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Guideline Re-Cap

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Ready – Set – Design !

Hi everyone

I hope you and your family have been outside enjoying this wonderful summer.. I know I have

As I mentioned in my welcome letter, I started this blog for one reason and one reason only and that was to share my experience, knowledge and creative skills with everyone out there looking to design, re-design or re-fresh a room

So far I have shared the (6) basic design guidelines used by myself and other professional interior designers when starting a new project.

So now you can ask and answer the same questions a professional would ( without the high fee ) LOL !

contemporary living room design

So if you are ready lets go through each guideline step by step


Mood relates to the feeling you want the room to project

A few examples:

  • Casual
  • Formal
  • Sophisticated
  • Rustic
  • Sleek
  • Posh (glamorous)
  • Warm
  • Cool

In session # 1, I talk about how important it is to define your room’s mood

Once you have determined the mood, selecting the key pieces of furniture, lighting & accessories will become stress-free. You will now have the confidence that the pieces you chose will be appropriate and suitable to each other and convey the mood you want your room to project

I created these (2) coastal design boards to show just how diverse a style can be

Posh coastal mood

A coastal style can be Posh, glamorous or sophisticated

Casual coastal mood

It can also be casual, relaxed or have a cozy cottage feel

So choosing a mood for your room is very important and will ensure a beautiful, successful design

I wanted to clarify when I refer to a warm or cool mood; I am referring to the colors in the room

Warm mood color scheme
Cool mood color scheme

** Designer tips:

  • Be sure to choose a mood that fits you and your family’s life style
  • Chose a mood that reflects you and your personal style
  • Chose a mood that is cohesive with the rest of your home’s living areas
  • Moods can be combined: a room can be ( cool + crisp + relaxing ) or ( rustic + warm + cozy )


As I mentioned in session # 1 function falls into (2) categories

  1. The room functions in the way it was meant 
  2. Adding or creating better function within the room

Example: The way it was meant

So If you are designing a living room strictly for entertaining, does it have enough seating, is the seating arranged so that people can easily converse, is there ample lighting in the room, are there plenty of side tables for your guests to place their drinks

Seating arranged for conversations

   Example: Adding or creating better function        

  • Plenty of seating for guest
  • Ample lighting for the room
  • Incorporate pieces of furniture that have dual purpose or additional storage
  • Create a dedicated space for planned activities such as,
  • office space, family game night, playroom or a quite reading nook

Please read my post on the Re-designing of small spaces

It shows how a room can be completely transformed just by creating better function      

Creating better function


Style is defined as combining distinctive furniture pieces and accessories creating a cohesive look        

In session # 2, I list the top 10 most popular and recognized styles of today

  • Bohemian
  • Coastal
  • Contemporary
  • Farmhouse
  • Glamour
  • Industrial
  • Mid-Century Modern
  • Modern
  • Traditional
  • Urban

Plus to help you identify each style and its specific characteristics I have included a brief definition and a few inspirational photos of each

My whole philosophy on design, is to find a style that represents you, your personality and life style

Please read session # 2 – identifying style

This session will better help you identify a particular style and it’s special characteristics

screenshot joybird.com 2020.03.05 19 40 49
Fresh modern farmhouse style

Also read session # 3 – Selecting a style

Selecting a style can be tricky if you don’t know where to start

In session # 3, I show two different ways of selecting a style. Either from the initial focal piece, or styling around an existing piece of furniture

Contemporary bohemian Style


Harmony refers to assuring all elements in the room work together

As mentioned in session # 6, harmony falls into (5) different categories

  • Scale
  • Proportion
  • Symmetry
  • Quality
  • Budget

In a successful room, all the elements must work together in harmony. This means that everything should feel appropriate and nothing should feel out of place

In other words all the pieces in your design should be in harmony with one another, and should exhibit the same sense of mood

Please read session # 6, for the different categories falling under harmony + some great examples

Great example of balance & symmetry

** Remember – A successful room is:

  • Functional
  • Expresses a mood
  • Exhibits a sense of harmony

Please set aside some time, grab your favorite beverage and read through all (6) design sessions for more in depth guidance and great examples

  • Session # 1 Guidelines
  • Session # 2 Identifying style
  • Session # 3 Selecting a style
  • Session # 4 Having a conversation
  • Session # 5 Color – part # 1 & # 2
  • Session # 6  Harmony

As always if you have a design question please send me an email


To stay on top of all the great ideas and fun design tips please subscribe today

Thank you !

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About the Author

Terri Ortega

Terri Ortega

Terri Ortega is a professional interior designer. She started Back to Basics Interior Design in 2019 with a mission to teach the basic guidelines of good design. Instead of just showing photos of beautifully designed rooms, she wanted to share with everyone the skills and tools to achieve the same professional results in their own homes.

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