We are just about a year into our enormous project of purchasing and renovating a home. This house is a fixer upper in all possible senses. While it has great bones, an awesome location, and a gorgeous property – the house was passed up on by everyone else because of the tremendous amount of work it needed. It is definitely the worst house on a really nice block. Chip and Joanna would be so proud! ;) We are room by room slowly bringing it back to life and injecting our own quirks and brightness to the space.
If you have a major renovation on the horizon, or maybe just want to brighten up a room for the summer – here are 4 tips to make the process go smoothly.
And obviously it all starts with planning…
Tip #1 Quiet The Room
Clear out everything possible from the space to give yourself a clean palette. One of my favorite interior bloggers calls this “quieting the room”, which I think is a genius idea. Sometimes, the current craziness of a room is screaming so loud that it’s hard to understand exactly what the space could become. Pulling everything out and starting with a blank slate allows us to envision what the room could become and makes the entire experience a more productive one.
Tip #2 Greater Than > Less Than
Note what you wish for most in the space and also what is most lacking by grading the priorities for the room as greater than and less than. We can’t fix everything, but some things are possible. When I am working up our priority list for our spaces I use this helpful greater than less than equation. I write out my top 10 or so priorities and then compare them against another. I care about this specific design element > this one.
This exercise done for our living room refresh is what lead me to decide on the Sven Sectional from Article. My need for comfort was at the top of my list, and we tried out hundreds of comfortable sofas that just didn’t look right. Then I looked back at my list and noticed even above comfort, the room looking inviting was a great priority – which moved my focus from purely my comfort to a room that will look inviting for family and friends to enjoy for the years to come. I’m glad I did this exercise that lead me to getting the gorgeous blue velvet sectional instead of an overstuffed brown sofa that wouldn’t have spoken to our guests, or my own design sense as well. This exercise helped me to see why, what I thought was the solution just wasn’t sitting right with me. Instead of ending up with a sofa I disliked, now we have a comfortable and stylishly inviting sofa. The best of all worlds!
Tip #3 Make A Mood Board
Make a rough sketch and mood board for the space, and no this step isn’t only for interior designers or bloggers! It is really important to create a board like this for every space we want to refresh. Creating this board allows me to judge how the elements I’ve chosen will play off each other. It doesn’t have to be a perfect board (or to scale), but putting the items planned for purchase together can really help to imagine the space. If you are not ready to learn photoshop, Canva is a great way to do this. Snap a screenshot of each product and upload them onto a board to see how the textures and colors will play off one another.
After creating my own imperfect mood board for the living room I was able to order my dream wallpaper with certainty – knowing it would play well with the sofa we chose. It also allowed me to choose the best rug and the perfect coffee table for the room. I tried out a rectangle and square one in my mood board before deciding the circle would look the best with all the strong angles in the space. This type of decision would have been difficult without creating the mood board, and most likely resulting in 7 trips to buy and return coffee tables. Eeek! A simple board that I can play around with until it felt right is so much easier.
Tip #4 Take A Phone Photo
Taking a photo of the space once all the main pieces are installed will help a ton in finishing off the details. Sometimes when I am looking at a space with my eye I notice certain things, but when looking at a still photograph it give another perspective of the space. Keeping the photo handy on my phone also allows me to have it ready when shopping for the finishing details. I can put the item next to the photo to see how well it will fit into the space. This tip has saved me so much hassle when finishing off a room.
Happy planning! I’d love to know if you have any great ideas for putting spaces together with ease.
PS. Our home room by room and all the fun products we’ve used can be found right here.