Mastering DIY Interior Design: A Guide to Learning the Basics on Your Own

Think Interior
7 min readJun 8, 2023

Are you eager to alter your living space but need to be more confident about hiring a professional interior designer? Don’t worry — you can become your interior design expert with the right approach and creativity. DIY interior design lets you personalize your home, express your unique style, and save money.

You can learn the basics of DIY interior design through an interior design course. Here’s a guide to help you master the basics of DIY interior design and create a space that reflects your vision and personality.

Define Your Style

Start by understanding your style and the atmosphere you want to create in your home. Browse design magazines, websites, and social media platforms for inspiration. Take note of colors, patterns, textures, and furniture styles that resonate with you. It will provide a foundation for your design journey.

Gather Inspiration

Find inspiration from various sources such as interior design magazines, websites, social media platforms like Pinterest, and even art and fashion. Save images that resonate with you and reflect your taste and preferences.

Identify Key Elements

Examine your collected images and identify common elements that stand out to you. Pay attention to colors, patterns, textures, furniture styles, and overall aesthetics. Consider whether you lean towards a more traditional, modern, minimalist, rustic, or eclectic style.

Reflect on Your Lifestyle

Consider your lifestyle and how it aligns with your design preferences. Consider how you use your legroom and what activities occur in different rooms. Determine whether you need a more practical and functional design or if you can prioritize aesthetics and decorative elements.

Develop a Design Plan

Before diving into any DIY project, create a design plan. Identify the areas you want to spotlight, set goals for each space, and establish a budget. Consider the functionality and flow of each room, as well as the mood and ambiance you want to achieve. A well-thought-out plan will keep you organized and guide your decision-making process.

Assess Your Space

Start by thoroughly assessing the space you want to design. Take measurements, note architectural features, and consider the layout and functionality of the room. Identify any limitations or challenges you may need to work around.

Set Goals

Determine your design goals and priorities. Consider what you would like to attain with the space. Are you looking to create a cozy, inviting atmosphere, maximize storage, or improve functionality? Establishing clear goals will guide your design decisions.

Establish a Budget

Determine your budget for the project. It will help you make well-versed decisions about where to allocate your funds. Consider the costs of materials, furniture, decor items, and any professional services you may need.

Learn the Fundamentals

Familiarize yourself with the basic principles of interior design. Understand concepts such as color theory, balance, proportion, and scale. Learn how to create focal points, arrange furniture, and utilize lighting effectively. Online resources, books, and tutorials can provide valuable insights into these principles and help you apply them to your DIY projects.

Color Theory

Understand the basics of color theory, including the color wheel, color harmonies, and the psychological effects of different colors. Learn how to select and combine colors effectively to create a unified and visually pleasing space.

Space Planning

Develop skills in space planning and layout. Learn how to assess a room’s dimensions and functionality and determine the optimal arrangement of furniture and accessories. Consider traffic flow, focal points, and the balance between open and enclosed spaces.

Furniture Styles and Proportions

Please familiarize yourself with different furniture styles, characteristics, and proportions. Choose furniture that fits the room’s scale and complements the overall design concept.

Experiment with Colors and Textures

Colors and textures can greatly impact the look and feel of a space. Experiment with different paint colors, wallpaper patterns, and fabric textures to create visual interest. Mix and match different elements to achieve a unique and cohesive design. Start with small projects like accent walls or updating cushions and gradually move on to larger endeavors.

Color Swatches

Collect color swatches or paint samples in various shades and hues. Create a color palette by grouping colors that harmonize or evoke a specific mood. Use these swatches to visualize how different colors interact with each other.

Color Blocking

Experiment with color-blocking techniques by painting different sections of a wall or furniture in contrasting colors. It can create a bold and eye-catching statement. Remember to consider the overall color scheme and balance when implementing color blocking.

Textured Walls

Explore different wall textures to add visual interest and depth to a space. Consider techniques such as textured paint, wallpaper with texture, or wall panels made from materials like wood or stone. Experiment with different textures to find the ones that complement your design concept.

