Interior Design Without An Interior Designer

Interior designers once enjoyed almost mystical power. Even homeowners who understood the importance of good interior design weren�t really sure how interior designers did their jobs. Credit cable television with changing all that.

Today, thanks to a plethora of home design, improvement and renovation shows, getting great interior design ideas can be as easy as picking up the TV remote. Infused with confidence and enthusiasm by these shows, many homeowners are realizing they don�t necessarily need an interior designer to achieve a designer interior.

�Design shows have taught homeowners they can create their own interior design with a little research, common sense and courage,� says Lisa Jerlstrom, whose role as an art buyer for custom-mural Web site Murals Your Way includes tracking interior design trends. �By investing a little time researching styles and themes they like, homeowners can save money by handling their own interior design job.�

Before you tackle your interior design project, keep these three principles in mind:

1. Do your homework. Visit the book store and pick up some home and design magazines. �There are literally dozens of magazines � both consumer publications and trade journals � that deal with interior design,� says Jerlstrom. �They can be a great resource.� Tune in to some home improvement and design shows. While cable channels pioneered the home improvement/design show, many local versions are now cropping up on network affiliates. Many local news programs now also feature home improvement segments.

Use these resources to get a sense of what you like. Choose your theme based on your research and plan to incorporate features that will stimulate all your senses.

2. Color your world. Color � and the courage to use it � is integral to all interior design. Your color choices will set the tone for the visual impact of your design, whether it is stimulating or soothing. Decide what role color will play in your design. Will you use color to make the room�s main statement? Or will it be a simple accent to a grander theme?

Borrow a technique increasingly popular among professionals and incorporate a wall mural into your design. A mural can act as a room�s focal point when covering an entire dominant wall, or as an artistic accent when tucked into an architectural niche. Custom-mural makers like Murals Your Way make it easy to create an effect with wallpaper murals. �If you can handle today�s easy-install, easy-remove wallpaper, installing a wall mural is well within your abilities,� says Jerlstrom.

Thom Filicia, interior design specialist for the Emmy-winning Bravo series �Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,� is a fan of wall murals, and has featured them several times on his hit show. �The d?cor of your home should represent your personality as well as your interests,� he says. �Murals Your Way is a great resource to add your personal stamp in a creative, fun and whimsical way.�

3. Remember to listen closely. Professionals consider more than just color and room size when designing an interior. They also think of how a room will sound. Are you designing a home theater? Then you may want to investigate home surround sound systems. In rooms where you want to create a quiet environment � such as a bedroom or library � remember that window treatments and carpet will impact the room�s acoustics. Heavy drapes and plush carpet will dampen sound better than sheers and hardwood flooring.

Finally, says Jerlstrom, remember interior design is good only if it meets your needs and suits your taste. �The most put-together room can be bad design if you don�t like it and you have to live with it, or if it�s not practical for your lifestyle. When creating your own interior design, stick to what you like and what works for you. After all, that�s what the professionals would do!� – ARA

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