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10 Essential Steps for designing your own space

Posted on 08 April 2017

My name is Eliza Binney and I am a new addition to the domu family. I am a freelance interior designer and a lecturer in interior design for CATC Design School. My home base is the Blue Mountains, so I am not afraid to travel for my passion!

I have always loved design ever since I first chose Design and Technology as an elective in year 9 at school. I had a very inspirational teacher who always strove to instill in us a love of great design and a strong understanding of design history. I spent many long hours researching the different design styles and the combination of that with our first project a ‘Bauhaus Letter Holder’ , I was hooked!

Ever since then, I have loved design and all that it has to offer - from fashion styles, to art and of course interiors. To this day I still use a Kandinsky (Bauhaus Lecturer) art work as my computer background and he is a constant inspiration to me and the work that I complete. However, now as I have grown as a designer, my focus is towards featuring Australian, and where possible sustainable materials, and pieces.

I am loving the opportunity to explore and meet lots of diverse people and see how their cultural backgrounds influence their work. Whilst I am still new to the industry, I have learnt very quickly the following steps to design the very best spaces. 

In my experience, the best method is to follow these 10 key steps

1. The List

No matter what the room - write a list of the items (personal, furniture or accessory) you already own that you would like to keep and/or display. It can also be good to take some pictures of these items to be used in step 4.


One really crucial point to remember is that if you want to make any significant changes to your decor or if you are trying to achieve a certain ‘look’ some de-cluttering and organisation is nearly always the first order of the day. Sorting through your possessions and making sure you really want to keep them and have a place for them is essential. Don’t under estimate the importance of having a place for everything and everything in its place! Only then will you have the room to make informed decisions about your home.

2. Creative Thinking

Explore possible ideas and create a mind map of what you want/need from the space (the feel, items, finishes, materials, etc.)


3. Research

Once you have a clear idea in your mind of what you want for the space, start using a medium like Pinterest and create a board of materials, colours and finishes. Slowly you will start to build up a picture of what the space might look like.


4. Craft

Print out some key images from Pinterest and arrange them on some black card (this allows the images to stand out). You are putting together a mood board to represent your space. Show it to some friends and ask them to describe what they feel - and if it matches what you want then you are on the right track!


5. Budget

It is time to think about your budget - this can be a stressful time. One thing that I find helps at this stage is writing down your budget. Being realistic and honest with yourself is key at this stage. If your budget is $1000 for a whole room - Kmart and IKEA might be your best choices for accessories and small items but don't compromise on key pieces such as a lounge, or tiles. These large dominant items can make or break a space and you don't want to compromise on quality as you will only spend more money later replacing or updating the item. Once you know your budget, it is time to start hunting!

budgetting -interior-design


It can be hard to find out ‘on trend’ information in this industry as often some magazines are a bit behind and just trying to sell you sponsored items.

A great place to look specifically for Australian knowledge is The Design Files. This is a Melbourne based blog that focuses on showcasing Australian designers, artists and artisans.

Some other furniture gems to take a look at are Jardan, Spence & Lyda, Domu, Koskela and Project 82.


Calgary Arm Chair - Available from domu

Green Magazine for some sustainable, Aussie info.

Mud Australia, Dinosaur Designs and Country Road Home are creators of beautiful accessories and homewares.


Image from Dinosaur Designs

Or if you are simply after some free wall coverings check out Porters Paints for some unique or custom paint, paint finishes and wallpapers.

And if you are still in doubt jump on Instagram and follow some of the above listed companies and see where your clicking takes you!

A key tip if you haven't noticed already is the indoor plants are exceptionally popular at the moment and companies like Leaf Supply are taking it to another level creating unique hand crafted pots with beautiful plants delivered right to your door (if you are in the Sydney CBD area).

7. Perseverance

It can take a long time to find the ‘right’ pieces for your home, but I promise you they are out there! I urge you not to compromise on your choices keep looking and striving for exactly what you want in your home.



Once you have found the items you want to purchase go ahead and place an order! Remember to ask the supplier about the Lead Time on any large tick items as they may need to be shipped international or transported nationally. Where possible try to find out the Lead Time before you order so you can organise and order your items so they all arrive within a week of each other. Be sure to ask if any additional cost will be added for door to door delivery.


9. Cleaning

Before your new items start to arrive, clear your space. Take out/dispose of anything that needs to go (look up your local council website for your free council pickup dates), put the key items (from step 1) in a safe box - preferably with a label. This is the time to paint (if you are going to). Then give your space a good clean! Whilst cleaning can be a monotonous task, think about how much nicer your pieces are going to look in a crisp, clean space.


10. Unwrapping!

This is one of the most exciting parts about updating a space - opening the new ‘presents’ you have bought yourself. Remember to check all your item before you sign for them to make sure no damage has occurred during transport. Once everything is unwrapped place all protective plastic and cardboard used in transport in your recycling bin. Now it is time for you to arrange! This can take some time and don’t be afraid to try one layout for a few days to work out how it feels and if the arrangement isn’t giving the vibe you want, switch it up again. Don’t hesitate to keep switching your arrangements around until the space is giving you the right feeling. Once your space is giving you good vibes it is time to relax and enjoy your new beautiful interior!


And of course don't hesitate to contact a local interior designer for some extra help if need be. Having the assistance of an interior designer will really help you to ensure that your space ends up exactly as you want. If you attend an appointment with an interior designer with the above list prepared, you will not only impress your designer but it will also help your interior designer to remain on the same page as you, in terms of your design vision.

As my passion for interior design and my knowledge of the industry grows, I look forward to sharing my experiences, opinions and lists with you over the coming months.


Eliza is a passionate freelance interior designer and lecturer at CATC Design School in Sydney. You can follow Eliza on instagram


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