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January 13, 2015

New Year, New Home: 5 Steps To Complete Before Starting Any Design Project

by Kim

Decorview designer tips 5 steps to complete before starting any design project.png

We’re all accustomed to setting self-improvement goals (drink less, get in shape, eat healthier), but what about setting some New Year’s resolutions for your home? Make 2015 the year you knock a few design projects off your list — getting you that much closer to your dream home. But before you start any project, make sure you follow these five critical project steps.

Determine the Project Scope

What starts as a simple home décor update can quickly snowball into a complete design scheme overhaul. And before you know it, you’re ordering a new sofa, ripping up carpet and choosing a new paint palette.

When you’re not satisfied with your current décor, changing it all seems like the only option. Don’t let scope creep get the best of you. Determine what projects are the most important by asking yourself these questions:

  • Will the design project increase the value of my home (e.g. updating the kitchen)?
  • Does the design project fix a critical functional issue (e.g. replacing cracked tile)?
  • Will the design project increase my home’s wow factor (e.g. installing gorgeous custom window treatments)?

Gather Design Inspiration

Contemporary home office featuring colorful window treatments | Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs | Houzz

After you determine the scope of your design project, it’s time to find inspiration. Magazines, blogs and decorating sites like Houzz are great sources of design inspiration. Create a digital moodboard using Pinterest or paste magazine clippings to a poster board. Your inspiration clips will help reveal your decorating style, which will be useful when you begin choosing materials to complete your project.

Set a Realistic Budget

Big design projects, like overhauling a kitchen, are costly. Even a smaller project like ordering a new couch can be expensive if you pick a high-end brand.

Before starting any design project, it’s important to do a little research to determine the approximate cost. That way you can set a realistic budget (including a cushion for incidentals) for the scope of your project. Costs can escalate quickly and before you know it, your entire bathroom remodel budget was spent on an expensive Italian marble floor.

Worried you don’t have adequate cash on hand to complete your design project? Then consider financing. Many brands and big box retailers offer no interest financing.

Traditional bathroom featuring plantation wood shutters | Frederick + Frederick Architects | Houzz

Determine a Project Timeline

Design projects often take more time than you think. Make sure you give yourself enough lead time to get the job done, being mindful of your personal and work schedules. You should also take into consideration the myriad of potential project setbacks, including:

  • Defective or broken merchandise from the manufacturer (e.g. cracked tile)
  • Unforeseen damage and repairs to the design space (e.g. mold, water damage, warped floorboards)
  • Contractor quotes and availability
  • Merchandise on backorder
  • Shipping time and unforeseen delays

Hire a Design Expert or Contractor

Inspiration sites like Pinterest often give homeowners a false sense of DIY confidence. Kitchen backsplashes end up crooked, bathroom tiles are uneven or custom window treatments don’t fit the window.

Don’t let your design project qualify you for the DIY hall of shame. Be realistic about your skill level and hire a design expert or contractor to help you with the more complicated projects. Letting professionals handle all the details will give you piece of mind and ensure the end result meets your expectations.

Afraid hiring a professional won’t fit the budget? Many brands and retailers, like Home Depot, Macy’s and Decorview offer free design consultations and services.

Cover photo credit: Distinctive Interiors Inc.

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Kim is a window treatment and drapery certified designer helping clients in Ottawa and surrounding Ontario communities find the perfect window treatments for their homes. She has more than 14 years of experience in interior design and window coverings.

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