Interior Design, By Ken Dean


Interior design and space planning go hand-in-hand.

When people mostly think about the elements that go into creating the interior design of a room, they most likely think of color, pattern and furniture styles.

While these are important aspects, another major design element can, and usually does, play a most vital part in your interior decorating: space planning, which involves the placement, arrangement and sizes of the furniture. The challenge is to create and deliver a statement of quality, personalization and design that flows.

The first consideration in space planning should be what functions the room or rooms should have, and what should the performance of the furniture be. If the room does not serve your needs, moods and feelings, then it’s not-well planned and designed. Excellent space planning deals with both the functional and the esthetic aspects you want created. Rooms should also have functional living spaces.

Floor plans in a quarter-inch scale are very important in showing how every item should fit into a balanced space, and yet, may not fit into a space. Thus the floor plan. If you are using an interior designer, this is an important service by the designer, and remember that your personal touches and input adds your individuality to your decor.

The proper combinations of lighting, colors, textures, scale, patterns and balance play an integral role in the warmth and beauty of your decor. I might also add that unity, harmony and drama should fall into place.

Give thought also to the type of furniture and styles you want. Some styles may not be too big size-wise, but may look too large aesthetically. The same concept is true for fabrics.

It’s hard for an untrained person to be able to tell what a certain fabric will look like on a large sofa or window treatment by looking at a small sample, and most surely this holds true for looking at furniture in a furniture store. What looks good in a furniture store may not work in your home both style- and size-wise, and, the lighting is different.

You will find that multi-purpose furniture gives your decor more space and functions. For example: A guest room can also serve as an office/den with a sofa bed and a desk that is part dresser. Chairs and ottomans work in most every room. Game tables can serve as a dining table saves a lot of space and you have two functions. This all helps where space is limited.

Gaining the maximum usage from your available space requires careful thought and planning. In a new home you may want to wait until you are settled in to “get the feel.” In this case, window treatments may be your first starting point. Professional interior designers will coordinate your window treatments with colors and fabrics.

Thought should be given to the styles you want. Contemporary designs are stylish and functional and work well, and much of today’s design looks for the modern touch. Traditional is always in style and works in almost any interior.

Perhaps the eclectic theme is your desire. Eclectic design utilizes elements from many sources. Most eclectic interiors today try to achieve and reflect furnishings collected over time without a specific harmony in mind, but chosen with the principle of an overall harmony in mind.

Many years ago, it was the trend to do everything in “matched sets.” However, today the eclectic look brings in an individual style. Adding antiques or antique reproductions, with their beautiful carvings and interesting woods, will blend well into any of these decors.

Because color is one of the most powerful elements of interior design, it should be one of the first considerations in your starting point. Well-planned lighting is also important in your space planning.

As you work on your space planning, flexibility is an important element. You should never just go out and start buying furniture before having the space planned. This also holds true with remodeling. Furniture arrangement, window placement, electric outlets, lighting and traffic patterns should be planned and designed before starting the remodeling. You certainly don’t want a window where a sofa should be or a fireplace in a wrong area with no purpose, which after all should be a focal point. 

Ken Dean is an award winning and published professional interior designer, interior design teacher and writer for 40 years. His website is www. He can be reached at (661) 251-0170.

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