It’s been a few weeks since the last time I blogged and I am thrilled to get back to the business of writing. My temporary hiatus hasn’t been in vain either; I have been diligently working on making several design changes to my own home. (Before pics coming soon…) In essence, this means that I am my own client and my own personal designer. Let’s see how long I can tolerate myself.
Being my own client has afforded me the unique opportunity to see what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence. After almost 3 years of living in our current house, I can honestly say that my house is not yet a home. Coming from a petite home in New York meant that we didn’t have much to work with in terms of furniture. The priority became purchasing functional furniture for each room in our house. Making things pretty took a backseat as we focused on creating comfortable accommodations for our visiting friends and family. This in turn has created some of the most amazing memories we could ask for.
Nevertheless, as an interior designer I can’t help but get excited about making my house a home. If beautiful environments and spaces have the ability to make us feel comforted and happy, how much more impact do our own homes have on us?
Here are 5 important lessons I have learned since becoming my own client:
Get to know your home
The pressure of wanting to decorate as soon as you exchange keys at the closing can make you compromise on what you truly need. For instance, I initially wanted to use our loft space as a TV watching space. Fast forward to today and now I plan to use that area as my personal thinking space.
Instead of rushing through the process, get to know your home, its flow and its nuances. Do you really want to make that room an office just because the builder called it an office? Taking some time to gather your design thoughts can help you avoid some costly mistakes in the end.
The only exception to this rule is when you hire a designer during the construction process. A designer will gently nudge you to think about all of the ways your home will need to function just for you. This is especially important when it comes to adding additional structural things such as lighting and outlets.
Understand your lifestyle
Run through your day, your week, your year. What is it like? Do you find yourself entertaining more in your new home than you did in your previous one? This may mean that you need to consider stain resistant fabrics and kid-friendly furnishings. Is your heart set on a gorgeous open console when what you really need is a cabinet with doors to hide all of the kids’ sports equipment? Making design choices that take your routine and lifestyle into account will only make your life easier.
Unless you have a sizable budget right off the bat, pace yourself. Rome wasn’t built in one day and it is OK not to design your home in one either. Pacing yourself will allow you to get more of what you want. Take on one or two rooms at a time instead of your whole first floor. You will be able to afford more quality items that way.
Think you will always love your jade green walls? Think again. Trends are meant to come and go. If something isn’t your cup of tea, do not feel obligated to conform. Be sure to only choose items, colors, furnishings and furniture that will appeal to you in the long run. Otherwise, you will end up spending more to get rid of that trendy green paint once it goes out of style.
Budget is king
We may all be trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents, but 15 cents is still 15 cents. Once we begin to make sense out of how much quality home goods cost, the challenging part of the process becomes creating and maintaining a budget. One way to avoid derailing the entire budget is to buy high and low or to design your home in phases. Buying high and low simply means that you will invest your money in things that are high impact such as well-made furniture or quality window treatments, while spending less on other things like accessories. Designing in multiple phases allows you to build up a reserve before you start decorating a new space.
Making a house into a home doesn’t have to be intimidating. If you remove or minimize unnecessary pressures, you will find yourself making the right decisions for your home.