When I ask my clients why they waited so long to update a room, most of them tell me they put it off because they didn't know where to begin. That's totally understandable--the hardest part of any big project is getting started. But it doesn't have to be so hard. If you're thinking of tackling that room in your house that's driving you crazy, try following the 3 steps I outline below and you'll be well on your way.
In a nutshell, the goal at the beginning of every project is to figure out your vision for the space. That may sound simple, but it can be tough sorting through a bunch of ideas to find the look you love, or other times it's a challenge to even come up with one or two potential options. The process I’ve outlined below will give you the basics you need to start tackling the room right away.
STEP 1: Assess the area.
The first step is to take a walk through the space and see what you’re working with. Answer these questions and see what you come up with:
+ What is the purpose of the room? Who uses it and for what?
+ What’s your biggest challenge with the space in it’s current state?
+ Which items in the room do you love and want to incorporate into the new design?
+ What specific ideas do you have for what would make you happy to see done with the space?
What all do you want to include in the new design:
- Paint color
- Layout/Floor plan- Furniture
- Rugs/Window Treatments
Answering these questions will give you the essential information you need to figure out how you want to transform your room.
Here's a good example of an assessment of a problematic room from an e-styling client:
"I'm struggling with figuring out how to layout the space so it functions well as our office but also looks beautiful and not TOO obvious because anyone entering our home will see it. We also have a lot of things we need to store. I have a black ikea shelving unit with glass shelves (definitely open to painting this), we have tons of accessories that can be used to fill the shelves, I'd love two desks or a longer desk that wraps around the corner and seats two people and also need a space for our baby to hang out while I work. I need help with: Organization solutions, Paint color or color scheme, Decor and accessories, Furniture, Layout/Floorplan, Artwork, Visualizing a plan for the space."
This is a small sample of the questions to consider when assessing the area--for a complete guide, take the Design Questionnaire.
STEP 2: Create a secret Pinterest board.
This is by far the best way to gather inspiration. In your Pinterest account, click on "Create a new board", name it and click "Yes" where it says "Secret." This is my go-to tool for pulling together ideas with clients--we can both pin images and comment back-and-forth about it.
Use the list and keywords from what you answered in step 1 to search for images. Then use the caption text to write down what you like about the image. I would suggest starting with broad search terms (i.e home office design, home office organization, etc.) and then narrowing it down to look for specific ideas (i.e white office chair, home office gallery wall, etc.).
Once you have several images you like, go back through and edit what you pinned. Do you notice any pattern in the images that you’re most drawn to? Remove any pins that don’t line up with the overall theme. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the board a client and I collaborated on:
STEP 3: Design an Inspiration Board.
For the third step, you can put all of your specific ideas for the room together to create an Inspiration Board. I like inspiration boards because they give you a better idea of how the various pieces will actually fit together in your space and can be a helpful quick reference once you start shopping.
If you want to create an inspiration board, you can easily copy and paste images to a Word doc, or other great tools to try are Photoshop or Canva. I like to add text near the image to name each of the items/areas that are on the list. Here is the board I created based on the secret Pinterest board: