There are so many options for materials, furnishings, colors, textures and fabrics. And there are ever-changing trends to consider. Of course, you want a design that will look and feel current for some time. Achieving something that’s “you” and fits within your budget or floor plan can feel overwhelming, at first.
Step 1 – Vision
You have very likely drawn inspiration from other homes. Perhaps you looked closely at model homes or those of friends and family.
What did you like and not like as you stood in each room? Were you most comfortable with rooms that were bright and airy? Or with rooms that were quiet and sedate? With rooms that had cohesion and flow? Or with rooms that with a mixture of textures, time periods and styles?
Choices are endless. There is no right or wrong from a Vision perspective. The Vision is “you”. What follows will help you to enhance and harmonize your Vision. By following the Vision-Style-Space method in the order presented you will reduce the risk of a result that you regret.
Your Vision Starting Point
Create a starting point by collecting photos of rooms that you both like and dislike. Search the internet and magazines for pictures. Take pictures. Collect and focus on the rooms that give you a clear yes or no reaction. Skip rooms that you neither like, nor dislike. Ask yourself:
- What do I like about each room? Colors, textures, materials layout, furnishings, wall displays, etc.
- Does the room fit my (our) lifestyle? Entertaining, children, reading, TV, relaxing, cooking, etc.
- Do I like rooms that convey warmth?
- Or, rooms that are sleek and minimal?
- Do I like rooms that are modern?
- Or, rooms that convey a certain heritage or time period?
- Ask the same questions about the rooms you don’t like.
The result will be a combination of photos, both lovely and ugly. You have to live in the environment that you create. This helps you form a Vision for your preferences.
Step 2 – Design Style
Design style vocabulary can be confusing because different meanings are often intended for the same term. Your living space is not a set of terms and definitions. Your Interior Design Style or your Exterior Design Style reflects you. The Vision process that we described in Step 1 started to define your Style preferences. Take another look at your photo collection. Do themes emerge from the details? Ask yourself these questions…
- Do you prefer to stay true to a Style definition that you found, such as Modern, Contemporary, Traditional, Transitional, Country, Coastal, etc.?
- Or, do you prefer a mix of styles?
- Do you prefer your own style(s) without regard to definitions?
Additionally, ask yourself the following questions…
- Do you prefer colors that create a calming and relaxed space?
- Or colors that are bright, energizing and attention-getting?
- Do you prefer furnishings that are simple?
- Or, elaborate and ornate?
- Do you prefer materials that are soft and plush?
- Or, materials with sharply defined edges?
- Do you prefer wood and carpet?
- Or, ceramic, metal and glass?
You get the idea. Try to describe what makes you feel comfortable.
Step 3 – Space Design
Many people feel discouraged by limits imposed by budget, existing floor plans, corners, wall angles or available floor space.
Take time to consider your Vision and Style in Steps 1 & 2. The inevitable compromise decisions for Step 3 will be much, much easier. It becomes easier to consider options that fit your preferences versus those that don’t. Ask yourself…
- Do you need to work within a given floor plan offered by a builder, or within your home for a remodel?
- Is removing a non-load-bearing wall an option if you want a more open feel?
- What are options for furnishings that fit your configuration and space?
An often-neglected consideration is your preferred focal point. What drew your attention in the photos that you liked?
- Was it a large painting?
- A sofa?
- A fireplace?
- A grand piano?
- A bed?
- A mirror?
- A fixture?
- A chandelier?
Whatever it is, start the design for each room from your preferred focal point. The remaining decisions become easier.
Budget is obviously important. Options range from low-budget to luxury. I purposely placed budget last in the discussion to avoid the tendency to discard dream ideas as being outside of your budget.
Often, similar options can achieve the desired effect at much reduced cost. Also, you may have the option to spend more in one room, while spending less in another.
Surprise yourself with what can be achieved by following, in order, the 3-step process described above.
A dream without a plan is just a wish – Katherine Paterson
By now you have collected photos, color samples, fabric swatches and sample materials… or, maybe not. Perhaps you are already working with a builder, a remodeler, your spouse… or, maybe not.
Are you unsure how to proceed? How to bring your Vision-Style-Space ideas to life?
You might be able to realize an acceptable design by yourself, or with help from a friend.
Also consider that a licensed Interior Design professional is trained to ask the right questions and answer your questions. They also have a wealth of experience to guide you through unseen obstacles that have tripped up past clients.
Licensed Interior Design professionals regularly engage in continuing education to stay abreast of trends, and to learn new options that offer the best value. With their expertise, your total budget does not have to be larger!
I invite you to discuss how we can create your beautiful home inside, outside, or both. I can also offer recommendations for builders and remodelers who fit your goals. Click contact us, and call or email with your questions!