Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nashville decorator on How to design a room-Where do you start?




Along with the constant doe eyed question of "give us your loot-I mean design tips" I always get the question-Where do I start? Clients often get so overwhelmed with the design process they give up before they even step foot in a furniture store. Just like buying a car, there is a P-R-O-C-E-S-S. Too often consumers see a show, flip through a magazine, (or worse, Betty Sue across the street just had her house done!) and that sparks the urgency of redoing a room, NOW. They run out to the nearest hardware store animated and thrilled like a three year old, only to get engulfed into an overwhelming color quandary of decisions. Which blue is the right blue? Do I like blue? Maybe green is better. Maybe I should pick furniture first? Do I need to repaint the trim? Do I even have trim? And the whirlwind of terror begins! Before they even start they get stuck in a paradox, close the book on any conclusions, and find that getting lunch and a martini is much easier. (nothing a little vodka can't solve!)

My first tip, call a designer. They are worth their weight in gold. Too often consumers think they can not afford a designer. But more often than not, you can't afford not to. Wouldn't it be easier to have a designer select those colors, build you a space plan, and help you select furniture that will work for the next TEN years instead of two? I cannot tell you how many times I go into a home of "recent purchases" that just don't work. Mistake after mistake, throwing money down the drain. When you get sick you don't self diagnose. You go to the Doctor for advise. How many of you cut your own hair? You don't, you go to the hair stylist who is an expert on what you need.


So when you need help with your home why not get some advise from an expert who can help you avoid making costly mistakes, remove the frustration and actually make it a wonderful experience? Wouldn't it be great to walk into that room and feel joy, instead of annoyance? No one wants to remember the salesman that talked them into a bad decision, or the day they walked out of the paint store with lime green paint cans in their hand!

Ok-Where do you start?


1) Find your inspiration. Whether it be a magazine, a jelly donut or a plate, find something that speaks to you. Not sure how? Read my post How to get inspired for more help


2) Try to narrow down some ideas on colors. You don't have to pick the exact color-let the designer do that for you-but get an idea of what you like.


The best book on furniture styles, if your a serious furniture guru

3)Furniture styles. Are you traditional, transitional, cottage, modern, or contemporary? Don't know? Your designer can help you with this, often times no one is one particular style they are two or three. Find some pictures of things you like. From there the details can be selected and narrowed down.


4)FOCUS!!! This is where a designer can be your most VALUABLE asset. Choose a path and stick to it. Going into a paint store or furniture store can be overwhelming. SO many pretty shiny things to grab your attention, shift your FOCUS and before you know it you catch A.D.D and once again your running around the store like a screeching three year old hopped up on candy! (might I remind you it has SUGAR in it-one of THE most important food groups!)

The best book on how to be a designer

5)Scale-Make sure the items you are looking at are the correct scale and proportion. These two elements are what make a space "right". Ever been in a room that felt "off"? Generally one of these two things is incorrect. This is where a designer REALLY helps. Many of my clients are really good at pulling a room together with a little designer guidance. But scale and proportion is not learned, you either have it or you don't. Get this wrong and the whole room will feel off. Can't afford a designer? Purchase the book above. It will save your life.

6)Accessorize-Now you have all these big things: sofas, chairs, tables. Most consumers that make it this far fall short because they feel that all the hard work is done-HARDLY! Now the heavy lifting begins. The accessories are the pearls and Louboutin's with the black dress. Without these key components, it is just-a-dress. The accessories add personality, flavor, and style to a space. Without these items the room falls flat.

A word of caution, contact your doctor, I mean designer if you experience any of the following while shopping for accessories: Urges to buy green ivy from Michael's, (or any fake plant for that matter) including but not limited to, the fake ficus tree! Thoughts about dying if you don't purchase fake columns, and gilded gold chubby cherubs holding harps immediately. Anxiety over tchotchkes, feeling restless and agitated, if you don't buy MORE (it needs more stuff!). Panic attack's and difficulty sleeping over missing out on the hobby lobby sale down the street. Any other unusual changes in behavior or mood when you get the urge to buy a poly filled pillow, as this will cause a feeling of depression and irritability. (NO MORE POLY PILLOWS!)


