Celebrity designers make it look easy, but redesigning a room is anything but. There’s a lot to consider before you get to the fun stuff, from the architecture of your space to the feeling you want it to provoke. Starting with a Pinterest mood board can help, but scrolling through the millions of results that “living room inspo” pulls up is more than overwhelming.
So if you’ve ever decorated a space based on your favorite color only to realize purple everywhere isn’t exactly the vibe you were hoping for, or if you’ve ever bought a fabulous new piece of furniture only to hate it the second it hits the floor, this blog post is for you. And if you take away anything from it, take this: Before diving into redesigning a room, first ask yourself, how do I want this room to make me feel? Any style can provoke any feeling with the right color palette and lighting. Setting your intention for the room upfront will help to guarantee your desired warm and inviting (or functional and focused or luxurious and stately) feeling once you’re finished.
Read on for 6 things to consider when redesigning a room so you can arrive at that desired feeling in style.
1) Remember who lives there and who visits
First things first, remember who lives in your home. If you have young kiddos running around, that glass end table with sharp corners that you love so much may not be the most appropriate piece for your space. If you have pets, a light-colored sofa isn’t going to make it a year without needing to be professionally cleaned or flat out replaced. And if you have kids and pets, stay away from the shaggy Moroccan rugs that are popular, unless you want to still be finding toddler cheerios when your kid is in first grade.
Keep guests in mind as well. If you’re redesigning your guest bedroom that your elderly mother-in-law will be using from time to time, adding a super low bed frame is going to immediately eliminate the functionality of the space.
Your space needs to be functional for your needs as well as the needs of those who will be using it. If you choose form over function, you may be stuck with a room that no longer serves a purpose and therefore sits empty and unused. Fortunately, there’s plenty of home décor and furniture out there that doesn’t sacrifice style for function, like our smart-locking pieces that keep curious hands out of your stash while still offering functionality to your space.
2) Pay attention to lighting
The light in your space has a huge role in the overall mood and feeling of the room. Before you dive into colors and design, take note of how much light is currently available in your space. Is there a lot of natural light? Is there anything overhead? Do you need to tone it down or brighten it up to reach that desired feeling?
Designers often break lighting into four categories:
- Ambient lighting acts almost like your “sun” at night. It’s your general illumination, like overhead dimmers or up lighting to give the room a soft glow, and it’s easy to layer onto.
- Task lighting is just as it sounds—it’s there to serve a task, like a reading lamp in a nook or under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen.
- Accent lighting is how you create depth in your space. Consider track lighting for artwork or recessed lighting over a built-in.
- Decorative lighting doesn’t necessarily need a function, it can just be something pretty to look at like a cool lamp or sparkly chandelier.
The role of the room will determine how much of each type of lighting you use in the space. One important thing to consider before determining your lighting goals and intentions—where are the outlets located and/or do I have the budget or ability to add one? Wanting this lamp in this corner could prove challenging (and potentially dangerous) if you have to run the cord for it across the room.
3) Measure the space
This might be obvious, but because it’s the boring part of redesigning a room, it’s often overlooked. Measure the space before considering adding or changing anything. Measuring informs you of your limitations and your opportunities.
Packing too much into a space makes it feel claustrophobic. But too little, and it feels unfinished. Taking measurements allows you to create a cohesive, complete feeling, whether that feeling is intended to be energizing and inviting or cozy and intimate.
Nobody’s ever felt comfortable in a small condo or apartment loaded with oversized furniture.
4) Consider color at all times of day
Color makes or breaks a space, and we’re not just talking about the color on the walls. We’re talking about all color involved—the fabric on the furniture, pillows, rugs, lampshades. All of it. When you’re deciding on a color palette, keep the colors in the rest of your house in mind so you can create a cohesive look. It can help to carry your paint chips and swatches with you in your bag so if you come across something randomly you don’t have to guess about whether or not it will work.
One cool thing about color—you can pretty much mix all types of styles together so long as the color palette is consistent throughout. The more color and contrast you include, the more energized the room will feel, and vice versa. The most important thing to keep in mind is, again, the lighting. Take a look at your palette in all kinds of light and at all times of the day. Those brightly colored curtains you love will have a totally different feel at 12 pm than they will at 12 am.
5) Texture is necessary
Texture dictates the weight of a room which influences its overall feel. There’s visual texture, like immediately noticing the grain in hardwood floors or overhead beams. There’s also tactile texture, like the plushness of a pillow or the fur on a sheepskin rug.
For texture, it’s best to start from the ground up. Are you leaving the floors exposed or adding an area rug? Is the furniture fabric, metal, or leather? (Or all three!) That intention of feeling you set at the beginning of redesigning the space can help to determine the amount and type of texture to include. If you’re going for a warm, intimate space, raw or industrial metal tones may be something you want to leave out. If, however, you’re designing an office meant for productivity, a metal desk may be the exact vibe you need.
6) Pick the Right Furniture
With the intention and tone of the room set, you can get into the fun part—shopping for furniture. Style, color, and texture are still important details to keep in mind here, but the most important thing to consider is usage, especially if you’re working in a smaller room or one that serves multiple purposes.
You know you’re working with finite space, so why not make the most of it? Consider everything you can get out of both the space and your furniture. For example, if you have room for a sofa in your office, maybe make it one that converts into a bed so your office can double as a guest bedroom if need be.
Or if you have children in the house but also enjoy lighting up and winding down once they’re in bed, our smart-locking Evelyn coffee table could be the perfect addition to your living room. With one unlocked drawer for remotes and other necessities and one locked drawer (that can only be opened with your smartphone) for your stash, it’s a functional and stylish piece that works for everyone in the family. (Plus, if you have company coming over and not a lot of time to clean up, that locked drawer is a great place to quickly put the magazines, errant crayons, and Legos piled on top of your table so they’re out of sight.)
There’s a lot more to redesigning a room than designers and design shows let on, but it’s totally doable if you go in with the right intention and strategy. Determining the feeling you want the room to provoke will make the decision-making process a whole lot easier, especially when it comes to color, lighting, and texture.
When you finally get to the point of choosing furniture and décor, always keep functionality in mind. Shopping pieces like our smart-locking storage (and anything else you might need secured) furniture will give your room both style and purpose. Martha Stewart would be proud!