Interior Design & Color Trends 2012 – Planning First!

watercolor of Inspirational finds from

Today is not just about images or color.

We have been learning quite allot about Interior Design Trends and how to use them but I can’t help feeling like all this could be used more like rope to tie the shoelaces of your projects without understanding fully some of the bare basics. No matter who you are or what you do, if you possess a skill-set that is very nearly rote  – whether driving a car, fixing computers, or design, there is a tendency to make assumptions, glancing blithely over the intuited foundations of what you are communicating. I am as guilty of this as anyone.

See the inspiration board illustration up top? This is a great example. All the inspiration on the planet will not help your design if your plan is ill conceived – it’s like eating the frosting less the cake!

So what are those necessary first steps to design?

1) Measure your doorways. Yes – that is step numero uno in planning any design or re-design contingent on replacing, moving, or re-purposing furnishings. If you are thinking, “I have an open concept layout”, this is still step one. While your cavernous space may be capable of accommodating a massive sectional sofa, and your floor plan isn’t limited by doorways, be sure your front door will accommodate that sofa. If you live in an apartment, measure the door and the elevator!

Now that you know your furnishings fit through your entrance, measure your space TWICE and create a layout – designers call this a ceiling elevation.

A mock-up for a final ceiling elevation

This seems scarier than it is – the thing that requires the most skill is collecting the measurements.  If you want to create an elevation, click here and try Icovia software online.

Click on “Launch Icovia”…you’ll see this.

intro to icovia

Enter your room’s measurements, then choose the room shape that’s closest to your room’s layout. Click that image and then click on “create a new plan”. On the left, you’ll see Thomasville’s products – too confusing! Click on the “symbols” tab instead, and choose the furniture options most similar to your own – don’t get hung up on details here! You don’t need a perfect match – you’ll see…

I have highlighted the measurement tool – it’s really “sticky”. Click one aspect of what you want to measure and stretch it to the other end. Click in order to end this function on the other end of your measurement. When you make mistakes (and you will) click to finish and hit “undo” above and to the right of that highlighted symbol.

Before you put anything in your room, go to the symbol drop-down and enter your doorways and windows, relative to where your measurements locate them in your room. When you turn the doorway and slide it into place (see how to turn 2 images below) it will give you measurements of the wall on either side. Everything in this program is click and customize! You’ll get used to it quickly.

entries and windows

When your doors and windows are in place, go to “wiring” and add your electrical sources – this is not a detail!! It forces you to create a realistic plan – where does the TV go? How many lamps can I use? If someone who is disabled lives in your dwelling, you can even spec out the space needed for a wheelchair…

Click on your the furnishings you choose to customize the size of your existing, new, or plan to purchase furnishings. This will show you precisely how this piece will fit in your space. If you still don’t feel confident, get a role of blue tape and tape out the dimensions of your pieces on the floor. Can you walk in between?

sizing furniture on icovia

To turn your furnishings, move the little hand on the feature that looks like a one-handed clock (circled) as below. Again, don’t forget electrical sources for your task areas.

Rotation Function

Lighting goes in last – when you have sorted out your floor plan, accounting for existing elements and planned purchases, go to the “Fixtures” tab and you’ll see the drop down (right) change. Add your “electronics” – wall mounted flat screen sizes are crucial!!! Add lighting last. You can be as general or detailed as need be, but lighting is the most crucial element of any design, to paint color, placement, task and function – if you can’t see it, it doesn’t function!

Placing light sources

Now you have a plan, and can think about trends and color! Hit save and register, so you can come back and re-think your plan if need be, or plan in stages. If your plan won’t print (not sure on this) take a screen shot, by hitting “print screen” on your key board, and crop it in any remedial paint program. If you don’t have a printer, email it to your nearest Kinko’s and they’ll print it for you!

A Finished Room Plan

In summary –

1. Leave adequate pass through space between objects.

2. Consider how many people you need to seat – is there glare where the TV will be?

3. Function – what task zones do you need to incorporate into your room – the plan above has an area to watch TV (and will help you purchase the proper size), a reading nook with a book shelf, a modest office area (no storage, but it’s just a mock up) a game area, a fan to conduct heat and air conditioning if need be, and task chandelier lighting for interest.

4. Consider traffic flow – are the door swings hitting anything?

5. Light and power sources – can you see it or turn it on? If not, it needs to be moved.

NOW consider color! Tomorrow….

…and every day at