Do use items that are special, and smart like
Popular designer accessories to hit mainstream
Designer lamps with style and personality
Some additional tips with a side of humor on updating your home

Need additional advice? Email me. Let me know your questions. And as I have mentioned, if you need help with your room or rooms look up a designer in your area. You would be surprised at how delighted and charming (absolutely delirious and crazy!) we are to work with, (just do what we say) and NO MORE POLY PILLOWS!!!!

55 comments:

  1. Good tips, Amanda! I find many people get overwhelmed over all the choices and looking through magazines or catalogs can be a big help in narrowing things down. I recommend this all the time before I go for the consultation.

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  2. The publicist thanks you.
    I on the other hand must tell you how much fun it is to munch on those poly pillows!

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  3. That was just adorable. Fabulous post! Fake ivy...NOOOOOOO

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  4. Haha, very true that you wouldn't cut your own hair. i will be out to but the book you recommended. I'm good at colors, styles, and accessories, my weakness is space planning. Thanks!

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  5. Great tips, but for someone on a Craigslist budget like me, I can't get a designer and just have to settle for good finds and a creative eye :)

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  6. What a fun blog. I love it. Thanks for the note on my blog today!

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  7. love this post!! the joan crawford bit is too funny, and i will DEFINITELY be on the lookout for those books. just what i'm needing . . .

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  8. oh, and yes, send me your "trash". i'd love to see what you've found!

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  9. Great post; gerat advice!

    Thanks for visiting my blog :)

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  10. Good tips and advice. I think people are starting to understand that hiring a designer isn't really an indulgence -- it's the best way to get your house done right and to avoid spending money on things that won't work or that aren't needed.

    Thanks for letting us know what your prize arrived :-) Hope you like it!!

    Kelly

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  11. Great Post I love that you encourage people to seek the help of a designer. The books are great and I hope you didn't mean that someone can become a designer just by reading a book. That's why they hire us!

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  12. Well said!

    You had me at " nothing a little vodka can't solve!" :)

    What totally drives me insane is when they call you for a consult, you arrive and nothing is right but they think it is...

    Do you ever have an issue with clients who think it's all good when everything is clearly wrong but they do not want to change certain elements? I can never seem to get over this.

    Case in point, doing a consult for a friend, who has the two most hideious chairs you have ever seen in your life(and paid a fortune for them). And they love them... just happened to me last week.

    I love beginning to end design not fixing things... am I bad?

    cheers
    Susan

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  13. Joan!!!
    Ha!
    You are absolutely right designers are worth their weight in gold, and I am not one...smiles....but several of my favorite people are, and they work harder than I think I ever have.....more smiles, thank you for stopping by!

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  14. Fantastic post Amanda....thoroughly enjoyed it..and totally related to it..even though I am not a certified Interior Designer.. yet!!...I have already found myself hitting the same walls...you feel like you are constantly saying in your head..Just trust me...Just trust me...Just trust me..lol...and then you do a Joan crawford in your head..lol

    thanks for sharing...your tips were most helpful x

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  15. You have a wonderful ability to make it seem less daunting! I love reading your tips because of that!

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  16. Great post and tips! Very helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Loving your blog! I found you through blu Label Bungalow (Erika)! I love how you explain things and add humor! I have to check those books out too!

    Have a great day!

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  18. Thanks so much for this article!It really is helpful!

    I love that kind of British style home design, with all those prints and tea cups and everything sweet!:P

    kiss

    ReplyDelete
  19. Okay, I think the occassional fake plant or flower or orchid goes a long way to creating atmosphere, they have a bad rap because people keep them way past their expired, dusty date in my opinion. . . great post Amanda!

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  20. Great post! I'm having fun looking through your blog!

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  21. Thank you for the wonderful advice and tips. Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  22. you write some amazing posts, my dear. I always love a good how-to post... and yours are exceptional. Thank you for taking the time to demonstrate your talents!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Randomly found your blog...thanks for the laughs!!!

    You're a natural comedic writer, in addition to your interior design talents.

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