How to settle on a design theme for your room

The window shopping alone already makes the process exciting.



Staying at home for the most part meant that I had more time to survey my room and realise it needed an update. 😬


I do not have the budget for a makeover, but changing the layout or moving the furniture around can make a difference. At least I hope.


gray bedroom design theme
I wish

Plus decluttering and getting rid of stuff I don’t need anymore, or I’d totally forgotten about, helps.


The fun part is thinking about a design theme, if at all possible. Even a simple one at this point sounds exciting.


“Looking for inspiration” is another cool part of this process, says Clara Chok, the digital marketer of HipVan – an online furniture store in Singapore founded in 2013.


“Whether it’s browsing Pinterest for hours or going to showrooms and pretending you live there (shoutout to the new HipVan showroom opening soon at Suntec),” she adds, “at this stage the possibilities are limitless so it’s exciting to be able to imagine and visualise it.”


Speaking of online stores and showrooms (theirs is set to open this July), HipVan features over 5,000 quality designs (and counting) at affordable prices. Customers can conveniently shop for pieces by room (be it living, dining, bedroom, home office or kitchen) or furniture type (like sofas, mattresses, lighting and more) to suit the theme and aesthetic they’re looking for – be it modern, minimalist, industrial, bohemian or country. HipVan also offers appliances and electronics, homeware and accessories, and soft furnishings.


There’s already plenty to inspire you from just one shop, so start there! Look at those nearby if you’re pressed for time.



Decision time

So how can we ultimately choose a theme that’s right for us, and suits us?


“I believe this requires a lot of self-reflection,” Clara answers. “We usually tend to gravitate towards certain themes and designs for our aesthetics, but you need to think about what you need and how will you live in the space you create as well.”


Read on for more of her tips:


#1 Look around

“Make sure you really explore and see what’s out there before you settle on a theme – you don’t want to pick one and then happen across another that you really love, and feel any regret.”


From me: Read articles on people’s experiences and lessons learnt, so you hopefully don’t make the same mistakes. 😬


#2 No worries

“Don’t put too much pressure on the decision! This is always a simultaneously fun and stressful process, but sometimes you just need to step back and take a breath. You can always switch it up as you go along if there’s anything you don’t like.”


#3 Put yourself first

“You’re the one living there, after all! At the end of the day, it’s your opinion that matters the most, so whatever you think will work for you, do that.”


But before you go any further

You also need props. To help you achieve the above four and see your vision become a reality (or something close to it), these creative tools can help:


#1 A mood board

“A great mood board will be your best friend,” Clara says. “Whether it’s digital or physical, it’s good to have something to refer back to whenever you are making a decision.”


It can be anything – like a cork board where you can tack fabrics, photos, illustrations, colours, cutouts and even inspirational quotes. Your wall. You can also use a notebook; it’s easier to carry with you and bring along.


mood board
It's getting clearer

#2 An Excel spreadsheet

Yup, you read that right. “As boring as it is, an Excel spreadsheet is great for making sure you stay on track when it comes to the budget. You’ll be able to see what you can and can’t get to fit your theme. After all, it’s tough to achieve a full look when you’ve spent all your money on the sofa,” Clara points out.


“Make use of people who know what to do. Whether it’s interior designers or showroom staff, they’ve helped plenty of people before you and will be able to put you on the right path. Just make sure you’re clear with what you want – here’s where that mood board might come in handy!”


#3 Small touches that count

“Whatever suits your personality, and will make the space feel like home for you – whether that’s a photo of your family or your favourite cat figurine from a past holiday.”


“Unfinished” is okay

Clara still urges caution: Take things step by step, or piece by piece. “Before you fill your home with things you might not need, you should live in it first,” she suggests. “It can be a work in progress! You don’t want to buy that cute side table and then end up never using it. You want to realise that you nap on the sofa a lot and then buy a throw to make it cosier.”


Besides, change is good. And a newly (or partially) furnished room with a theme we love can contribute greatly to our mood and well-being.


“When you have a home that is personal to you, and suited to how you live, that can be a game changer. Our environment and what we surround ourselves with can affect us so much,” she observes.


“Having a separate designated space to relax, work or have fun in your home will really help you stay balanced and live a healthier lifestyle. It can put you in the right mindset to take care of your physical and mental health.”


Noted. But maybe I should clean up my room first. 😊


Find HipVan on Facebook and Instagram.