Monday, April 12, 2010

3 Steps to Starting a Design Project

By Susan Marocco


Overwhelmed by the thought of starting a design project?  Westchester Interior Designer, Susan Marocco owner of an Interior Design firm in Bedford shares 3 steps to Starting a Design Project.

Looking at an empty room with bare white walls or a space with furniture, but lacking that pulled-together look?  Wondering what colors and fabrics to go for?  Where to place the furniture and what size pieces to purchase?  Taking the first steps can go a long way toward creating a room with real style. 

1. Determine your “look – Start by tearing out pictures of what you like and dislike. Do you see a paint color that keeps catching your eye or textile/wall covering patterns that seem attractive to you?  Bright and bold or soft and muted?  Contemporary, traditional, or an electric mix of styles?  You’ll eventually narrow down your taste, which will make it easier to find pieces and accessories such as wallpaper, fabrics and rugs that will have long-term appeal.  Don’t forget to identify that you don’t like as well, which can go a long way towards honing your style.

2.Determine who is going to use the space and how they’re going to use it – Should the room be child-friendly, casual and comfortable, or an adult-only refuge? Ask yourself lifestyle questions:  do you like to entertain, do you have hobbies or collections that are important to display, do you need storage for books, children’s toys, or personal interests? Do you have artwork to showcase?

Tackle one room at a time- This is a tried-and-true stress reducer.  The secret is to create an overall blueprint, a “master plan” to ultimately create a cohesive look and feel for your entire home. This can be done by tying together rooms by color, texture, and style. 

Here’s an example of two adjacent rooms:

We started with an empty space, ultimately designing both rooms to coordinate.


The living room had great potential but needed a direction and a cohesive design plan.  Our objective for the space, designed for a couple with three your children, was to integrate the rug and key furniture pieces to create a child-friendly environment that also could serve as a “grown-up” entertaining area.


For many rooms, a rug that sets the tone and feeling of the room can be a wonderful jumping-off point.  After narrowing down style and pattern, likes and dislikes, color preferences, furniture style, and who and how the room is going to be used, we choose a striking Oriental rug with a large pattern in reds, greens, and gold’s.  While it’s traditional in feeling, the rug didn’t seem “stuffy” or old.


We then chose fabrics that worked with it.  Since the rug had a large pattern, we chose a solid fabric for the sofas and smaller patterns for the chairs.  Pillows, artwork, books, candlesticks, and other accessories provided visual interest and finishing touches. This created a comfortable seating area for the family to sit and enjoy the fire or, if entertaining, for the adults to enjoy cocktails.


The adjacent family room, a more casual area for TV viewing and children playing, needed to both stand on its own in terms of design and appeal, but continue the aesthetic from the living room.


The color scheme of reds, greens and gold’s provide continuity from the living room.  But while the color scheme is the same, the emphasis is on different shades (note that gold’s dominate the rug) and fabric textures give each room its own unique character.

Children’s toys are hidden in a large multi-purpose ottoman that is in front of the fireplace.  During the day, the kids’ playthings come out as they enjoy the space.  For casual entertaining, the ottoman serves as additional seating.

Susan Marocco is president of Susan Marocco Interiors in Bedford, New York, a full-service interior design firm specializing in residential and commercial renovations and furnishings. We invite you to visit our website; view some of our past design projects and sign up for our monthly newsletter to keep you educated with design tips as well as design news in the local area.   

Phone: 914-234-7066

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