Interior Design for the DIYer

If you have the budget, hiring a professional interior designer is an ideal way to achieve an interior design that integrates your personal tastes with the savvy know-how of a professional. However, there are times where the budget doesn’t allow for a professional’s assistance, or when you just want to tackle an interior design project on your own. There are plenty of online resources for DIY interior design inspiration, tips, and tricks. In the meantime, here are some pointers for the beginning DIY interior designer to enhance any living space.


Define your goals. What are your goals for your upcoming DIY interior design project? Are you changing a single room or tackling the whole house? Are you going all out, replacing carpet, window treatments, and furniture? Or, are you simply rearranging and sprucing things up for a refreshed look? What do you have on hand and what things do you need to acquire for the project? This can help you to create a schedule, boundaries, your budget, and a list of things to do.

What’s your style? Unless you are going for an eclectic or bohemian approach, in which case virtually anything goes, you may want to sit down and think about your style. Do you prefer bold colors, clean lines, and metallic finishes? If so, you are a modernist. Is your ideal home a Cape Cod cottage, decorated with heirloom antiques or French country accents? If so, you are a traditionalist. Are you someone who enjoys a nice modern leather couch and stainless steel appliances, but also loves to display homemade quilts and your few, high-quality antiques? That means you are a fan of transitional designs, blending the best of modern and traditional motifs. Within these three basic ideas, there are infinite other design styles that have ebbed and flowed throughout the ages.

Understand the color wheel. The colors you select for your walls, furnishings, and accents play a huge role in the energy, mood, and even a feeling of spaciousness. For example, light colors and cool colors tend to make a room feel larger and more spacious than it is. Darker or warmer colors will pull elements in a room together. Get familiar with the color wheel, and the relationships between various colors, to create a room that is harmonious and creates the energy you desire.

  • Complementary colors. These colors are directly opposite one another on the wheel. They are sort of the color equivalent of “opposites attract.” They may not seem to have much in common, but when placed together, they bring out the best in one another and create visual stimulation.
  • Harmonious colors. These colors sit between the primary colors, and have a soothing or harmonious effect.

What is your light availability? Lighting is a critical part of DIY interior design because it has a major effect on how your colors relate to one another and whether or not a room appears open or closed in. Windows are the most obvious source of light, and you will want to take the view outside of your windows into consideration as well. This is especially true if your view is one you are happy with. You can use the outside landscape as a part of your color scheme and patterning. Understanding how light plays around in your space (or how it doesn’t!) can help you create an attractive interior lighting design.

Once you have these DIY interior design basics down, you will be ready to decorate your space like a true professional. Who knows? You could be embarking on a whole new career.



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