Interior design project with their own hands

design project

What is a design project

The task of the design project is to create an idea of the future interior and tell how to implement it. It reminds you of the instructions for assembling a cabinet from IKEA. If you follow the plan, in the end you will get exactly the same closet that you saw in the store. Design project – a manual for assembling your interior.

The designer prepares the project. He makes a visualization and an album of drawings. The visualization is a picture of the future interior. For example, hand-drawn sketches, collages or photorealistic 3D-illustration. Also, the design project includes blueprint documentation. It will help the builders to implement the idea. Depending on the complexity of the project draw five or more drawings.

You can start making a design project immediately after the purchase of an apartment. In professional designers on the work takes several months: it all depends on the speed of decision-making by the customer and the area of the apartment. A non-professional will spend more time.

When you can make a design project yourself

Doing a design project by yourself is like making a dress by yourself. The main argument in favor of a professional – experience. The designer knows the market better, knows the intricacies, and will tell you what you can save on, and where you should not. Turning to a specialist, you get a ready-made solution, while saving time and nerves.

Here are a few situations where you can make a design project yourself and when it is better to trust a professional:

  • Handle it yourself:
  • There is a finish repair, redevelopment is not planned
  • Limited budget

Turn to a designer:

  • Remodeling will be needed
  • No time and energy, but have money

When the area is modest, and finances are limited, the opinions of experts differ. Some believe that only a designer can competently squeeze the maximum out of a small apartment. Others believe that it is better to delve into the question yourself, and the money to spend on good furniture and decorating materials.

If you are attracted by the aesthetic side of the project, but you are afraid or do not want to delve into the technical part, order a specialist only working drawings for construction workers, and the arrangement of furniture and choice of materials on their own.

What are the mistakes made by non-professionals?

Most often, beginners forget or incorrectly place outlets, lights and doors. Here are a few of the most common mistakes, study them and do not repeat them in your projects.


  1. The door bangs against cabinets and furniture when opening or doesn’t open all the way because something is standing next to it.
  2. The door hits a light fixture that hangs too low.
  3. The door is too small or too big because the dimensions of the openings were not calculated accurately.
  4. Door trims (strips that cover the end walls of the doorway) in the bathroom are small because they forgot to add the thickness of the tiles to the wall thickness when measuring.

Switches and outlets:

  1. The light switch is too close to or behind a corner / piece of furniture / door.
  2. The socket is too high or too low.
  3. Cutting through load-bearing walls for switches and outlets.
  4. Bathroom outlets do not match the tile layout.
  5. Too few outlets.


  1. Fixtures hang too low.
  2. Low light.
  3. Light too bright or too cold (office).
  4. No lighting on the loggia/balcony.

Perhaps the most dangerous mistake of those who want to do the renovation by themselves is to start the construction work before the design project is ready. Every alteration and mistake in the repair process costs money.

Before you start creating your own design project, take a look at how professional designers do it. Decide for yourself whether you have enough free time and energy to see it through. Remember that in some cases it is better to turn to a professional.

How to measure accurately

Before taking measurements, get a floor plan. You can get it from the website of the builder or in the technical passport of the apartment. You can also get a plan from the Bureau of Technical Inventory. This procedure will take time, but you still have to do it if you will coordinate the redevelopment. If you can not find a plan, the outline of the room can be drawn by hand.

Take with you on the measurements: a pre-printed plan in multiple copies, blank paper, a pair of pencils, a hard folder, so you do not make notes on the weight, and a tape measure. An electronic tape measure will help you get accurate measurements of long spans as well as measuring ceiling heights. A regular tape measure will be good for short distances.

What you need to measure. To avoid taking measurements twice, measure even what you are going to demolish or remodel:

  • All wall dimensions and wall thickness.
  • All heights: walls, ceilings, window openings, doors, and niches.
  • All protruding objects: radiators, window sills, ventilation outlets, risers. It is necessary to note their dimensions, at what height from the floor and walls they are. On the plan also show faucets, supply points and outgoing pipes.
  • Conclusions of communications, as well as everything that is in the apartment at the time of measurement: electrical switchboard, ventilation pipes, partitions.

Consistency. In order not to forget what you have already measured and what you have not, first go over all horizontal surfaces, then go over the vertical surfaces. To check, measure the diagonals of the room with an electronic tape measure. When you are done with walls, ceilings, windows and doors, move on to the utilities.

Be sure to take pictures of the apartment in sunlight. To avoid confusion, from where the photo was taken, mark the points where you were standing on a separate plan. Start measuring from the entrance and move clockwise. This way you can reconstruct the sequence of the photo, even if you lose the plan with the marks.

