Try to answer the following questions: What is your space like? What purpose and function do you need this space to serve? What can you change? What can you not change? What have you got to work with? For whom is this space intended? What kind of budget do you have?
Step 1: Find your Inspiration
Whether it's from a friend or family member's house, a magazine, a design show, or an image found online, etc - find an idea for your space that really grabs you and fall in love with it!
Step 2: Create a Plan
If you love your inspiration exactly as-is and you're confident you can pull it off in your space - go ahead and plan to copy it as closely as possible (there's no need to re-invent the wheel if you don't have to!). If you want to personalize the design with your own ideas, or need to adapt it somewhat to fit your space begin to brainstorm, collage, and visualize! Consider practical arrangements for the function of the space. Plan and practice your ideas by making sketches of your space. Consider all objects needed to complete the project. When you have a solid idea of what you want to do, proceed to step 3.
Step 3: Obtain Fabric/Textiles
Obtaining your fabric/textiles first (whether you have to purchase something new, or want to work from something you already have) will help you to determine your colour pallet (as a general rule use no more than 7 colours in any given space). You may want to bring a picture of your inspiration with you to the store as a guide. If you are planning your space around a piece of artwork, match your fabric/textiles to the art. Depending on the function of your space you're going to look for window coverings, pillows, throws, and accents. Try to come up with a variety - generally you will want to find your main colour, a pattern, a print, and possibly a texture. Coordinate fabrics/textiles together so that they tie-in nicely with each other.
Purchasing finished products can save time and sometimes money (sewing your own textiles is not always less expensive); however, it is easier to achieve a more coordinated and customized look and feel by making things yourself.
Step 4: Purchase Paint
Step 5: Paint
If you are unfamiliar with painting techniques, educate yourself before you begin. Prep room by removing objects from the walls, moving furniture into the center of the room, patching holes in the walls, sanding, and applying a coat of primer if the current colour is more saturated than the colour you wish to use. Remember to protect flooring and furniture with drop-sheets. If you wish to paint the trim in your space, do so first. Next, use a brush to cut in the edges of the walls around the ceiling, window and door casings, and baseboards. Use a roller to fill in the first coat. Allow 30 minutes to dry. Repeat cutting and rolling a 2nd time (darker or more saturated colours may require more than the standard 2 coats to achieve adequate coverage). Allow 24 hours to dry before moving furniture into position.
Step 6: Add in TextilesIf you plan on sewing your own textiles now is the time to get busy! If you have purchased finished products, now is the time to put them in place.
Step 7: Add Accessories
If you haven't already, purchase or create art, pictures, and accent pieces. Position according to your design plan.
Step 8: Admire and enjoy your new space!
Be prepared for your ideas to adapt and evolve through the design process. Your finished space may not look exactly like your original design plan depending on what becomes available to you through the process, but if you stick as close to your guide as possible you will still be pleased with the result (sometimes even more so!).