Sourcing the right things – how to choose items for your new room

This post is part of a series of tips on interior design and working with an interior designer.

how to choose everythingSo, if you’ve followed the tips in this series on how to get started, how to come up with a design concept and general inspiration, how to look at the space planning of your room, you should now have:

  • a list of jobs to be done on the room
  • a shopping list of things to get for the room
  • some key images to shape the colour scheme and general aesthetics (the concept)
  • some inspirational images of other rooms
  • a planned layout for the room

Now, let’s go shopping!

The key now is to start looking for the things on your shopping list, using the concept and inspirational images to guide you.

The concept

This gives you guidance as to the colours and shapes to use in the room.  The idea is that if the concept ‘works’, the room will work if you stick closely to the concept.  Rooms that are strongly linked to their concepts will be immediately obvious if you see an image of the finished room next to the concept.  If you squint, they will look similar in the balance of colour and the key shapes.

So, in its most simplistic form, if your inspirational images show a bed with an upholstered headboard, and your concept has quite neutral colours with a red splash of colour, you might consider a red upholstered headboard in a neutral room.  Or perhaps the curtains could be red and the headboard neutral.  In a large room, both could be red with the rest neutral and the red would still be a similar proportion of the room.

From this...

From this – painful looking security fencing… this - Remix in Blue by Ferm Living

…to this – Remix in Blue by Ferm Living

If your concept has an image of a strong triangular shape, you might find some fabric for cushions with high contrast triangles and work from there.

Blossom may translate quite literally into a floral print, or it may become mosaic tiles, a print of dots, textured fabric or a rug.

Once you start finding items that you love, they will shape the rest of the room.

The inspirational images

These will translate into one of two things: either the specific features you want in the room – or as close as you can – (e.g. the curtains, the sofa, the lamp); or a general look / style.  Use them to guide you in the right direction, and the concept to put your own personal spin on it.

Consider the details

As you find items, consider how they’d work in your layout.

How does the height of the coffee table compare to the sofa?  How about the side tables with the sofa arms?  The bedside tables with the mattress height?

Is the sofa wider than the typical one you used for your plan?  Is there space for it?  What if you found a smaller side table?

Record your ideas

If you are shopping in person, take photos of each item you think might work, then you can compare them at home.  Online, it’s easy to take a screenshot and save it.

Some items you may want to buy/order there and then, if you’re sure you want them and there’s a risk they may go out of stock before you’re ready for them.  Some can wait until the room is ready.  Don’t forget to ask about lead times (how long you’ll need to wait for the item to be delivered).

Finalise the schedule of works

As the room starts to come together on paper you can finalise your list of jobs to be done and start looking for a contractor to carry out the work (or start doing it yourself, of course!).

You’ll also need to consider the lighting – if there’s any rewiring to be done, you’ll want to know the final layout of the room before you can start installing this.  We’ll look at this later.

Good luck!


Was this useful?  Let me know in the comments!

Coming soon – specific tips for individual rooms, lighting, tips on how to use colour, choose floorings, wall coverings, paint…

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer in this series, leave a comment or send a message via the website – I’d be delighted to help!

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