DIY Interior Design

By Shannan George
There was a time when a person who wanted a change of scenery would have a garage sale, pack up the kids and move across town. Times have changed. Fast forward to the days where you “spruce up” the place by simply hiring a contractor to add a sunroom or enlarge the kitchen. Again, times have changed.

So, what do you do now when you cannot afford to move or remodel the entire space? Whether you’re looking to reinvigorate your home or chiropractic office, a small DIY project can give any space an immediate facelift, without making a major dent in your pocketbook. While hiring a design orconstruction team is often ideal for larger, labor-intensive projects, the popularity of cable-TV channels like the DIY Network and HGTV are empowering millions of home and business owners to tackle do-it-yourself projects. Just by keeping in line with the basic principles of design and having a particular style in mind, you can give new life to a humdrum space.

Principles of DIY Interior Design
Make it work for you – Before you break out the paintbrushes, pay careful attention to how you will utilize the space. Having functionality as a driving force behind your planning could be the key to a well-designed project. What is considered functional for a couple just starting out is not going to be the same as it would for a family of five. The same goes for a chiropractic clinic, as the amount of perceived daily traffic can affect the flow of your practice space. You have to make your space work for you, so ask yourself the following questions: What type of furniture do I need? Do I have pieces in other areas that I could move into this new space? Should I consider updating my current furniture by adding decorative pillows or new upholstery? Is there adequate lighting? If the space is an office, you may want a more direct lighting source, like a lamp. If the area is a playroom or den, indirect lighting from a TV may be enough for conversation. And remember spot lighting, track lights and recessed lighting add appeal and flair to a space.

Have a Focal Point – A focal point is a point of interest in a room that makes the viewer want a closer look at the space. The focal point should not be overpowering, but should keep in line with the style and scale of the room. For example, it can be natural, like a fireplace or window, or more modern, like a flat-screen television or piece of artwork. Remember that a focal point is a must-have in any design project.

However, for chiropractic clinics, creating a focal point doesn’t necessarily have to be done with “spine art.” Chiropractors shouldn’t limit themselves to one type of art. Instead, they should focus on the overall design aesthetic and the feelings they wish to convey to their patients. For example, a landscape mural will portray tranquility, while an intricate metal sculpture will bring a more modern feel to the space.

Be Inspired – Consider the mood of the space in your planning. How do you want to feel when you enter the space? The mood of a family room would most likely be much different than the mood in a bedroom. The ambiance of an area is created by the choice of colors, furnishings, texture and patterns. To make this portion of the decorating process easier, choose an inspiration piece and use it as motivation for creating a particular mood. Inspirational pieces are often everyday items such as a scarf, throw pillow or photo. When you look at your inspirational item, it should give you the same feeling that you want to have when you enter this space. Also, make sure this item is something that you’ll continue to enjoy, since it will be the base for décor in this area.

Consider the details – Be sure that the color palette you choose is consistent with your design style. In general, you want to choose three colors: a dominant color for walls, carpets and fabric backgrounds; a secondary color for fabrics and accessories; and an accent color for added depth. Also consider patterns that best accentuate your design style. Use varying textures to create an interesting scene, since using too many similar textures can become boring. Most importantly, let your individuality shine. Don’t be afraid of a brightly painted ceiling or whimsical pattern if it fits your personality or vision for your space.

Once you have considered the principals of DIY interior design, you can also explore these popular design trends that may be useful in guiding the planning process of your project.

Eco-Friendly Design
Creating a space that’s eco-friendly is more about choosing products that lessen the impact on the environment than it is about having specific colors or patterns. It is also about being creative and repurposing items to keep them out of landfills. This trend is very versatile in that you can successfully incorporate eco-friendly products into the interior design style of your choice.

How to achieve this look:

  • Use compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) or LED lighting, which save on electricity.
  • Install skylights and energy-efficient windows.
  • Lighten up a dark room with low or no VOC paint. VOCs are associated with negative health effects and indoor air pollution.
  • Install flooring made from renewable resources, such as bamboo or cork.
  • Visit yard sales, estate sales or consignment shops to find furniture that can be reupholstered or repurposed. Or, consider giving furniture that you already own a facelift with new fabric or a coat of paint.
  • Consider breaking up leftover tiles into smaller pieces to create a mosaic backsplash, tabletop or coaster.
  • To increase energy efficiency, put motion sensors and/or dimmer switches on light fixtures through the house.

The minimalist design style sticks to the bare necessities. Minimalism enhances the functionality of pieces by eliminating embellishments and excessive details. A traditionally minimalist room is free of clutter, giving it a Zen-like tranquility. “Minimal” is not to be confused with “boring.” Think of it as a simplistic peaceful space. When you have deconstructed a space to a point where nothing further can be removed to improve the design, you can be confident that you’ve successfully achieved a minimalist design style.

How to achieve this look:

  • Reduce clutter by storing “stuff” in cabinets and closets.
  • Eliminate and avoid purchasing accent pieces including throws, pillows, wall art and foliage.
  • Free up space by eliminating unnecessary furniture, making your space seem larger and more inviting.
  • Play with lighting and use basic geometric shapes to create design unity.
  • Include tasteful, bright and monochromatic color combinations, clean lines, natural finishes and textures.

The modern or contemporary design style features simplicity, clean lines and polished finishes. Modern design draws its foundations from minimalism and strong similarities can be seen between the two trends. To keep the style from appearing cold or harsh, many designers pair it with another style for added pop. This allows the modern style to be comfortable and stylish with a light sophistication.

How to achieve this look:

  • Bring warmth into the room with natural colors accented with a single bold color.
  • Jazz up a plain wall with a large piece of artwork, making the wall the focal point of the room.
  • Keep the décor simple but elegant by using simple glass and metal (like stainless steel and chrome) pieces—being careful not to over-decorate or create clutter.
  • Try natural fabrics like cotton, linen, wool or silk.
  • Add a touch of softness to the room by using rugs that are plush or shaggy textures.

By keeping in mind the fundamentals of DIY interior design and these popular design styles, you can create a beautiful and invigorating décor that suits your personal style. Happy decorating.