The Art of Planning an Interior Design Project

  • Make a wish list that includes what rooms and elements you would like addressed in your project.
  • List the priorities of your project first, second, third and so on. For example, you may determine a room used more frequently is a higher priority.
  • Begin to gather ideas that inspire you. is a great online resource to save to “idea galleries”. is also a great place to begin ideas organized by different “boards”. If needed, these images can be used with a design professional or a remodeler later in the process as well.
  • Review your ideas and locate the common thread of your color palettes, room mood, and items or styles you gravitate towards often. This will help you understand your design aesthetic.
  • Review your homes architecture. It will also allow your home to have a voice in the design. Look for lines, patterns, and special architectural elements to incorporate.
  • Consider naming your personal home style. Is it sassy, serious, elegant, casual, or fun? Is it an oasis, a retreat, a getaway, or a manor? Many find that naming the style with 2-3 descriptive words can help edit items in or out of the final design. Most importantly, it is pretty fun naming your home’s design plan.
  • Determine what you want to spend. What is your budget AND what is your “if you got everything you wanted you would spent $X”. Things are probably going to cost more than you want them too. So be honest with yourself in this step and you will be able to plan better.
  • If furniture or remodeling is part of your vision, you may want to put together a floor plan to help you determine what sizes and shapes work in your space. Someone you hire can do this for you as well.

Once you gather this preliminary information, you will have a good starting point to enter the design phase. Assuming you are doing this yourself, begin selections with what inspires you. Pull surfaces, textiles, finishes, and materials for your project. A great suggestion is pick everything, down to the door hardware, the appliances, the sink, the window treatments, and the artwork above the fireplace. Even if you aren’t able to implement all pieces and ideas at once, it will make a much more cohesive design when the entire design is considered together.

The design phase may be an easy process or quite cumbersome. You may decide a design professional would be helpful to bring your vision to life, or if you have a full picture of your choices and selections, gather your ideas into a binder and contact your favorite local professional to implement your vision.

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Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

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