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How to Design Your Room {When You’re Not a Designer}

Simple tips to design your room, without a room design app, software or any experience!

modern farmhouse tour filled with easy diy projects and decorating ideas

I am not a designer, I am merely a design enthusiast that loves decorating our homes for our family. Through the years, I’ve found several ways to make design easier, even foolproof.

You may be surprised to read this, but you don’t need a room design app or special software to design your room. Sure, that fancy software can be nice, but I find it to be so intimidating.

How to design your room:

Determine your style.

Use catalogs and magazines as your guide. Study room layouts and consider what might work well in yours.

Pin your favorites to a board dedicated to the space, then pare it down. Ask yourself common themes that you see among them all.

Use Microsoft Word. While it’s nice to have fancy design software or a room designer, it’s not required! In fact, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to use one! Instead, I determine everything for how pieces coordinate with one another to room layout in Microsoft Word. See more on how I do this below!


Cut and paste photos, fabrics and more onto foam board. There’s nothing like doing things the old fashioned way and you can see and feel how colors and textures play together.

Measure. Knowing the dimensions of a room can help ensure you purchase pieces to scale.

Shop!  You can read about how to get the same piece/look for less here, or shop via my curated online store here! Be sure to check dimensions before you purchase and consider how they play into your room measurements.

modern bath

Room design without software:

Create a new folder on your desktop.

Find the images you want to use. Drag and drop them into the folder or right click to save image to the folder. {Remember, these are for your personal use only as they are copyrighted}.

Create a new Word Document and if needed, change page layout to landscape.

Individually drag and drop each image one by one to the document. Crop images if needed and change the format to “in front of text”.

Once all of your images are in your document, resize and rearrange as needed.


You can see how the room layout will work, how patterns, textures and colors look together as well. I do this for every room I design from “scratch” {rather than along the way} or before making big purchases.

modern bedroom

You can see an example here – above is how I designed the lake cottage guest bedroom. I played around with it on Word until I loved the design. I included the rug, furniture, a couple accessories, textiles and paint color. You can see how it came to fruition below…

the look for less - a Serena and Lily inspired bedroom

I changed the orientation of the rug, selected a different lamp {the one I originally chose wasn’t available soon enough}, added bamboo shades, a drum shade pendant light and a piece of art.

tips to get the look for less luxury home for less

This method makes designing nearly foolproof!

What do you think? Have you designed this way or will you try it?

entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner





14 comments on “How to Design Your Room {When You’re Not a Designer}”

  1. Wow! This is such a great idea. Can’t wait to try this.

  2. Same idea, but we use Pinterest by rooms in our house and edit out photos into more generic boards by rooms. Then we take the photos out and use them in PowerPoint to create decks of the entire house with links to the original source so we can easily track changes and manage text easily. 

  3. Ballard has a great website with a section “How to Decorate” with lots of great information.  They also have a very helpful “Room Planner” where you can input your room dimensions, measurements of your furniture, move things around, measure spaces, etc.  We are building a house, and this is a very useful tool.

    I really enjoy your blog with so many beautiful images.  Love your kitchen, your flowers, design tips, etc.

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  4. This is great information. When a large scale organization gets ready to do a redesign they do a lot of these. Using a board to attach fabrics, paint samples and the like is key to knowing how it will all look when it is put together. Thank you for sharing your great tips.

  5. I gather paint and fabric samples to get a feel for how colors and patterns are going to match, but as far as moving the furniture around, I measure everything – the room and every piece that is going to be in it. I put it all on graph paper, then move it around until I’m satisfied. I’m really old school! 

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