Creating a cohesive interior style can be a challenge. It’s easy to get off course from your original plan due to the abundance of eye-catching inspiration out there. It can be difficult to wade through all the exciting choices to what will actually work for you.

So how do you refine your vision, find what you like, understand what you love, conceptualize what uniquely works for you and, ultimately, achieve that WOW space that is all your own?

Check out Kara Smith’s 5 step do-it-yourself guide:

#1. Educate

Before you start any project, research is key. You need to get your footing and see what’s out there. Seek out design magazines, décor sites such as Houzz.com, and blogs. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration and organization! (Visit my Pins at pinterest.com/melaniejorr/.) The more you expose yourself to, the more you will be able to identify what’s intrinsically ‘YOU’. Through the education process, try to understand what may be a passing trend versus what’s timeless, and most importantly what speaks to you personally.

 

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#2. Collect

Now that you’ve done your homework and have an idea of what’s out there, gather everything that piques your interest – images, fabrics, colour stories, furnishings – any and everything. It will serve as an inspirational portfolio for future design reference. Remember to make notes of what you like about the images. Sometimes it’s just the way two patterns play off each other, or that great coffee table. Make notes and be specific! Trust me, it’s helpful.

#3. Be Your Own Client

Nothing is worse than a bunch of great pieces that have no real place in your space or your life; form and function need to meld to really achieve a stand out design. I spend time interviewing my clients to try and understand all aspects of their life – lifestyle, budget, timing, colours, kids, pets, house guests, etc. I also like to ask broader questions, such as what they hate, love, passions, movies, travel, favourite hotels, etc. This is a crucial component to be considered.

#4. Map it Out

Do a floor plan! Whether it’s professionally through an online site, or just a sketch with dimensions, it helps you visualize how you would ultimately like to see the space. It establishes a spatial reference and helps create your “shopping list”. This is also your opportunity to play with the layout of the room and get a better idea of what other pieces you can bring in. Try putting the couch central in the room instead of up against the wall and see what that does for the flow and feel of the space. Never underestimate the importance of a good measurement and truly knowing how much space you have to work with!

#5. Curate

Now that you know what you like and what you need, a crucial step in the process is reevaluating the ideas you have collected. Get those weeding gloves on and get down to the nitty-gritty of it all. Sort through the pieces you selected the first time around, find what you really love, and run it through the perspective of what works in your space. Really study your mood shots and try to allocate actual pieces. Start eliminating while zeroing in on what you actually like about each picture.

This process will give you a curated collection of choices and design direction. Take a step back to conceptualize all the pieces together. Taking your visions and inspirations from abstract to a more tangible concept will help you understand what works with what and, most importantly, how they holistically create your space and style. Whatever the style outcome may be, grasping the overall picture as well as the building blocks within will enable you to create that cohesive design that is uniquely you.

Follow Kara Smith on Twitter.

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