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Three Interior Design Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start

There are three questions you should be asking yourself that are vital to getting your décor right and will inform every decision you make regarding a space. Those three questions are:

WHO is going to use the space?

WHAT is going to be done there?

WHEN will the space be used?

There are two more we’ll add at the end.

It’s not complex and really is that simple. However, you might be amazed by how many people don’t consider these questions until we ask. Asking yourself these questions is a key step, because when answered it means you will have a space that’s optimally designed for those who use it.

The answers to these questions will influence everything from lighting and colors to materials and accessories. If you want your form to function, then you must form the answers to the function.

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Let’s start with the WHO question. It’s simple but vital for a room to work. As an example, let’s take a look at the kitchen. By asking who is going to use it, what we mean is – is this a room for a cook? Or is it a room for an eater? The answer to this question will determine the level of equipment and working counterspace that’s needed.

A keen cook needs equipment and worktop space. However, a person who would use an oven as extra shoe storage and just heats up food when needed might want more of a bar stool setup with a corner microwave.

Or maybe the living room? Easy, right? A sofa, couple of chairs, television, and done. For a space that works for everyone you need to be more specific.

Who is using the living room? A couple? Parents? Is it also where the toddler plays? Is there a teenager? Is this where the whole family gathers? Is it where you’d like for the family to gather? Answering these questions will help you make your aspiration for the space become reality. Don’t assume everyone will want to be in the same room with a small corner TV, too small sofa, and undesirable lighting.

One more example? How about the bathroom? Is the bathroom used by the entire family in the mornings? Or is it an en suite for the adults? If everyone is using the bathroom in the mornings, then efficiency should be a focus. However, the en suite bathroom for a pair of adults can be designed with a focus on relaxation.

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Moving on to the WHAT. The WHAT plays to the lighting and furniture that will be in the space to ensure the WHO actually uses it. Is the living room a television room or for drinks and chatting? Is it a family or personal bathroom? Should there be storage for a family or just an adult or two? Answering these questions will allow for you to start thinking about the seating you need, the size of a table, or how many coat hooks or shoe storage you need.

Finally question three, WHEN. This will guide you into the thoughts of color and daylight versus electric lighting. Will the WHO and WHAT be mostly in the evening? Or the morning’s natural light? Most likely the scenario is that the needs of the space straddle both ends of the day and is largely empty in the middle. Should most of the light be electrical or natural? Checking your paint color will be necessary to ensure it appears as imagined.

Answering these questions gives you a start in the right direction so that you can get the most out of all the spaces in your home. Once you’ve considered these questions everything will seemingly fall into place. When meeting with clients, one of the first questions we ask is: what are you doing in this space?

Deeper Questions

WHY are you decorating this room?

Yes, the obvious answer is that you don’t’ like it and it needs a change. What we mean is, ask yourself in an effort to understand why you don’t like it and what can be done to change it. Does it feel too small? Are things in the wrong place? Is it a space that no longer fits your lifestyle?

HOW do you want to feel in this space?

This is key. We all have reactions to colors that we can’t control. The reaction could stem from a childhood school uniform or a room from your past. We’ve had clients who absolutely cannot stand half-painted walls because of the memories such a space pulls out. Or maybe there’s something with the color green that one just can’t overlook and it’s a definite no go color.

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If you’re looking at a room and feeling that it doesn’t work for you, then you need to asl yourself why. Then ask yourself how you want to feel in the same space. Is it a room where you want to feel relaxed? Then it might not be best to use a bright and energetic wallpaper that energizes you. Basically, when you’ve worked out the purpose of a room, the WHAT, you can start to look at matching colors for a particular activity or emotion.

Together, let’s make interior design work for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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