Happy New Year!
Okay…we are well into 2011 now, but that only means you’ve had time to ponder your resolutions and know which ones to toss and which to pursue passionately. As you get down to the business of turning both your personal and professional dreams into reality, don’t forget about the perennial goal of making your home a unique and stylish dwelling for your family’s lifestyle.
Like many goals, I realize that when considering your home’s decor, one of our first thoughts is “how do I get there from here?” Indeed, sometimes the thought of even small changes can be frustrating.
Trust me, there are steps you can take to simplify the process. So where do we start?
Make a list
What do you want? What upgrades or changes would you like? What would your spouse or partner like? Consider all your family’s needs as you take inventory. They will thank you later. Assign three main categories; interior, exterior and landscape needs. Our focus will be on the interior. Create a subcategory for each and every space including hallways and pantries. Your list would look something like this,
- paint walls
- paint ceiling
- paint trim
- bed and bedding remain but add new throw pillows
- 2 new lamps
- decorative wall treatment
- new paint color for trim
- ceiling color remains
- new draw pulls
- new rugs
- garden tub to claw foot tub
- upgrade tile floor
…and so on and so forth. Whether it’s a modest redesign, a structural upgrade or a complete room remodel, make as specific a list as possible of everything to be changed.
Prioritize and Break It Up!
Your project has the potential to overwhelm and paralyze you. Instead, break it up into smaller, more manageable pieces. You’ll get the job done in an orderly fashion when you prioritize, and as a bonus, you’ll be motivated and gain momentum as you complete each step. Decide how you will prioritize your projects. It could be based on how much money you have for the first phase, how much your entire family uses a specific space or what area most people see when they first walk in.
Sit down and carefully pour over your list. Does it include unnecessary, redundant or wasteful steps? If so, eliminate them. Have you included projects that are not realistic for the possible resale value of your home? Upgrading a 150K home with an 80k kitchen is not the best use of your money if you plan to sell your home anytime soon. A bit exaggerated, yes, but you get my drift. If you do want a kitchen upgrade, list each item you want upgraded and when it comes time to budget and shop, make practical assessments. Work as smartly and efficiently as possible, and that means knowing what stays on your list and what gets scratched for a later date or permanently.
Whether the investment will be primarily of time, money or elbow grease, budget wisely and realistically. Few things are as disappointing as getting well underway, only to realize that you may run out of resources before you achieve your dream. With that in mind, add 20% to your budget, because you are most likely to underestimate costs at the onset. Once any project is started, we often find that we want or need to increase out investment due to unforeseen circumstances.
Use Visual Images
If you find yourself in a creative or motivational rut, look to your favorite glossy to get you back on track. Houzz is a great on-line resource to stroke your creative engine. Magazines and many internet sources help you to review and compare products and services. Attend your local home shows, neighborhood model homes, and local accessory boutiques for inspiration as well. Consider meeting with your interior designer for a one time consultation of design advise only. I do a ton of design consultations where I offer suggestions and shopping advise for homeowners that prefer to tackle the shopping and the majority of the project themselves. It is money well spent. Designers offer that fresh eye and guidelines for incorporating the right scale, color and texture to a space that you may have been looking at for years.
Schedule A Date of Completion
Assign a date of competition for at least the first three projects or you’ll find yourself going over the same list of projects next year with NOTHING checked off. If that date arrives and you have not completed it, add a new date and revisit it until it’s DONE.
And saving the best for last…
Armed with everything you need to make your design dreams a reality, it’s time to shop. Because you’ll have a clear image of what you want to achieve, shopping will be much less daunting and a lot more fun.