Questions To Ask Yourself When Redesigning A Room

Friday, September 02, 2016

Interior design is one of those things that feels like it should be simple. We all go into rooms, so we have a rough idea of what we want them to be like. We can all pick colors, select furniture to suit our needs and add a few accessories to brighten a room. What's so difficult?

In reality, everything is difficult. There's a reason that interior design is an entire profession, as bringing together all of the essential elements takes work. You have to balance the need for a function with a desire for style. It's a tough tightrope to walk, and more than a few of us make a few mistakes when it comes to selecting our decor. 

It doesn't have to be impossible, though. The key part is figuring out the answers to a few pertinent questions and being aware that this isn't meant to be easy. When we expect a task to be a cakewalk ,but we unpleasantly surprised when we find it is not. It can make us make rash decisions just for the sake of making the decision. The result is we have a revamped room which is going to need another go over in 12 months time. 

Had I Planned For This?

Unless you have unlimited amounts of time, this is the important one to begin with. Few people like to talk about planning. It's not the most glamorous of subjects, especially when in your mind you're already selecting decor and swatching paint. Going back a step seems like it's exactly that - and you just want to crack on and start making changes. 

Nevertheless, planning is an essential step. Not only do you need to ask yourself the foremost question as above, but there's a whole host of smaller questions as well.

Do I have the time to do this? Think about how long you expect a renovation to take, and then double it. Everyone underestimates the time a room is going to take to do, so make sure you do have the available diary space.

Do I have the help I need? You can, of course, renovate by yourself, but it's generally a task for a few people. Make sure your helpers are available when you need them to be. Agree on schedules and get firm commitments, not: yeah, I think I can make it. 

Do I have the budget? And if I do, can I stay within it? Renovation is disruptive, so it's best to do rooms all-in-one. If your budget doesn't stretch that far, then it might be worth waiting until it does. 

With those answers, you can move onto the more exciting areas.

Do I Know What I Want From This Room?

It doesn't matter if you're designing an entire living room with antique touches, a den complete with items from Comfy Sacks online or adding a sideboard for storage, you have to have plans. 

Break it down into the basics of of style.

Modern or more traditional style?

Antique or up-to-date?

Clean, minimalist lines or a more homely feel? 

Only by figuring out the above can you truly begin. You don't need to theme every room with specific ideas that you never stray from, but you do need to find an overall grouping. It doesn't all have to be the same. For example, if you choose a modern and minimalist style, that doesn't mean you can't have a cast-iron antique style clock. It just means you need to find something else for an antique touch - such as a lamp - to pull the whole thing together. It has to look intentional, as if every piece is part of the overall presentation than a singular item bought because you like it. 

Is It Going To Be Usable?

You can get carried away with the idea of style to the point where you forget that you have to live in the room. You might prefer the idea of a less fussy appearance, but the existing items are going to have to go somewhere. 

Modular storage is a good option if you have lots of different knick knacks that you no longer want clustering shelves. With each area having its designated square, even the most random of collections can look as if it is intentionally grouped.

Storage is a vital area to look at also. It's almost impossible for any home to have too much storage, and look for space anywhere you can find it. Many people overlook one of the most obvious spaces available: vertical space. Bookshelves can be placed close to the ceiling, which is both stylish and adds height to a room. It also leaves the lower spaces free for a sideboard or modular cabinet system. So one wall can store double the amount than you otherwise might have considered. As a general rule, if you're struggling for space, look up. 

Finally, cast your mind to the idea of cleaning. It's something you're going to have to do on a regular basis, and you don't want to pick items that are going to be a nightmare to maintain. For example, there is something beautifully effortless about chrome, but it can be a complete nightmare to keep clean. Every touch of the surface leaves fingerprints. If you don't mind removing them every time, then it's a good option. If you prefer your home to be a little more low maintenance, then go for brushed or matte finishes to solve this problem. 

Do You Have A Color Scheme?

In a world where the fashion elite decries the idea of "matchy matchy" colours, the idea of having a scheme can feel outdated. Yet there is no easier way than to tie a room together than by working within a palette.

And that's the key word here: palette. While you may have once assigned a room with one single color, it's now considered more stylish to work with three or four. There is a multitude of options to choose from, but a few examples

Red, Blue, White and Black

Crisp and effortless. Add a nautical twist if you incorporate stripes somewhere into your soft furnishings. Silver for fittings is the preferred color with this scheme. 

Sand, Blue and Coral

Oh, you do like to be beside the seaside... With this color scheme. Any shade of beige will work, though there is a richness to sand that compliments the coral. Gold fittings are preferable here, and tarnished effects can create the illusion of sunken treasure. 

Red, Yellows and Burnt Oranges

A classic color scheme that is warm and vibrant. A white background can be necessary to stop it becoming overwhelming. Alternatively, use silver finishes and details to cool the warm colors. 

There are thousand more to choose from. The above group together three colors, but four or five can work just as well.

Have I Considered The Finishing Touches?

We mentioned the finishing touches above, using them to complement the overall color scheme. They are also important in their own right. It's one thing to get a general style right, but not examining the small details can detract from it.

As well as big-ticket furniture items and furnishings, always think about:

Light switches. Most hours will have white plastic as standard, which, frankly, looks awful. Switching them out is a simple job and can add a huge benefit to the overall look of a room.

Light pulls. No one wants to be looked at tatty, faded cord with a white plastic at the bottom. Teardrop shapes look wonderful, and also make sure you select a material that won't show fingerprints. 

Curtain rods. An extra design flourish can be achieved by opting for something with a flare or spiral at the end. 

Skirting boards. They're there for function, but that doesn't mean they have to be boring. Darker colors can make a room appear deeper and is a quick job to accomplish. 

Lighting. There are so many options for light fittings that a bulb and a simple shade can wash a room out. You may need to consult an electrician, but something with a more decorative flourish can really make a different. For atmosphere in the evenings, choose a design that will scatter pretty shadows onto walls. 

The last point may seem obvious having thought through all of the above, but it nevertheless needs examination.

Am I Sure About My Choices? 


Will I Continue To Be In A Year's Time?

Design trends change and morph all the time. If you select something purely because it's in style now, yes, you're going to feel great for a season. But if you don't want to be constantly updated, then only select items because you love them. You can stay on trend without a whole redesign needed by choosing accent pieces and ornaments for fashion. More expensive items - like furniture and general decor - should be more durable. 

When you have made your final selection, sit on the idea for a couple of weeks. Only when you are sure you love it now - and importantly, will continue to do so - should you go ahead and begin your project.

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