The importance of storytelling in interior design

While practical considerations in home renovation are fundamentally important, a storytelling approach can serve to add deeper meaning and personalisation to your space. ROOOT Studio tells you how.

You may have come across the terms ‘design narrative’ or ‘storytelling in design’ as you go about your home renovation, but what exactly is storytelling in interior design, and how can it make a difference to your home? ROOOT Studio offers the answers.

The aptly named ‘Diamond in the Rough’ project was based on the owners’ contrasting preferences – the wife loves a polished look while the husband has a penchant for raw, industrial design

What is storytelling in interior design?

In a nutshell, storytelling is the connection between ideas and spatial experience through construction methods. This connection is an attempt to create emotional meanings for the end user, while still embracing functionality and visual sensation.

Diamond in the Rough project

Why is this important?

It is important in our current era because more often than not, designs today are driven by the needs of functionality and aesthetics. It results in a lack of individual expression and narration, and eventually becomes a space without a story and an empty shell without soul.

An interior space that is driven by design narrative explores the eternity in nature and is not limited by current technology, materials, culture, trends, etc. Only with this approach can the design withstand time and be timeless. Storytelling in interior design helps to develop unique ideas, evoke meaningful experiences and create a new perspective of space.

The coastal-inspired design of this ‘Living by the Bay’ project was driven by the owners’ love for scuba-diving

What is the process for creating a design narrative?

Intention –> Intuition –> Implementation

Intent must be articulated to express meaning and bring a phenomenal experience to the user. The first intention of creating spaces is joy. We discover what is the thing that can bring joy to the client.

Intuition is the key to differentiate interior design as an art instead of engineering. With intuition, we construct ideas that have emotional meaning and yet without neglecting functionality. The approach is an integration between feeling, intuition, and conceptual and rational thinking.

Implementation comes at the ending stage of the process of an idea. It is on the verge of becoming a physical form before going through the measurable means of construction and is the realisation of intuition. It is a circular process in which an idea is drawn up, tried out, reconsidered, reworked and then going back to the initial stage in a repeated cycle through 3D modelling, prototyping, sketches, etc.

Living by the Bay project

What are the components to telling a compelling story through design?

We have a set of questionnaires that cover the main components. They are as follows:

1) What do you need? (mostly centred on functional requirements in different spaces)
2) What do you desire? (mostly about design preferences and covering different aspects: form, materials, style, colour, etc)
3) Who are you? (about your lifestyle, and things that are important to you)

‘Peak My Interest’ was a project inspired by the owners’ love for hiking

With these components, we will explore and discover the essence of the project through keyword finding. We believe that if interior design is to be more than just a shelter and is to have meaning, then written language must occupy an equivalent space within the spatial environment. The keywords will drive the concept of the project through mind mapping that connect and cover all aspects of the questionnaires.

A story title is also created to sum up these keywords and serves to give an overview of the design.

Peak My Interest project

About ROOOT Studio
ROOOT Studio undertakes a narrative-driven approach by intertwining storytelling with interior design to reinvent spaces and present them in a new light as a meaningful and unique spatial experience.

Since its inception in 2014, ROOOT Studio has managed numerous projects, spanning across the residential, commercial and hospitality sectors. The firm collaborates closely with its contractors to provide an integrated design and seamless project delivery.

ROOOT Studio is fully involved in all stages of design construction – from design conceptualisation to design development, project management and interior styling. This involvement is the cornerstone of the firm’s excellence as it aspires to evoke positive emotions within its clients throughout the different phases of the project.

ROOOT Studio


Lobell J & Kahn L I (2008), Between silence and light: spirit in the architecture of Louis I. Kahn. 2nd Ed. Boston: Shambhala

Holl S (2002), Steven Holl: idea and phenomena. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller


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