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You’re getting ready to design a room — but are you really ready? When it comes to interior design, it’s important to start with the end in mind. That means planning ahead and looking at the final project, even before you start.

“The concept of starting with the end in mind is critically important,” said Tom Lias of Gorman’s Home Furnishings and Interior Design, which has locations throughout metro Detroit and in Grand Rapids. “If you want to do it right, you have to plan in advance. While some people will see an empty room, an interior designer will imagine it done.”

To get it right, there are some design rules to follow and others to avoid. Not sure where to start? Here’s how to design a room — both the right way and the wrong.

Making it right

There are ways to make your room stand out, and each one goes back to the planning process. “When we plan, we make sure the scale is correct, there is balance – and then we start building on that,” said Lias, who compares room design in some ways to fashion. “It’s similar to buying a dress. You could spend hours thinking about what jewelry, scarf, shoes and accessories to wear with it because those things are just as important as the dress.”

  • Use smaller-sized furniture pieces in small spaces and larger ones in large rooms. Measure walls and check the dimensions of furniture to make sure it fits correctly. Also think about how everything is balanced in the room. Vary the heights of furniture as well as the colors and objects throughout the space.
  • A good sofa can make or break a space. Find one that not only is comfortable, but also looks great and is appropriate for the size of the room. 
  • Lighting is the jewelry of a home. A stunning chandelier can transform a dining area, and the appropriate lamps and sconces can turn any room into a showplace.
  • The right bed can instantly transform a room. Upholstered beds are popular right now and they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The bed, after all, is the first thing you see when you walk into the bedroom.
  • One great statement piece can establish the style of a room — but limit it to just one. If you have too many signature pieces, the design loses its focus and balance.

Wrong turn ahead

Even the most well-intentioned homeowners can make mistakes when designing a room. And often, one of the first mistakes is misjudging the size of things. “We want to be sure the scale is correct,” Lias said. “If you have a 16-foot ceiling and you put a small sofa in the room, it will look like it got wet and shrunk.” The other mistakes often occur as the design begins to take shape.

  • It’s important to judge the scale of a room and how elements align. Don’t have a large sectional that sticks into a doorway, and don’t let your cabinet cover a window or window moulding.
  • Choosing the wrong art can wreck an otherwise beautiful space. Avoid mixing styles — don’t put contemporary art near a painting from the Renaissance, for instance. Also, pay attention to how it is hung. If it’s hung too low or too high, people won’t notice your art — they’ll only notice your mistake. 
  • Uncomfortable upholstery is another design don’t. A chair or sofa might look nice, but if it’s not comfortable, it’s not worth putting in your room.
  • Avoid turning your home into a junk yard. Clutter makes a room chaotic and confusing — not to mention, it attracts dirt and dust. Hold onto a few items that have sentiment, but get rid of the rest.
  • Uncomfortable dining chairs are something you and your guests don’t think much about until they’re having dinner and can’t wait to leave the table. Be sure to spend some time testing them out in the store before bringing them into your dining room.

Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of home design from experts at Gorman’s Home Furnishings and Interior Design. Visit gormans.com to make the most of your design space.

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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