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!!!!