It’s never too early to plan for something, especially if it’s an important event. And never underestimate yourself, that’s right. Know what you want but be open minded to new ideas and let your new home takes you to places that you always dream of…
You might be thinking of just hiring a dedicated designer (if you do, lucky you!) but no one is gonna pour constant tireless effort into your home like you (the homeowner ).
// OBTAIN A FLOOR PLAN //
Ideally, you should start planning the day you get your floor plan. If you’re buying resale, always request a floor plan, if you can’t, you can try googling it. If your home is a new build, google for Facebook group, forum or start one, a good way to get to know your future neighbors too. If all else fails, you can always use a measuring tape and construct your own floor plan (you don’t need a design software). Having an official one will save you the trouble but please note that they DO NOT represent actual dimensions (they only serves as a reference), ALWAYS measure the actual space.
// GATHER YOUR INSPIRATION //
Use Pinterest or whichever site that you’re comfortable with, you can see how I just typed “blue kitchen” and a ton of beautiful pictures came out. Pinterest then suggest that I narrow down my search to “blue kitchen navy” or “blue kitchen backsplash”, etc. Add those that you love into your board. Let’s say you like both blue and wood kitchens and you’re not sure which one is THE ONE. Create two boards and start pinning away, you can also pin pictures that only has one item that you love (a desk, a lamp or wall color). You might end up with a lot of boards (for your entire home) so make sure you label them clearly. If you’re already an expert on Pinterest, congratulation, you’ve got yourself an awesome tool!
Our preference changes as we age and we’re being exposed to new ideas everyday, keep pinning throughout your planning (very important!) so that the final look is up to date and not based on a random idea five years ago. Don’t be easily affected by trends, just because someone did *insert anything* for their home, you want the same thing. Don’t get persuaded by a designer/contractor just because they say so (always ask them the reasons and use your own judgement). Consider you want to live with things you REALLY like and not make decision on impulse which you will definitely regret down the road.
// SET YOUR BUDGET //
Think about how long you gonna be staying. Five years? Ten years? Make a wishlist of what you need versus what you want. Look at your floor plan; understand how much space you have. You can set two budgets, one for your renovation (include designer fee if you plan to hire one) and one for your furniture. Make sure you can afford the total budget. I set my budgets on things (example; bed) that needs to be ready when we move in and those we can buy overtime (example; my work desk). Always set aside additional 15% of your renovation budget for contingency plan.
// SOURCE FOR FURNITURE //
A quick and comfortable way to source for furniture is to look at their sites. You might need to look at multiple sites for the right sized/priced furniture. I love sites that also provide dimensions (and price). By doing this early, it can save you some legwork. Buy what you REALLY like and avoid settling for furniture simply out of convenience. Although you might want to test some furniture like the sofa in person as comfort level varies from individuals.
You might also come across something and falls in love which sometimes can be out of your budget. If you start your furniture sourcing early, you’ll have time to make changes by allocating lesser budget for other items that you (and other occupants) are willing to compromise. Very important if you’re sharing your home with your spouse or family. Always communicate throughout, always ask their opinion (like your wife or husband. This is how you keep your marriage, people!). Last minute changes and uninformed decision causes stress and tension (especially when it involves money). Want some furnishing ideas? Here’s some on the blog completed with direct links for easy shopping.
Blog posts – Sofas Under $900 and $1500 // Copper Accent Pieces // Paint Colors of the Year, Pendants and Pin Leg Furniture // Work And Study Spaces // Kitchen Bar Stools and Dining Chairs // Bathroom Accessories
// CREATE A MOOD BOARD //
You don’t need to be a designer or know any design software to make your own mood board. You can even use Microsoft Paint to make one. After you’ve narrow down a few furniture, pluck them in together like above so you can see everything at one glance and get a good feeling about them in the same space. I will be sharing how to make one on the blog (step by step guide), so stay tuned. :)
// CREATE YOUR FLOOR PLAN //
After you know what are gonna be in the room, create YOUR floor plan. Play with a few layouts and different furniture placement to see which one you like. One of the easiest to use is floorplanner.com, it’s free and floor plan can be viewed in 3D. Simply select items and pluck them in. If you know Sketchup or other design software, you can go ahead and create a 3D version. It’s totally fine if you don’t; you can even draw YOUR own floor plan (with furniture placement) on paper.
// RESEARCH ON HIRING PROFESSIONAL //
If you feel that you need a better representation (mood board, floor plan, 3D designs) to get a sense of what you’ll be getting or simply do not have time to browse furniture sites, consider hiring a professional. Not all designers help source for your furniture (and take note of additional charges if they do). A renovator or contractor doesn’t do this too, their expertise is to manage the project/renovation, liaising with sub-contractors, etc.
The focus of an interior designer is the structure of the space (making it functional is top priority), they make sure you have enough space allowance to open doors, etc, provide opinion on hacking walls, etc. An interior stylist’s focus is “how does one feels to be in the space” (without compromising functionality). They have expert knowledge on using colors, furniture and accessories to tell a story. Interior stylist brings personality to the home, making it warm and inviting.
Your home can be well renovated but lack personality which might translates as generic (sterile and uninviting like a showroom), boring, uninspiring. Which is why renovating alone is not enough to make it feels like home and magazine-worthy! Before you even sign or make any payment, make sure you know what you want and what you’ll get.
During anytime of your planning, don’t be afraid to revisit step 1 to 7. The more different homes and styles you look at, the more you can be sure what works for you, but don’t set out to do one style and box yourself inside. Husband and I recently took a trip to Crate & Barrel and CB2 and got an idea for sectional sofa. Few days later, I went ahead and edited my 3D design including a complete change of furniture placement in the living room! Then another few days later, we went to Lifestorey and Molecule and decided on a Eames lounger for my husband, which changes my design from sectional sofa back to a simple blue couch. All these changes are very normal and do expect them while you’re planning for your home.
Remember this; a beautiful home doesn’t come by chance, someone somewhere spent time and effort making sure it turns out this way. If you need assistance in planning for your home, you might be interested in our services. Fill out a simple form and get started. See you next post!
All words by me. Images by me and credited links.