With all the decor inspiration found on sites like Pinterest and Instagram, the thought of starting your own interior design project can be exciting or scary depending on who you are. No matter what, one thing is for certain: a decorating plan will help you figure out where to begin and help you visualize a finished space that works for your lifestyle, design style, timeline and budget. You’ll be happy you spent the time to plan.
The Big Picture
The Honeysuckle home at Empire Avalon in Caledonia.
1. What’s your why? Start off by figuring out what’s motivating you to take on this design project. Did you recently move or have your household dynamics shifted? Maybe your design tastes have evolved? Take the time to reflect on why you want to redesign and let that be your driving force with all decisions moving forward.
2. What’s your vision? Most winning athletes follow the same guiding principle: visualize the finish line. The same can be said for design projects. If you begin with the desired outcome in mind, you’re able to gain clarity on the steps needed to get there. And once you’re able to chart your course, the undertaking will feel a lot more manageable.
3. How do you want the room/home to feel? Consider what best represents your vision. Try to limit yourself to three descriptors:
4. What are the room’s primary functions? Try to come up with at least three functions.
The Edgewater model at Empire at Rowe in Pflugerville, Texas.
5. What’s your budget? This will vary depending on scope of the project. Whether you’re giving your space a cosmetic upgrade or making more significant structural changes, you’ll need to consider all of the financial costs at play. Pro tip: include a 10% contingency reserve to your budget to cover unexpected expenses that may arise.
6. What’s your time frame? When defining the timeline, remember to be realistic about how much time you have to devote to this project, especially if you’re taking it on all yourself. Keep in mind your work schedule and life obligations, as well as the availability of both the materials and hired trades.
The Ellington model at McLean in Belmont, North Carolina.
7. What are your limitations? What work can you and your family members take on yourselves, and what will you need to outsource? Consider your physical abilities as well as your technical experience. Are there certain aspects of the project that will require the expertise of a professional?
8. What can stay and what needs to go? Take inventory of what furniture and accessories can be worked into your new plans, and which items can be sold, donated, or recycled. Consider the following questions for each piece:
- Do you love this item?
- Does it have sentimental value?
- Was it a big financial investment?
- Could you use it elsewhere in
- Does it match your current design style?
- Would you buy it again if you saw it in a store?
- Does it add value to your life?
The Look & Feel
The Camden model home at Empire Halcyon in Alpharetta, Georgia.
9. Not quite sure what your design style is? Here’s a list of classic interior design styles to get you started on defining your style.
- Modern Country
- French Country
- Shabby Chic
- Modern Farmhouse
- Art Deco
- Hollywood Glam
- Mid-Century Modern
10. What fabrics and materials appeal to you and work the best in your space?
11. What’s your colour scheme?
12. What special hobbies, passions, and collections should you consider incorporating into the space?