How to Approach an Interior Design Project

Very cool transformation courtesy of Design*Sponge.  Amazing as always.

Interior Design is one of those areas which can strike the fear of god into a person, it sounds so complicated, where do you start?

Creating a beautiful, comfortable space that makes the best of what a home initially offers and improving on those not-so-good areas like poor natural lighting or strange room layout that many homes have but few people know what to do with;  this is what interior design is about.

Things to consider:

  • The space: size, lighting, shape.
  • The budget.
  • Colour.
Attic, Green, Mood Board

The best place to start is with a “mood board”. This is basically a collection of ideas which you like. You can either find images/ideas in magazines and  cut them out to assemble on a piece of card, or you can use an online mood board. The best ones I’ve come across are Houzz and Pinterest, I’ve created mood boards on both sites for my project creating an office/therapy space and you can access them by clicking on the relevant name to see what I’ve created.

Both sites are very easy to use and have the option of downloading a “bookmarklet” to your browser bar. This means that when you are searching the web, you can click the button and add any image you like to your boards/ideabooks.

Once you have assembled your ideas, you are ready to start designing your room. A professional interior designer will make a scale drawing of the space, both of the floor plan and elevations (walls). This is not necessary for a basic design, but if you are attempting a radical redesign, or even a rebuild, then you might want to make some drawings. This can save you time and money as mistakes can be made on paper, plus any contractors will know exactly what they are quoting for.

I have written 2 posts on this very subject, so if you want to take this step read “How to draw a room plan to scale” and “How to produce elevation drawings”. These posts will show you how to produce professional quality drawings, good enough to apply for planning permission, if necessary, and certainly good enough for building control. Of course there are also online tools which you can use, urban barn has a great room plan facility. Ikea also has some really good online and downloadable apps for seeing your new room and planning where your furniture will go. Another option is Google’s sketchup, a free app which allows you to draw a 3D mockup of your room.

Buck ONeill 01 Buck ONeill Builders Office   a stylish office from U.S. designers

Depending on the size of your project, you may need to find a contractor such as a decorator, plumber, joiner etc. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of interior design, even for professionals! Word of mouth and personal recommendation is by far the easiest (and often the most reliable) way to find a good contractor. Failing this, there are websites such as who provide a recommendation/feedback service which is quite useful. I would always suggest you get several quotes and ask for details of previous work carried out.

Of course, you could always undertake the work yourself, sometimes it’s the best way to get a good result and there are plenty of courses around to train yourself in many different trades, try your local paper, adult college or the BTC website.

Paint colors from Chip It! by Sherwin-Williams

Finally, part of your project will involve shopping for paint, paper, furniture etc. This is my favourite part! Some people hate shopping, though, so to make life easier, use the internet. There are plenty of shopping comparison sites available to compare items such as pricerunner, moneysupermarket, moneysavingexpertEbay and Amazon are also worth checking out for comparisons of products, there are many shops who sell on these sites including some big names. Often, I find the best way to achieve the look I want on a budget, is to visit a store such as John Lewis to “see” items and then shop around for the best buy. Of course, John Lewis have a “price match” guarantee, so bear that in mind too!

Happy Designing! If you want any more help or ideas, please do not hesitate to get in touch, I’m here and happy to help!

"Interior design is making the best possible use of the available space." #Quote #InteriorDesign


My name is Caroline Sutton and I'm a wife and mother of 3 children, passionate about food, keeping me and my family healthy, gorgeous interiors and shopping! I have a degree in Biochemistry and Pharmacology and continue to be interested in the science behind diet and drugs. I also have a Diploma and City and Guilds in Interior Design and for the last 17 years have run a property company which develops, redevelops and manages rental properties: Sunlight Properties Ltd.

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