one I use all the time. Upload all the images of everything you have chosen, choose a template (the presentations one is ideal) and play around with the board until you are happy with it.

Next step? Call in the decorators or of course, DIY.