Start with the Basics
Think about the things that inspire you (color, shopping, Italy, the French Riviera). What do you want your home to look like? What does it feel like (clean and airy, warm and cozy, bright and bold, contemporary and stark)? Be sure to document your answers and thoughts.
Create a Style Book
Pull images from magazines and books of anything you like … color, a vase, the feel of a room. Don’t worry about which room it’s for or why you like it — just pull! Then sort the images by interior, by exterior, and by room. Cull them down and decide on a color for each room, or one image may represent what you want to accomplish for your entire home. If the internet is where you spend your design research time, you can make a style book online using sites like Houzz or Pinterest.
Begin to Design
Choosing a clear color palette is the first step. Decide on at least two main colors and one accent color for each room.
If starting from scratch, wall color is a great place to begin, but it’s also the easiest to match and change based on other items in the room. So, if you already have a sofa, then that should be the lead for the room and you should start from there. Drapes, flooring and rugs would come next in that order. However, any object can be the lead in terms of designing the room around it. If you have a floor type you love, start with that. Then the walls, sofa and drapes would all fall after. Think of the design process in layers.
Go Out and Shop!
Take an afternoon and search around the stores in your area. What’s out there? What does your budget allow? This will give you an idea of what you’re looking at in terms of availability in the marketplace. If you want a new sofa, can you wait 4 to 6 weeks? Or do you need it this weekend?
Those items that you need will also determine how you can place the color in your home. For example, if you start out wanting a gray sofa but can’t find one you like, opt for another color and use gray on your walls or get a gray rug. The key is to stay flexible, be open to new inspiration, and keep your design choices fluid.