March 03, 2020 5 min read

Designing with Intent

The interior design experience can be a true process of reflection. One where you really get to know yourself, your needs, and what purpose is required for your space. When you begin the early process of a home renovation, I encourage you not only to ask what is important to you, but how can your space best serve you. What currently isn’t working, and how could it function better? What elements are important to display that reflect you and your family’s lifestyle?

Consider how you want your space to feel. What do you want to surround yourself with and what mood should each space convey? There is no wrong answer as it is personal to each client project, but there is a way to pull it together effectively. When you focus on these intentional steps within your design to determine what is most important, the process will be much less overwhelming once you start to bring paint colours and fixtures into the mix. I have put together some tips to walk you through what a well-thought and intentional design looks like, to ensure the result is a true reflection of yourself and all you had planned for.

Step One – Define your phrases

One of the first steps within my design process when I narrow down concept, is, I will pull some key phrases that the homeowners have expressed are important to them. Whether it be visual, functional, or a feeling; Narrowing down these descriptive words are important. For example, for a bathroom renovation we might narrow down ‘Tranquil, Modern, Zen’ or ‘Bright, Airy, Farmhouse, Industrial’. For your kitchen you may prefer ‘Rich, Warm, Inviting, Entertaining’. Keep these words as the theme of your direction and find visual examples to communicate the look you are after. Begin searching with your defining words and save your favorite images to further define your vision with a mood board. Once you have connected the dots visually, it becomes easier to narrow down colours and finishes that speak to you and the look you are after within your own space.

Step Two – Find your focal point

Once you have your style direction sorted, I suggest finding a statement piece that represents your vision to build around. Pull colours and tones from this focal point to connect it to the rest of the room. This ensures you are building a scheme not only through something of value, but one that you simply love. Maybe it is a piece of art that you already own and had collected on your travels, or a beautiful wallcovering that makes your feel cheerful or relaxed every time you see it. Starting with your focal point ensures you are leading the way with intention and guarantees the rest to flow.

Step Three – Find the true purpose and use for each space

Designing with intent is not only about personalizing your space within the scheme but adding purpose and function to each area to suit your lifestyle and needs. If your intent is to build a kitchen that is best for entertaining and gathering, does your layout allow for a functional workspace between the working triangle (i.e. flow between the fridge, cooktop, and sink)? Is there enough room for guests to comfortably visit while the space is in use? We all know the kitchen is the heart of the home but does yours include an open concept feel that allows time to connect when guests are around? If your space requires reconfiguration to achieve these goals, consider how you like to work between stations. Who else might be in the kitchen at the same time, and where would your most-often used items be located for ease of use?

If the goal of your living room is to create a cozy gathering space for family to connect, does your layout encourage comfortable conversation with its current furniture configuration? Try repositioning or investing in new pieces that will encourage guests to face each other while seated where possible, while avoiding anything obstructing the walkway or flow.

Step Four –Sentimental value within accessories and décor

You may want to consider what elements you currently own that are important to you and that you wish to incorporate or display. Perhaps you have collected items along the way of your travels throughout the years, or you have a box of family photos currently tucked away collecting dust. There are many opportunities to mix your items of sentiment into your design within open cabinet displays, mantles, layering into open shelves or even propping a small sculptural item on top of a gorgeous coffee table book.

One of my most favorite personalized and sentimental décor elements is the infamous gallery wall. Depending on the feel you are going for, you can mix and match frame materials and sizes for a more eclectic look, or keep everything in line and symmetrical for a bold and sophisticated feel. Gallery walls are a great way to mix in family photos and important moments that might feel awkward hanging on the wall by itself. I always like to bring in a mix of art and prints that suit the overall esthetic and layer in family photos, images of pets, even your wedding vows or first dance lyrics for a special touch.

A famous quote by William Morris states "Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." This brings us back to designing with purpose, considering what you choose to surround yourself with and ensuring you have personalized details that resonate with you. When you bring intent into your space and understand a clear vision in order to achieve your style and function goals, the result will be a beautiful home that represents you and is personalized to suit your every need.

Meet The Expert

Hannah Katey Berger is the owner and Principal Interior Designer of Hannah Katey Interior Design located in the heart of Kelowna, BC. With over 10 years of experience in the design industry, Hannah prides her work for being tasteful, timeless, and as unique as each individual client she has the privilege of working with. Hannah started her design business in December 2018, where she offers a range of interior design services catering to both residential and commercial projects. Her style is best described as classic yet edgy, organic yet polished. She believes contrast and balance is everything in a design, and lives by these rules at work and at home.

Photo credits: 1. HK Interior Design, 2. & 4. C Woods Photography/, 3., 5. ephst/

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