How to put together an interior design concept

One of the most significant challenges when starting a new interior project is getting the concept right. But where do you even start?! Use this handy step-by-step guide to put together a concept that looks good and works for your budget – without breaking a sweat!

Lets first look at what a concept is and why you need one.

An interior concept is the thought process or plan behind a room. Designers don’t just walk into a room and start throwing things around without a plan. There’s always something behind the look, and that is where your concept comes in.

A concept can be

a) a theme – tropical, ocean, stripes and florals

b) a look – vintage, period, midcentury, French, English cottage, minimalist, Scandinavian

c) a mood – laid-back, romantic, formal, playful

It could even be a combination of things, like a laid-back tropical vibe with mid-century touches 😉

Your concept will become your guide; it will help to create a cohesive design that works. You can of course also have a concept for your entire home, although I’ve never been able to stick to 1 thing throughout.

4 STEPS TO CREATING AN INTERIOR DESIGN CONCEPT

#1// What do you want?

Easier asked than answered, the first thing you have to determine is what you need the space to be. If it is a living room for example, how many seats do you need? What are your storage requirements? Are there any specific tasks or activities in the room like reading or gaming or movie night? Do you need a small coffee table or a large one? Do you need side tables and lamps? Whether you need new things or are reusing existing ones, list everything so that you can get a clear overview of the items required in the room.

#2// Be Inspired

Pinterest is a fantastic tool for grouping images. Don’t think about it too much, just pin anything that you like and pretty soon you’ll start to see a theme forming. Here’s my Pinterest board for a playroom that I’m the process of doing. I want to bring a travel vibe into the room, so I did a search for “travel inspired kids rooms” and started to pin away! The images gave me a great idea to do an oversized map on the wall and to use our old international currency as wall art. Love the globe-ideas too.

 

#3// Put things where you can see them together on a mood board.

Now that you have a few ideas it’s time to build a mood board. A mood board is a great way to get a visual of what a room will look like.  It doesn’t necessarily contain the actual items that you’re going to use, but it represents the look and feel of what you’re going to create. If you have things that you want to include, like an heirloom rug or vintage sofa, take pictures of it and include it on your board. You can also find images of new items that you like. Here’s a mood board that I put together for the playroom. Some things are existing, and others are ideas for new things that I think could work. You can either do it old-school with actual images and card stock or a pin board, or you can create a virtual one with an app like Roomstyler or software like Photoshop.

The great thing about using a mood board is that you will be able to start getting an idea of what the room will look like. Even if it’s not the actual items, at least you’ll see colours, textures, and combinations. You’ll also quickly see what is NOT going to work, so don’t skip this step! The other advantage is that you can source an image as inspiration from anywhere, even if you can’t afford it, and then look for something similar that fits into your budget. Save the image on your phone or take a picture of your mood board so that you can carry a copy with you and use for reference.

#4// THEN, start putting together the actual items.

The mood board serves as a roadmap for the design while a layout gives you guidelines for sizes and shapes of items. Whenever you want to buy something, put it next to the mood board and see if it’s going to work with the concept that you’ve created.

But before you buy anything, you’ll need to create a layout! A layout is essential as it will show you what you will be able to achieve in the space, without having to move heavy and bulky furniture items around. I’ll cover layout in a follow-up post, so make sure that you subscribe so you don’t miss it.

My playroom makeover is a project that I’ve been working on for a while, so I am really excited to share the big reveal with you in the coming weeks. I hope that this post has given you some insight into how designers do it and that you will start to build your home’s concepts with creative confidence.

Happy conceptualising!

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