Furniture and Layout

Learn how to arrange furniture to maximize space and create a functional layout. Consider the size and scale of each piece and how these pieces work together to create a harmonious arrangement. Repurpose and upcycle old furniture to give them a new lease on life. Embrace DIY projects such as reupholstering chairs or refurbishing tables to add a personal touch.

Assess Your Needs

Before selecting furniture, assess your needs and the functionality of the space. Consider the performance that will take place in the room and the number of individuals who will be using it. It will help you determine the types and sizes of required furniture.

Scale and Proportion

Pay attention to the range and proportion of your stuff to the size of the room. Avoid overcrowding the space with oversized furniture or using too many small pieces that can make the room feel cluttered. Ensure that the furniture is appropriately sized for comfortable movement and functionality.

Define Zones

Divide the room into functional zones based on how you intend to use the space. For example, a living room can contain a seating area, a reading nook, and a TV viewing area. Use furniture placement to define these zones and create a sense of purpose for each area.

Accessorize and Style

Pay attention to the finishing touches that can elevate your design. Select accessories like artwork, decorative items, and plants to add personality and create focal points. Experiment with different arrangements and compositions to find what resonates with you. Remember, less is often more — choose quality pieces that complement your overall design.

Select a Theme or Style

Decide on a theme or style you want to incorporate into your space. It could be anything from minimalistic and modern to bohemian or vintage. A cohesive theme will guide your accessory choices and create a harmonious look.

Layering and Grouping

Create visual interest by layering and grouping accessories. Arrange items of different heights, textures, and shapes to add depth and dimension to your space — group similar items together to create a curated and cohesive display.

Balance and Symmetry

Achieve balance and symmetry when arranging accessories to create a visually pleasing composition. Place objects in a way that evenly distributes visual weight throughout the space. For example, if you contain a tall vase on one side, balance it with a similar-sized object on the other.

Personalize with Meaningful Items

Add a personal feel to your space by incorporating accessories with sentimental value or special meaning. It could be artwork created by a loved one, travel souvenirs, or family heirlooms. These personal touches make your space feel unique and reflect your personality.

Continuous Learning

Interior design is a vast field, and there’s always more to learn. Stay curious and keep up with the newest trends, techniques, and materials. Follow design blogs, attend workshops or webinars, and engage with the design community. Continuous learning will enhance your skills and inspire new ideas for your DIY projects.

Stay Updated with Trends and Innovations

The design industry constantly evolves, with new trends, materials, and technologies emerging. By engaging in continuous learning, you can stay updated with the latest developments in interior design. Follow design blogs, attend workshops or webinars, and explore design publications to stay informed and inspired.

Expand Your Knowledge and Skills

Learning is an opportunity to broaden your knowledge and acquire new skills. Take the time to explore various design principles, techniques, and styles. Familiarize yourself with different design software, tools, and materials. It will enhance your ability to tackle many DIY interior design projects.

Learn from Experts and Professionals

Seek out opportunities to learn from experienced designers and professionals in the field. Attend design conferences, seminars, or webinars to gain insights and practical advice from industry experts. Consider taking online courses or workshops specifically tailored to DIY interior design.

Experiment and Practice

Applying what you’ve learned in practical settings is most effective. Experiment with different design concepts, styles, and techniques in your home or through smaller projects. Practice helps refine your skills, build confidence, and discover your unique design approach.

Conclusion

Remember, DIY interior design is a journey, and mistakes are part of the process. Embrace the learning experience, be patient, and trust your instincts. You’ll gain confidence and develop your unique design style with practice and dedication. So, roll up your sleeves, unleash your creativity, and embark on the exciting world of DIY interior design!

Enrolling in an interior design and decoration course gives you access to structured learning materials, assignments, and resources to lead you through the learning process.

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Think Interior

Think Interior provides you with the highest standards of education in interior design to enhance your ability of creating ideas.