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February 20, 2011

15 Essential Steps you need to know, when designing your dream home. Part 4 of 5

So, let’s review, we’ve looked at steps 1-3 designing your dream home.

1. Selecting your perfect structure.

2. Floor plans and elevations.
3. Function

Then steps 4-6 of designing your dream home:

4. Budget
5. Mood and Style
6. Overall design

And steps 7-9 of designing your dream home:

7. Bathroom and Kitchen design

8. Furniture Plan
9. Lighting plan

Now... we move on to steps 10, 11 and 12 !

10. Window coverings: 

When designing your dream home, be aware of oddly shaped windows. For some reason architects love to add them in! Notice the angle at the top of the window below, it dips down in the centre.

These windows are very difficult to cover. If you like horizontal blinds these can usually be used in some of the more difficult, or odd shaped windows, however not everyone likes horizontal blinds. Many clients prefer window coverings that can be slid to the sides so that all of the glass is showing. Transom windows (especially if they are arched), although beautiful, are especially difficult to cover. (Please do not cover windows with furniture as in this photo below!)

Determine what kind of light coverage do you need. Do you sleep in - then curse the sunlight in the morning; or do you embrace it? You may need room darkening, or light filtering blinds. Do you have a window needing privacy? A window with lots of glare? Many solutions are available.

traditional bedroom design by portland interior designer Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.

Discuss your drapery needs with an interior designer or window coverings specialist. Note these can be a little pricey, 30% of your room's budget usually goes towards window coverings. 

11. Fabric: 

OK, so we are really getting to the styling part here. We know the mood we want to achieve. But where do we go from here? One idea is to start with a ‘signature fabric’, this is a fabric that sets a style or creates your desired mood. Determine the placement of your signature fabric. This can be an expensive fabric - perhaps use it just for the front of a small pillow. Confirm your signature fabric suits the ambiance you desire. Use this fabric to set the colour tone of your room.

Now select complementary fabrics, but allow in general, no more than three different patterns in one room! Determine placement of all fabrics i.e:

- patterned drapery fabrics for the windows - like the example above

- perhaps a cream and raspberry stripe for an ottoman,

- teal polka dots for the chair backs.

Finally select trim to customize draperies or throw cushions. Then use your signature fabric to pick colours for the rest of the room.

12. Wall colour: 

Now you can finally pick a wall colour! Can you believe we had to wait until step 12 for this? Wall color is not usually picked until near the end of the design, as there are so many different colours of paint to choose from. Kimberley Seldon says " picking a wall colour first is like buying a lipstick, then look all over trying to find a dress to match." 


Remember to keep the room’s atmosphere in mind. What is your light level? Resist the urge to paint a dark room in a light colour. Donald Kaufman says "Light wall colours never come to life in a dark room..." If the room is sunny, play that up - don't use a dark colour for the walls. Look at your signature fabric for wall color ideas. 

I can go on and on about colour but really colour expert Maria Killam says it best when she says "Painting a dark room in pale colours simply accentuates the shadows in a space." 

Other questions to ask when selecting a colour 'theme' : Are you drawn to warm, neutral or cool colours? Do you prefer many colors or a monochromatic look? 
Personally I throw out the colour theory I was taught in design school. I don't understand how someone can look at a room and say "do I want a complementary colour scheme? What about the split - complementary colour scheme or maybe an analogous colour scheme?" 

Maybe, just maybe those theories come into play when looking at how to spice up a room with accessories or accents, but in general the main points to remember are: ensure the colour flows from room to room, keep either a clean, (or conversely), a muted or a dirty colour scheme throughout, and remember to consider the undertones - more about that in a later post.

Finding all this confusing? E-mail me to find out how you can have the home of your dreams! Stay tuned for our last 3 steps!


  1. Another great post with lots of good advice Jil.

  2. Thanks Carol. It's difficult to condense all the points, but I've covered the highlights!

  3. Tammy it's amazing how many new window coverings are available now. I'm anxious to try Hunter Douglas's Silhouettes!

  4. This looks like such a great series, thanks for the mention!

  5. Great post,Jill, you make it all sound so easy.

  6. Well, it's not all that easy, but it sure helps when you follow the steps in order. By the way, I love your mocha mitts - great idea!

  7. Thanks a lot for this wonderful post! I am so inspired in it. I really have to make something for my house.

  8. Thanks so much for the kind comments. I enjoyed your post on selecting bed frames, great info!

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