Design starts with defining the problem or goal. This is the foundation that the design will be built upon, and it can open or close doors to the possibilities. It’s important to not jump into solving the problem before taking the time to define the core goals. This means taking time to talk, ask questions and think about what’s important. Less defined goals can be more helpful at the beginning — for example considering values such as privacy, gathering, relationship to the outdoors, lively space versus quiet space, cozy versus grand scale, etc. — these can help get to the core of what you value in particular when creating spaces, and help the spaces come together in a logical way for you.
Design can organize complex, sometimes conflicting aspects of a problem and guide the way to a good solution. Often the conflicting pieces can be the opportunity to create something unique to you, especially when guided by the core values discovered at the beginning.