As an interior design professional working on design projects daily, putting a design scheme together is still one of the more exciting parts of the process for me. I love combining colours, materials and textures to come up with an interesting look for a client.
I'm constantly being asked how we come up with a scheme for a project. There are a few key steps for me when I'm starting. The first is to have a piece that inspires and becomes the starting point to layer onto. That can be a piece of fabric, a piece of art, or even a hard finish like a beautiful mosaic to be used on a fireplace surround.
How to do it.
Gather all of your materials ... fabrics, finishes, rug swatches, floor wood and stain samples, paint colours, metal swatches, etc. Collect all samples - not just swatches for new items, but of existing pieces in the space too like an upholstered chair fabric, or existing floor, or existing wallpaper sample so you can be certain everything will work well together in the end.
Assemble all of these pieces on a table or the floor without much else around them to interfere or influence the current scheme. When laying the samples out, be sure that the amount of each item visible is relative to the amount that will be visible in the finished space. Show more of the larger pieces in the room and less for the smaller pieces; eg. sofa fabric swatch should be larger than the fabric being used for an accent cushion when laying it all out. Having samples relatively to scale will give you a good sense of what the final feel of your space will be.
Now stand back and have a look. Does the scheme feel balanced between light and dark? Is there enough texture between similar colours? Is the scheme harmonious? If using several patterns, is there enough of a difference between size and design to keep it interesting and not too busy looking?
Collect large samples. This makes it easier to determine if the colour, texture or pattern work well with the other elements in your scheme. Sometimes there is a fee for these samples, but its a tiny investment to ensure everything works well together.
Is something not working? Part of this step is going through a process of elimination until things feel right. Always stand back and look at all elements together. When it seems balanced in feel and colour to you, you're there!
I hope these small tips help you to put together a great scheme for your next project.