1. Usage. How are you going to use the space? Is this a room for relaxation? Is this a family gathering place? Once you decide what purpose the room should serve, then you can go about deciding materials. For example if you have dogs that come in and out of the house from the kitchen, avoid carpeting near that area.
2. Population. How many people will generally be using the room? Think of the most people that will be accommodated there on a regular basis. This will dictate the type of furniture you have and how much you have. Where will people sit? Is there a table to put things on?
3. What is the traffic flow of the room? Where will people be entering and exiting from? Make sure not to block natural walkways in a room, making it awkward to access spaces.
4. Lighting. Does the room have a lot of windows that will provide natural lighting? Where are places that will need light during the evening? Think about where someone might read a book or do a crossword puzzle or homework. Is there overhead lighting or will a lamp work? Do you have art that is going to need overhead lighting? Knowing how the room will be laid out, including furniture, will help with wiring the room.
5. Electrical outlets. Today everything is plugged in. Past are the days where one or two outlets would suffice in a room. How many plugs does the entertainment system need? Are there plugs near sofas for people to charge iPads or phones? When thinking about electrical outlets, also think about how to integrate them into a room, so you don’t end up with a white outlet cover in a room that’s painted deep blue.
6. Accessories. What accessories will be in the room? Will you have central air that helps purify the air or will you need an air purifier? If so, is there a way to build in an area to conceal devices so you don’t have the purifier sitting in the middle of the room.
7. Furniture. Choose furniture that is comfortable. If this is a room you will be spending a lot of time in. Be sure there is somewhere you can put your feet up, that the television is at the right height to not strain your neck, that natural light can be blocked when necessary to avoid glare and eyestrain when working on a computer or watching a movie.
8. Music. Do you want speakers to be part of the ‘show’ of the room, or would you rather have speakers wired into the walls?
9. Luxury. Allow yourself a little luxury in every room. Whether it’s a color or a fabric or a material. Let your personality come out and make each room a place you enjoy spending time in.
10. Help. You don’t have to design a room alone. Use an interior designer. If you can’t afford one, then use the Internet to get inspiration for colors and furniture. Try out furniture before you buy it so you know it’s comfortable. Consult your general contractor. He/she has most likely seen a few houses and may have some intuitive ideas you haven’t thought of.
Remember, this is your living space. If you have to spend a little more to get it right the first time, it’s a lot better than spending twice the amount to fix something or retrofit it after construction is done.