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Design 101

2. Create a design plan and prioritize your needs. This is a must! Many people don’t have a plan and then feel disorganized and frustrated throughout the project.  You need a plan so you know what to do and when. Begin with color. If you’re working with a designer, suggest that he or she start with color choices. Designing can be a very overwhelming process. Setting priorities will help build a foundation and give you peace of mind in knowing where the project is at any given time. Decide on your “must-haves” and your “nice-to-haves,” and set your priorities accordingly

3. Be clear about the color palette even if that adds time to the project. Your investment of time will pay off!  If you neglect this step in the process, you’re going to be spending more than you need on peripheral items. Choose a main color, then at least two other complementary or contrasting colors to work with. Color sets the stage for your furnishings, window and floor treatments, and accessories. Choose colors that you LOVE, not just like, because you are going to be living with them. 

4. Identify an inspiration piece (something you have or would love to have) to begin the process. You do not need to start the project with everything new.  Choose to focus on something you already own that you absolutely love and it will bring focus, warmth, and personality to a room.  Perhaps, it’s time to bring in the rug you purchased on a trip to Turkey or Mexico years ago.  If you love the colors or design, go from there!

5. Keep the channels of communication wide open with family members on what you want and what they may want.  Moving through a design project is challenging and tension levels may rise.  If someone is sharing the project with you, including partners, kids, and others, keep talking.  After all, everyone may besharing some of the rooms you’re designing.

6. Build a budget, for discipline and reality checking. Take time to think this through or you may be unhappy, resentful, or broke at the end of the project.  Work with your partner, if you’re sharing the project, and work with your designer to get (even a rough) estimate.  Keep on track, be informed, and communicate throughout the process.  No surprises!

7. Have realistic expectations.  Taking on more than you can realistically afford or accomplish in a given timeframe can be both frustrating and disappointing.  Keep your expectations in check and communicate regularly with the designer and others working with you.

8. Give yourself time to purchase wisely. A “rush to buy” won’t pay off in the long run. If you do not love each and every item you choose, you will overcompensate by purchasing more than you need to cover up the “so-so” items.

9. Honor your expectations, and stick to high standards.  No matter what the budget is or how large or small the scope of the project, you should feel a sense of satisfaction and transformation every time you walk into a newly-completed  room. You should be smiling.  If you are not, go back and see what small adjustment or large change needs to be made.

10. Enjoy the process.  Life is too short to stress out about every decision that must be made—a design project should be enjoyed along the way.   Instead of just focusing on what still remains to be done, take time to stop and look at what has been accomplished.  Move through the challenging moments and you’ll be rewarded by having fulfilling years in your new space.

Remember to plan, the importance of color, to set priorities, to communicate, and, oh yes—have fun!

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