Having a plan for your renovation project may mean the difference between hiring an expensive designer/builder or being your own designer and general contractor and saving a ton of money. If you can plan the whole project out as I describe below, you may not need costly advice from the experts. You may just be able to do the whole thing yourself. So, what are some strategies for planning out a big project like a professional designer?
#1: Get the Feeling Right
Spaces invoke feeling. They just do. When you walk into a room, it can make you feel energized, calm, curious, peaceful, dark, sad, even angry. Oftentimes it’s the colors that invoke a feeling. Take a look at what colors produce what feelings below:
|Red||Energy, strength, power, determination, passion, desire, and |
|Orange||Joy, enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, and success|
|Yellow||Joy, happiness, intellect, and energy|
|Green||Growth, harmony, safety, and freshness|
|Blue||Depth, stability, wisdom, confidence, faith, and truth|
|Purple||Royalty, nobility, luxury, ambition, independence, mystery, and magic|
|White||Light, goodness, innocence, purity and perfection|
|Black||Power, elegance, death, evil, and mystery|
Take a look at color psychology at www.graf1x.com as well. You can download a few nice PDF’s of color and what feelings they invoke.
Textures also contribute to the overall feel of a space. Smooth textures seem calmer, lighter, and more modern than rough textures do. A leather couch has a different feel than soft upholstery. Spaces that seem cozy tend to have a lot of texture. So, how do you want your space to feel?
#2 Create a Sense of Unity
You don’t want soft blues and grays in one room and wild pinks and oranges in another. You don’t want the dining room to reflect the 1920’s style of the home and the kitchen to be mid-century modern. You want all the spaces in the house to have unity in design. In my kitchen, I want to maintain the old character and charm of its 1920’s history. So, I’m going to keep the original cabinetry. I’m going to try to salvage the hardwood floors underneath the vinyl instead of putting in modern tile. I’m also going to choose colors that blend with the colors in adjoining rooms.
#3 Think Like a Designer
Focus on the art of the design instead of the science for a bit. You could draw out some simple floor plans or elevations to get a sense of the space. Take all the samples you’ve collected and put them together on the design board. See this blog post for easy to use and free interior design software you can use to design the space like a professional. Creating a visual of the space will help you see the renovation complete before you make a costly mistake.
#4 Let Things Live and Breathe
If you’re like me, you have a general sense of the overall design, but you’re not quite sure on colors or materials yet. You have to work in steps. For example, the first step in my kitchen renovation is to do the floors. Hopefully, I’ll have hardwood underneath the vinyl and can refinish it. If not, I’ll want to replace it with tile. Once that’s done, I’ll have a better sense of what might fit the space in terms of countertop samples. Would a white marble look better or a black countertop? I’m thinking white marble, but I want to be sure it will fit with the floors first. So, you might want to do one piece of your renovation project at a time and let it live and breathe for a while. Let it influence your future choices.
#5 Think About the Lighting
The lighting can change the look and feel of a space. You can choose softer, warmer lights or cooler, more sterile choices. The room will look different at night than at noon. Place your samples at all times of the day and under the lighting you’ll eventually have in the space. Don’t ever decide on a paint color in the store. The fluorescent lighting can dramatically change the way a sample looks from how it will appear in your home.
I would suggest doing the above five steps before you contact a designer. Maybe you can design the space yourself for free. If you know any friends that seem to have an eye for design, ask them to take a look at your plans and give you pointers. You could also have a consultation with a builder or designer without committing. My goal is always to do as much on my own as I can. Not only does it increase the pride I have for the final product, but I find I put more of myself into the design that way. Don’t be afraid to do things yourself. I wouldn’t completely renovate a space without planning, though. So, follow my steps first and see if you’ve got what it takes to design like a professional.