Recently I had the opportunity to go house hunting with my goddaughter and her fiance. Well, it wasn’t so much a hunt as a viewing on a house that they were considering purchasing. An older home built in the 1970’s with all the fine seventies design elements still intact! Which means, no updates had been done! Yet the house had a nice feel. Quite spacious for the asking price with a nice flow of rooms. There was a cute front porch and foyer with nice wood trim on the staircase. The kitchen and bathrooms were pretty dated though and would require lots of expensive modifications to bring it into the 21st century! After a home inspection and a few drama-filled days, they ended up walking away from the home, deciding it would be a money pit in the end.
Although they were a bit broken hearted, for me, the experience was a good reminder of what many of our clients face…. when it comes to our homes, many of us have a long wish list with a budget that requires more money, and patience, than we would like! Trying to prioritize that list can be a challenge. Most of us want to go for the bling before the base, but I’ve found from my personal experiences, that can lead to some very expensive mistakes! Just as in building a home from the ground up, you must start with the foundation… in redecorating, the same is true!
I’ve found that there is an order to the process that is logical, but sometimes overlooked. It’s easy to get stuck on certain parts of the design before laying the groundwork for the completed project. If your goal is to have your design “flow”… so that the first visual is an overall pleasing picture, (vs noticing the individual items first) then connecting the elements is important. Let me be clear. I’m not talking “matchy-matchy” here. I’m referring to the common threads that weave that “pleasing picture” together. The subtle repeating of a shape or color. Or maybe the proper placement of metallic accents in a room filled with the warmth of wood. These light-handed design features can have a big impact!
One other common struggle I see, is finding the starting line. It’s easy to get a Pinterest board filled with ideas but committing to that first buy or big decision is rough. My suggestion… start with something you LOVE. Something that you won’t question a few years down the road. Or something you love because it has meaning to you. It doesn’t have to be perfect or trendy, or even the focal point of the room. Just something that makes you happy when you see it. Start your design there! It can give you the direction for your color palette or even the entire style of the room. I used to love a commercial that was out years ago, where a woman walks into a architect’s office and plunks a beautiful faucet down on his desk and says, “Design a home around this”. The commercial was meant to make a statement on the high design of the hardware, but in my book, it was the basis of how design works! Start with something you LOVE!
But, with that being said, I know there are two sides to every story. The other side, in this case, is the person who just wants a beautiful room, wants it done NOW and is willing to let someone else take control! But even these folks come with guidelines and parameters. If you’re the kind of person who would rather let someone else make the decisions, knowing and communicating what’s important to you, is vital to ending up with a space that is right for you and your family.
Lastly, when going through the process, keep in mind that there are certain elements in a new design plan that are easy to “tweak”. Like matching the paint color to your couch or curtain fabric. Have you ever noticed the size of one of those paint fans with all the color choices? They’re huge! And if one of the hundreds of standard color options isn’t quite right, the folks at the paint store will custom blend the color to a perfect match! On the other hand, finding the perfect fabric can take months! There are so many things to consider besides the color, like the appropriate pattern, fabric weight and durability depending on the use, and of course, the cost! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve fallen totally in love with a fabric only to find out the cost per yard was way over budget!
I’ve found it helpful to make a shopping list of the new selections needed and prioritize them in order of difficulty to find. Some items you may have a limited selection of options depending on color or budget. Those are good places to start since they are not as “tweakable”, if you don’t mind me making up words.
Ok, just one last thing. I am a strong proponent of shopping with a trusted friend. Taking on the project of redecorating a room can be overwhelming. Their opinions and consult, not to mention the help in remembering important things you might forget, is priceless! There are projects I never would have made it through if it hadn’t been for some very patient girlfriends! But remember this… when it comes to designing your living space, you and your family are the ones you want to please. Listen carefully to other opinions but follow your instincts! After all, at the end of the day, you are the one writing the check and turning out the lights. Make it your own and love your home!