Help yourself with cut-outs and images that portray the feeling you want to create. Make a mood board. My most important suggestion to you here is: do not try to do too many things. Choose 1 style and 1 range of colours. It's probably not the last time you get to do this. Also, if redoing many rooms at the same time, keep the style and mood similar (eg. NY loft style or Art Deco/Hollywood 40s), but do use different colour schemes in different rooms.
2. Identify 1 or 2 key pieces you want / have to work with
Oftentimes there is something you are stuck with, either a sofa or piece of furniture you cannot afford to replace and more than often you have, eg. a floor material that is just what it is. In this instance, say you have oak flooring with a natural lacquered surface and an inherited wooden cabinet in a terrible brown colour.
In the nicer instances, you may have set your eyes on that 1 piece of furniture - perhaps that's what got you started thinking of an update in the first place..? Let's say that it's a fabulous sofa, but you can choose the fabric.
3. Identify the things you cannot keep in order to stick to your style scheme
I cannot emphasize this point enough. It is of course no disaster if you are completely incapable of getting rid of those items, may it's that poster on your wall or the coffee table that is so practical. Keep it. But forget making it work! Doing an interior well means putting those odd bits on ebay and move on.
4. List your needs and set a budget
So difficult and near impossible you say. But we generally know if we can spend 30.000kr or 300.000kr. To make it easier, list all the items you will need: sofa, coffee table, side table perhaps, armchair, tv, tv-unit to put it on, ceiling lighting, floor lamp, painting/something on the wall, rug and curtains. Perhaps a bookshelf? Ask yourself the questions you need to know to source the correct pieces and dimensions. What is the maximum size of your sofa that will fit? How large will the rug need to be not to look ridiculous? Take help of a floor plan if needed!
5. Make a calculation
Is your dream bigger than your wallet? If you want to do this successfully and your answer is no, follow my advise and wait until you can, or adjust the dream. Don't buy that expensive sofa unless you can make it work. Otherwise it will be just another odd piece. My input here is that style is not necessarily expensive, but if you create a home out of solely cheap junk, your home will look and be -- not surprisingly -- cheap and full of junk. There are very talented interior designers who can pull it off mixing new with the odd thrift bargain, but unless you have a talent for it, go easy!
6. Put together your living room
Now comes the real fun. I add my own little tips and ways to work with budgets.
The oak floors determine that you have 2 colours to choose from for the sofa to make your scheme work, and you source a beautiful armchair in a patterned fabric. You find a sumptuous fabric for the curtains which makes the sofa and floors marry nicely, and you choose poles from a local textile shop. A seamstress can have them done up for you, or if you are lucky someone in your family is handy with the sewing machine - or perhaps even yourself? That inherited cabinet gets a good sanding down and a new coat of paint in a fun accent colour. The walls get a lick of paint with a softer tone than the stark white it currently is. The tv-unit you make a fab find on an auction site and you manage to source a coffee table at an online furniture shop. A great vintage poster gets a total make-over by a professional framing company and some good money of the budget is spent on a rug to frame the concept. The lighting is - in my opinion - one of the key items to make a concept work. Look online and visit shops. Restaurants and hotel lobbies are great sources of inspiration, and of course magazines. A great lamp will cover many decorating sins. HE
There you have it. That is my job, and now I gave it all away :) Kidding aside -- we are here if you need assistance, help with your inspiration, or even help in form of consultation (we charge by the hour). If the entire process is beyond you or something you do not find inspiring, we would of course be delighted to do the project for you!