The first thing you should always do when planning a room - according to an interiors expert

It's all about the 'feel factor'

So, you're giving your outdated living room a makeover - do you start with paint colour or the all-important sofa? Interiors writer Arlyn Hernandez has shared what she views as the crucial first step for planning a room.

It's bigger than settling on a flooring design or a light fitting, it's all about starting with how you want a room to feel.

Related: 32 grey living room ideas – from pale hues to deep charcoals for creating gorgeous spaces

'I've heard a lot of designers say to start with an anchor piece. Something that really gets your blood pumping through your veins.' Arlyn says. 'While I don't necessarily disagree, I prefer to start with identifying how you want a room to make you feel.'

room with wooden flooring and chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Arlyn Hernandez advice for planning a room

'Don't worry about style, don't worry about colours, don't worry about floor plans. How do you want to feel when you're standing in the space? Is it a room that you want to unwind in? A room that you want to have all your friends in, around the table for hours laughing?'

'It's a bit lofty and intangible but once you identify that feel factor, it's so much easier to make decisions on things.'

room with dark wall and table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

'For instance, if you've decided you want your bedroom to energise you, make you excited to jump out of bed in the morning, you might want to avoid anything too dark or overly moody. It might look good to your eye, but if it doesn't speak to how you want the space to serve you, you know to shift gears.'

Equally, if you struggle with sleep, making a space that's as calming and ordered as possible will be more conducive to getting enough rest.

room with pink wall and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future plc)

Taking an 'anchor', such as bold patterned wallpaper trend that makes your heart sing as the starting point for your colour palette can help to make a cohesive scheme. But while your home should be filled with things you love to look at, it should also support your lifestyle.

As Arlyn says, it's worth slowing down and thinking about what you need from the spaces in your home before getting bogged down in paint samples.

Related: Next Home’s new service promises to help design your dream home on a budget

Arlyn Hernandez spent thirteen years writing about homes before launching Arlyn Says. She has a Skillshare course on called Interior Design: Create a Plan For Your Perfect Room.

Will you be taking her advice?

Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.