Figuring out the functionality

The next step is to determine the functionality of each room. After all, the interior should meet not only your aesthetic desires, but also your lifestyle.

At this stage it is important to understand what exactly you want, what attracts you, and what, conversely, discourages you. Understand this will help the answers to the following questions:

1. What solutions like in the current interior?

Lighting inside the closet: I can dress in the dark and not wake up the house.

2. What seemed comfortable in hotels or in guests?

When vacationing in Berlin, I liked how in the apartment a shelving unit separated the dining table from the bedroom. This decision saved the small room.

3. Are you satisfied with the existing storage system?

No. The closets are cluttered, with nowhere to put the ironing board and mountain skis.

4. What won’t you live without?

Don’t tick the obvious things like the kitchen and bathroom here. Think about it, can you give up a bed in favor of a sofa?

A bed so my back doesn’t hurt, and a desk with a computer because I work from home.

5. Describe your daily routine.

Write the answers to these questions on a separate sheet. As you work on your notes, you’ll figure out what’s important to you and what you should pay special attention to.

To figure out what kind of furniture you’ll need, write right on the plan what you plan to do in each of the rooms. Then prioritize the rooms. If the living room is going to host guests or a workout with a fitness ball, there should be enough space.

What counts as remodeling

If you weren’t able to fit everything in your apartment in the previous paragraph, remodeling can help. But keep in mind that this will take time and become an additional expense. Redesigns need to be officially approved, and it is important to get permission before you start work, so you do not have to redo everything later.

Five actions that do not require approval:

  • Replacing finishings on walls, floors, and ceilings.
  • Installation of built-in furniture, such as cabinets and mezzanines, which do not form separate rooms.
  • Replacement of equipment with similar parameters and technical devices: you can replace one model of toilet with another.
  • Rearrangement of floor electric stoves within the dimensions of the kitchen room. Gas stoves often require approval.
  • Installation of antennas, safety nets and air conditioning units on the facades of apartment buildings. This also includes the replacement of windows and plastic structures of balconies and loggias.
design project

Where to make drawings

The next step is to make a plan of furniture arrangement. Designers usually do it in professional drafting programs. But there are also simple online products that do not require special skills to master, such as SketchUp. It’s a free planner for making technical drawings. The planner has templates and samples for any room.

Here you can make all the necessary drawings: planning solution, arrangement of furniture, flooring, ceilings and wall coverings, layout of lighting, outlets and electricity. But to download or print drawings for workers, you will need a pro-account.

First, enter into the program the dimensions you got from the measurements. Then take a sheet with a description of the daily routine and a list of things without which you will not live – find a place for them first.

How to correctly arrange the furniture

The Internet is full of advice on this subject. Designers offer to arrange large objects first, then small objects, to group objects according to their purpose, and not to arrange the furniture along the walls and in the corners. But in creating an interior, it is important to focus not on formal rules, but on your own preferences. Universal advice – follow the rules of ergonomics. To do this, when arranging furniture, consider the minimum distances between objects, walls and passageways. Below are the figures for the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

How to visualize the interior without Photoshop and 3ds Max

The best solution for the beginner is collages. Do not underestimate them, collages are also used by professionals. Make a collage of each room separately and put absolutely all the items that will be in the room, from the couch and fixtures to baseboards and outlets.

The simplest collage is a paper collage. For it you will need magazines, from which you will choose your favorite items, as well as printouts, scissors and glue. The rest is just like in school classes.

Tip – keep the proportionality of objects in a collage.

If you do not like this method, there are two simple programs that can quickly and easily make a collage.

PowerPoint. If you do not have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, there is an online copy of Slides from Google. The principle of creating collages in PowerPoint is simple: add pictures to the slide, move and scale. The Microsoft version has the ability to automatically remove the white background around objects. The advantage of the online version is that you can share a link, you can open it and make collages as a family.

Houzz Sketch. A free tool for creating collages and gathering ideas based on the Houzz portal. Registration is required to start using it. Available both in a browser and mobile app. The functionality allows you to leave marks on photos, make collages of multiple images, add furniture and accessories without backgrounds from the resource base. It’s also possible to open access to collages to edit them together in real time. Handy if you’ve been collecting ideas on Houzz.

As you head out to measure, don’t forget a printed outline, pencils, hard folder and tape measures. Measure all horizontal surfaces first, and then measure vertical surfaces. Finally, take a photo of the apartment to restore the location of partitions, windows and doors, if you forget to mark something on the plan.

The easiest way to visualize – collage. You can make it with paper clippings or online: in Google Slides and Houzz Sketch. Add everything from flooring to spotlights to the image. To make the image look realistic, make sure the objects are proportional.