The first rule of design is: Form follows function. This means, you have to know what the room's purpose is before you start building. If you build first, then decide what to use it for after, chances are it won't be successful. So first come up with an idea of what you want your room to do. Whether it be a hang out room, a ride room, a game room or a quest room.
The next thing you need to decide on, is a theme. Now a theme can be anything from color, concept or style.
Color themes mean you are designing your room based on a single color throughout all the items you use or a select few colors that match. No matter what your theme, color is an important factor in designing a room. It sets the mood and moves the eye around. Colors affect the way we view things. For examples, we get a cool and calming feeling from seeing blues. A more active and alert feeling from seeing reds. If you want your room to feel like a relaxing and calm place, you want to stay more towards the blues and lighter colors. If you want to attract attention to certain area of the room, you use mostly blues and neutral colors (like gray or brown) for most of the room and then the area you want to highlight, use brighter colors such as red or yellow.
Many players like to have a concept to their room. Some sort of central idea of what the room is about. For example, they want to create a little town, a fish tank, or a forest. Perhaps they want to build a giant crocodile or Yavn statue. These are all concepts that definitely need to be decided before you start. It's important to know how much space you'll need, which room to choose to build in that would best fit your concept and what materials you'll need to build.
Sometimes the name of the game is style. Perhaps you want to build a room using only Fantasyland furniture. There is a certain look that all those similar themed furniture have.
Once you have your ideas down, you need to plan on what you will need. Most of the time when you build you will underestimate the amount of necessary building materials. It's always better to have more than less. Chances are that if you think you have enough, you probably don't. So make sure you have more credits than you think you'll need.
It's VERY very important to know how much space the room you've decided upon has. I like to always figure out first where I want things to be placed before putting anything down. Then count out the spaces in the room where I can place things and then I will already know if I'm okay to do what I plan or not. Otherwise you end up spending a lot of useless energy placing things, only to remove them again and place them down a second time.
When you design your room, you want to keep in mind that unlike reality, the players who visit will not really get the experience of "walking" around the room. The first impression will be a visual one. So you want to make your room look interesting. A flat room is boring and static. A room with multiple levels, different perspectives and unusual use of furniture makes for something dynamic and attractive. Over the last year, VMK has given us furniture which allows us to build up as well as look past, such as palm and space posts. Use these items to your advantage by building higher levels in the foreground and lower ones in the background. Sometimes you can alter a person's perspective by hiding the fact that items are in the background and rather look like they are directly underneath another item. Remember, it's a visual experience...as the designer, you create what they see.
Another fun and creative thing to do is to alter the look of a furniture item. You can hide half of the item and expose the other half making it a new item. For example, the camp fire. Perhaps you want a blizzard rock on fire. Put a smaller blizzard rock with a camp fire on top of it. Then place a larger blizzard rock in front of it and now the rock in front looks like it has a flaming top.
But as you build, remember to keep in mind the first rule I mentioned at the beginning. Form follows function. Remember you want players to be able to move around in your rooms. If all they can do is stand at the entrance, they will not stay very long. If players get frustrated trying to walk around your room, they will leave. If your room is a game room that looks beautiful but your game doesn't work, players will not like it.
Along those same lines, there's a misconception that your room needs to be overflowing with furniture to look great. But that is not true. Empty space can play a huge factor in design. It all depends on how you use it. A thing to also factor into your design is when you keep your rooms open. Many of my rooms are open during the closing hour. So I tend to always have an area of just open floor because many players like to do a closing dance. And to do that, you need to have a dance floor.
Sometimes it's difficult to come up with ideas. Sometimes you have an idea but don't know how to make it work. It doesn't hurt to walk around other guest rooms and see what they've done. Remember, you'll looking for ideas and solutions, not looking to copy somebody else. Sometimes you'll see something another player has done and realize, that could work for what I'm trying to do. Or perhaps it will give you an idea to do something similar with a different item.
After you build your room, you need to of course get people to come visit. The first and most important thing is to have an eye-catching title and description. If your title is "My Room" and description reads "Come visit." Good luck getting anybody to visit. Try to be creative and come up with something that will make the other players curious. You also don't want to be too descriptive. You want to get them to see what you have built. Perhaps you have Donald Duck themed room, but a player doesn't like Donald Duck. They may already be turned off when they see his name. If they see a room that's about a duck in general, they may be curious and just pop in to see. Regardless if they stay, it's still traffic to your room.
Once you have people in your room, you want to give them a reason to stay. You want to get them to invite. But you want to be subtle about it. If the first thing you say to them is "pls invite", then they know off the bat what your objective is. And that shouldn't be your objective really. Greet them and ask how they are doing. Be friendly and open. Laying down rules right away isn't probably a good idea either. This means saying, "Hi, no trades, baby or taken pls" the minute they walk in. If I walked into that kind of a greeting, I'd walk right back out. When it comes to the more serious issues such as inviting, what you don't want happening in your room, etc., you want to be subtle about it. Wait until somebody does do something you don't want happening, and then address the whole room. You have reason to bring it up...it's not just out of the blue.
Furthermore, don't make judgements about people. And treat everybody with equal respect regardless of who they are or what they are doing. If somebody is causing trouble, don't start a fight with them or announce to the whole room you are booting them. Simply just boot them. Or if you're feeling extra nice, give them a warning and chance to stop whatever it is they are doing. If somebody comes in begging for free stuff, simply tell them you don't allow that in your room. Should they continue, boot them. Do not make a big deal about it. Guests will see that you still maintain your respect for visitors and that will go over well with inviting others to come.
My last bit of advice, creation is an ongoing process. A room is never truly finished. I am constantly adding, moving, redoing my rooms. New stuff comes out every so often and sometimes you realize, hey, that would look cool in this or that room. People who have visited before always like change. And I'm not talking about drastic changes. The changes could be subtle and still make an impact. So keep an open mind and never think anything is final. A little bit can go a long way.
Remember always to have fun with what you are doing. If you're not having fun, it's probably not worth it. When it comes to creating, the fun you have is reflected in your finished product and visitors see this. See you in VMK!