Comfortable designs for your home 1

Session # 1 Guidelines

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Mood & Function

(The first rule of design, is that there are no rules, only guidelines)

So if you’re ready, let’s get started

When designing any room in the home these are the (6) major guidelines to keep in mind

  • Mood 
  • Function
  • Style
  • Room condition
  • Color
  • Harmony

Before we cover each of these guidelines in detail, see my tip below

Tip: Before starting any work, take photos of the room you plan to decorate even if the room is empty of furniture. Stand in all (4) corners taking a photo of the opposite corner at eye level.  Take close up photos of any damage, stains, or areas that need repair or replacement. We will cover (room condition) in detail in another session. These photos will provide you a record of the room you can refer back to if necessary later on

I would recommend documenting each step of the transformation of your new room. In the end, you will have captured your hard work and can show off your new creative skills to family and friends

Now that you know where to start, lets breakdown these first (2) guidelines in detail


  • Mood ( = the feeling you want your room to project )


  • Casual
  • Sleek
  • Posh
  • Sophisticated
  • Formal
  • Rustic
  • Stark
  • Warm
  • Cool
  • Natural

I have listed the top 10 most notable moods used in today’s designs. I am sure you can come up with more.. use your imagination! this is where you start developing  your personal design style


Mood: Casual
Mood: Sleek
Mood: Formal

Above I have featured (3) formal dining rooms each designed in a completely different style. In most homes you will find one or more rooms deemed formal. These are most likely to be a dining room or living room. Normally these room are used to host large family get together’s, dinner parties and holidays. In other words, these rooms are not utilized  everyday. Any room deemed formal can and should be designed with your vision and personal style

You may ask why do I need to be concerned with the mood of my room ?

The answer to that is, once you have a mood in mind, it will help you stay on track when selecting the furniture, color palette, lighting and accessories


(Coastal design can be posh or casual)


Function falls into (2) categories

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

       Examples: The way it was meant

  • If you are designing a living room for entertaining does it have enough seating, is the seating arranged so that people can have conversations, is there ample lighting in the room, are there plenty of side tables for your guests to place their drinks                                   
  • If you are designing a dining room, is the table large enough to seat plenty of guests. Is there a place to display china, if you like to host parties, is there a sideboard to set-up buffets, if you enjoy serving cocktails, is there a cocktail cart set nearby

Examples: adding or creating better function

  • Plenty of seating for guests
  • Ample lighting for the room
  • Incorporate pieces with storage
  • Creating a dedicated space for planned activities
  • (office space, family game night, playroom or a quite reading nook)
  • Incorporate pieces of furniture that have dual purpose
  • (This is especially true for a small space)

Examples of dual purpose furniture:  

Storage Ottoman
Storage coffee table
Sofa sleeper

Function is a very important guideline, and should always be considered when designing a room                 

Hopefully this session on mood & function has sparked your creative side and you are ready to move on to style

Tip: If you have decided which room in your home you are going design or (re-design) start imagining how it will look. Good design starts with being able to see the finished product  


“ I start with an idea then it turns into something else “ 

Pablo Picasso

Please join me next Saturday for session # 2 Identifying styles

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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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