Before you begin decorating your new home…
Most of us come from apartments and don’t have enough furniture to fill our new space. We also have partners, kids, pets, full time jobs. We start and stop, find our motivation – only to lose it in a wake of beige paint, unopened moving boxes (some for years!), and a sea of toys.
Slow Down, You Move Too Fast
I know how exciting it is to move into your new home. You start projecting a 1000 ideas over every square foot. The possibilities – endless, inhibited only by the limits of your imagination and budget. I implore you to just live in the space for a while. Observe your family’s habits – what rooms do they sink comfortably into? In which rooms do you gravitate to when you entertain? What surprises you? Defining your new home style requires more than a visit to an open house and an inspection, it takes living.
Use logic when planning your projects. For instance, say you plan on finishing your basement and renovating your kitchen. If doing them at the same time isn’t in your budget, which should you do first? If covering your basement ceiling with sheetrock is part of the plan, perhaps it makes sense to do the kitchen first. What if fitting that beautiful farmhouse sink you’ve always wanted into your kitchen requires moving the plumbing? That may mean opening the basement ceiling you only installed last year. You could always finish the basement and leave the ceiling unfinished. A good architect or contractor will help you plan accordingly.
Bite Off ONLY What You Can Chew
I have a husband, three kids, one cat, and a full time job. I love doable DIY and I only take on what I know I can finish. “A half painted room is stylishly unique” said no one. Ever. This also applies to knowing when you don’t know enough. Sometimes hiring an expert is the smarter and cheaper solution. Case in point…
We lived in our first house for only two days when our garbage disposal broke. Gary was so excited to actually own one that he shoved an entire head of cabbage down just to see how well it worked. It chewed it up alright, sort of. Until it choked and spit it up, and started whining. Instead of calling a plumber – he took his sixth trip in two days to The Home Depot and bought a plumber’s wrench, a PVC pipe, and a jar of purple primer and solvent cement – none of which actually turned out to be necessary, by the way. After replacing the pipe, it needed adhesive, of course. But the bottle of purple adhesive was stuck so he used a plumber’s wrench to force it open. For all you physics nerds out there, what happens when you apply too much torque to a jar, but lose your grip? It’s a good thing he “opened” it outside. As it slipped from his hands, the top exploded releasing indelible purple cement through the air. Gary turned purple.
Follow Your Gut
Sally Albright said, “I just like it the way I like it.” Don’t we all? Regardless of whether or not you hire an interior designer or DIY your new home look, only you know what you like and what will work for your family. Chose one room, focus your efforts, and complete it. This will calm your head space too. Keep an open mind – take advice, listen, research, create mood boards or an idea folder (I love houzz.com for this.) Your ideas may shift or change completely.
The best way to get there is to find a single piece of inspiration. Is it a piece of furniture or art, a color, the house’s period style? Next, what is the room’s theme? This is derived from your inspiration and can be displayed on your mood board or in your idea folder. Finally – and this brings my first point full circle – how do you live in the space? Choosing your room’s elements should reflect Its intended use and functionality.
The hard work is done – you’ve moved into your new home. Enjoy it. Live in it.