Once you’ve decided to redesign your home, it’s tempting to just start buying stuff. However, there are so many options, so many potential good ideas, that the whole process can shift from exciting to overwhelming if we don’t give ourselves some guidelines. Among other things, good interior design is well-planned. Before we start shopping, we need to nail down a specific direction. Here are some of the ideas I walk through with my clients.
Consider your goals for the space.
Before you do anything else, think about what you want to accomplish by redesigning your house. Are you trying to add value to your property? Do you want to make your home more comfortable? Do you need to accommodate major changes in your life? Likely, you’re trying to accomplish multiple ends simultaneously, so you should also consider which of your goals are the most important. By identifying specific objectives for your redesign, it becomes easier to make design decisions and prioritize how your budget should be allocated.
Be realistic about your lifestyle.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s easy to fall into the trap of picking everything based on aesthetics, without considering whether your choices are practical. When we begin thinking about how a space will come together, we usually start by thinking about the visuals, and there’s no shortage of available inspiration. Pinterest and Tumblr are full of pictures of gorgeous interiors, but a lot of them would be impossible to live in. Some clients become emotionally attached to a particular look and don’t think about how it would fit with their lifestyle. Open, French salon-style spaces are beautiful, but they don’t have anywhere to hide your junk. All-white, all-glass living rooms can be gorgeous, but you’d better be prepared to do a lot of spot-cleaning. If you don’t need to hide any junk and you’ve got a cleaning lady, go to town.
Interior design is a visual medium, and nobody wants to live in an ugly house. On the other hand, interior design is also an incredibly practical medium, and at the end of the day, a home needs to function. Part of an interior designer’s job is to think about the utility of a space and create a plan that will make a home look amazing, but will still function the way it needs to.
Designate a realistic budget.
Home design TV shows get under my skin a little bit because they promote unrealistic ideas how far a budget can stretch. It’s true, if you have a lot of corporate sponsorship and the support of huge network-funded professional crews, you don’t need a huge budget. Most of us don’t have those kinds of resources, so we have to be more careful about how to spend our money.
When you’re working with a limited budget, it’s important to prioritize your spending. This is where having clear-cut goals becomes vital. If your first priority is maximizing comfort, you’ll probably make very different choices than if your primary goal is to really increase your home’s resale value.
Home redesigns should be exciting and fun. By creating clear parameters for your project, you can eliminate a lot of the stress and headache that can come with a lack of specificity.
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