UncategorizedHow to Design a Room – without losing your marbles

October 31, 2020by cheree2

To my surprise, after my last post on our Top 5 Renovating Mistakes, I have been fielding all kinds of design questions. It was thrilling to see how much our journey resonated with you all because frankly, I had doubts about sharing our lowest of low design moments. My friend said in passing that it was helpful to learn about our blunders because you don’t often see that kind of honesty in social media. From your comments, it got me thinking again, on what content might be useful to a home renovator? So this month, I am lifting the lid or the proverbial curtain on how I go about my design process?

1. Function, Mood Harmony

As some of you know, I recently graduated with an Interior Diploma from NYIAD. In every unit, they drilled into us the 3 Design Principals. If I grow old and forget my name, I shall not forget these three golden rules. They are 1. Function. 2 Mood. 3 Harmony. To break this down for you I am going to use the re-design of our unrenovated bedroom as an example.

Before Renovation


What is the purpose of this room and what are all the intended activities will you be doing here? Obviously, we use this bedroom for sleeping, but there are many other secondary activities that go on in this room. I like to read before I hit the sack, so good overhead lighting is crucial. Much to my detest, Paul likes to watch t.v before he drifts off, therefore, we have to find a suitable and camouflaged place for his screen. We also use this room for storing our clothes, books and blankets.


Mood refers to what kind of ambience or feelings do I want to create in this room. Simply put how do I want to feel when I leap onto the bed at the end of the night? Paul and I want to retreat into our peaceful cocoon, it needs to feel warm, cosy, and have a touch of traditional charm.


All the elements in the room must work together in unison. The scale, colour, mood and quality of furniture are important to create a sense of flow in the room. For extreme example putting a single bed or a super king bed in our bedroom would be completely out of scale to the size of the room. The colours in the room must be calm to hit the tranquil mood, therefore bold and bright colours are out here. Typically, our design style is traditional so ultra-modern pieces would look out of place in this room. Although it is ok to mix period styles, it just has to be comparable to the mood you want to create. Lastly, if you were wanting to create a high-end luxury room with modern or antique pieces, then you probably would not be shopping at The Warehouse. The quality of the pieces you choose will have an impact on the overall harmony of this room.

2. Budget

For the least fun part now is the time to assess how much money you have to redesign the room. Always allow some wiggle room for any unanticipated problems. Here is a sample budget plan, I did for our bedroom.

3. Take Measurements and sketch it up

Next measure up the room either using a tape measure or a laser measurer. For someone with a numbers phobia measuring with a digital laser has been a game-changer.

Once you have the numbers either draw it up on a piece of blank paper, grid paper or if you are skilled enough create a floor plan using design software programmes. We use Home Design Suite and from memory, we purchased the programme for $99 US. The beauty of using a digital programme is the ability to see clearly how all your furniture and accessories are going to fit. If you are serious about interior design or home renovation, this tool is priceless!

Our Bedroom Measurements

But pen, paper and a ruler is really all you need…


4. Pinterest or Magazines

Next, create a pinboard on Pinterest or collect room pictures from your favourite magazine. Identify what you love the most from these pictures and cull down to your top five images. Also, having subcategories such as dressers, lighting and wall art will help you with the following point.

5. Create a mood board

Piece together your room from your top images using Canva, PowerPoint or my favourite is Key Note on the Mac. Again, if you are not too savvy on the computer, paper, scissors and glue is all you need.

6. Go Shopping

Hitting the shops with my credit card usually starts off with a giddy high and then I realise that I can’t find anything on my mood board because most of it is American products, so now I tend to do most of my shopping online. Some of my favourite online stores are: Lighting – Mr Ralph, Furniture – Corcovado , Rugs – Richard Pointon , Wall Art – Artfully Walls


Remember when choosing accessories, furniture or any other pieces for the room does it hit the three golden rules: Functionality – does this serve the intended purpose of the room, Mood – does this piece honour the feeling I want to create in this room, Harmony – will this item work in flow with all the other elements in the room?

Here I am shopping for our kitchen accessories at Melbourne Ikea with Mum, last January. Looking back, I am so happy we decided to fly off to Melbourne at this time because not only did I get to visit one of my favourite stores, but I also spent time with my brother & his partner before the world shut down. Who knew how special that holiday would be.

Until next time….



  • Val Sullivan

    November 4, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Cheree this is very good reading and you have put a lot of thought into the post! Looking forward to seeing your next project!

    • cheree

      November 6, 2020 at 9:36 am

      Thank you Val for that encouraging feedback!

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