There is a wide gap between having a design style and realizing it. The having and knowing are the first steps. However, I’ve worked with plenty of clients over the years that had oodles of scrapbooks or online ideabooks with very specific examples of what they wanted, yet their current design reflected little – if any – of it.
This is a common occurrence for younger homeowners or homeowners that have done such a good job of being frugal and non-wasteful that their house becomes a hodge-podge of free hand-me-downs, thrift store finds and items that are in “decent enough” shape to keep around.
5 Tips For Making Your Design Style a Reality
Does that sound familiar? Then perhaps it’s time to turn over a new leaf so you can bring your coveted design style into fruition.
- Know what your design style is. Do you even know what your design style is? Sometimes, I peek into an ideabook only to view a mish-mash of “tastes”, rather than a consistent or cohesive theme. This could be a sign that you’re eclectic or a transitionalist OR it could mean that while you appreciate great design, you haven’t really found your own, personal design yet. If you suspect you suffer from the latter, read, What’s Your Interior Design Style, and begin honing in on the colors, styles, textures, shapes and finishes that inspire you at the core level.
- Consult with an interior designer. Consulting with a professional interior designer does not mean you have to hire one. You can pay a professional designer as a consultant while you narrow your style preferences down to one that exemplifies your taste and lifestyle. If you’re new to this process, an interior designer will also help you come up with a realistic budget, i.e. XX-dollars for new furniture, XX-dollars for new textiles, XX-dollars for new furnishings and accents, etc. If you choose to work with the designer now or down the road, great. If not, your money will have been well-spent helping you to solidify your tastes- and creating proportioned budget – so you can implement a new design on your own.
- Out with the old. If you suffer from minor-hoarding tendencies, an inability to get rid of anything with sentimental value (even if you don’t like it), or an aversion to discarding items that are functional (but not stylish) – it’s time to buck up and purge your home of anything that doesn’t serve you. Typically, de-cluttering involves making three separate piles: trash, donate, sell. In this case, you are going to start by making ONE pile – the discard pile – and you can sort that out later. Move through your home and put anything you don’t LOVE in the discard pile. FYI: I’m not joking when I say this step may require sleeping on a mattress on a floor and sitting in a virtually empty living room furnished by camping chairs and a card table for a month or more. The point is, you now have a clear, free and unencumbered space in which to begin realizing an interior design style that truly represents who you are.
- Start exploring. Now it’s time to begin exploring stores and online sources to find the big-item furniture pieces that will comprise the “bones” of the design. If you’re re-doing your kitchen, you’ll be looking at cabinetry options as well. Now that you know your design style, it will be easy to speak with customer service reps, who can steer you towards options that fit your niche. Just make sure you stick to your budget. Take digital picture of everything you genuinely adore. After a while of doing this, you’ll have a stock pile of photos you can review to whittle down to your favorites. These will be your future furnishings and accents.
- Have fun with paints. Don’t rush into paint colors. Yes, it’s true; walls can be repainted. But who wants to go through the trouble if you don’t have to more than every handful of years or more? Better to take your time, paint huge swatches of cheap plywood or wall patches and live with them for a while. This will let you know how they your color options hold up to different lighting, or on this wall/room versus that wall/room. It will also help you to learn how very different a wall of paint looks than a small sample of paint appears. Not rushing into paint colors will be the best gift you ever give your newly designed homeself, because the reward will be a new paint palette that you love, one you won’t regret in a day, a week, a month or a year.
Once you’ve moved through these five steps, you’re ready to start taking your new interior design process in earnest. Again, never hesitate to enlist the help of a professional interior designer along the way to lend an opinion, to provide recommendations or to orchestrate your remodel for you so you can enjoy a stress-free process.