Welcome to A Complete Guide to Creating Spaces Part Two: Realization. After getting so many questions from our readers about how we come up with our home decor ideas, some friends and I decided to write a 3 part blog series on how we do just that! Make sure to check out these ladies blogs as well for more ideas on REALIZATION.
Here’s what do expect from our Complete Guide to Creating Spaces Series:
Part One: Inspiration – February 6
Part Two: Realization – February 13
Part Three: Implementation – February 20
We will discuss how each of us find our inspiration, how we take it from dream to realization, and finally how we make it come true – implementation.
Ok, last week we figured out our design style and how utilizing Pinterest can give us tons of inspiration (read last post here). Now it’s time to figure out WHAT you want and HOW to make it possible. Asking yourself the right kind of questions can really help in making your project a reality.
Step One – ROOM BY ROOM LIST
There are so many things I want to do in my home! I walk around the house and my mind keeps turning with all kinds of ideas. In fact, I lay awake at night thinking of all the pins I have pinned and where I can use them – it’s crazy! If you have lots of ideas like I do, it can get overwhelming. Sometimes I literally feel like I am having an anxiety attack with all my projects and my mind starts to freak out. I don’t see an end in site.
It’s important to realize that projects takes time. We usually want things done NOW – but thinking this way will stress you out. Recognize the time and season you are in and what is “workable” for you.
At the beginning of each year I write down all the things I want accomplished in my home and then I make a calendar for them. Literally. Some things I consider are:
- Cost (some projects take more “saving up” time)
- The Season (we get lots of snow so it’s hard to do projects then)
- Family Time (May and December are NO-GO project months for me)
- Length (how long will it take me to get it done)
For example, I want my laundry room redone, but it’s not the most important thing on the list right now. It will cost some extra money because there are alot of DIY’s involved, and we will have to move the washer and dryer out. Which means the weather needs to be warm so I can hang out clothes to dry. Therefore I added it to the end of the summer TO DO LIST calendar. I will get there, but just not yet.
Start with the most important area you want to work on. Is it a bathroom, an entry, a closet space? Your list of projects will never end (mine sure don’t), so you have to priorize what you want most. This list can change as you go. Often a project will take me longer than I planned. I adjust my calendar as needed, and sometimes I don’t get everything done in that year. No biggy, it just gets moved to the next year.
Example: Last year I decided my entryway was my top priority. Everytime I walked into my house it felt dark and heavy. This change was added to the top of my list. You can see the before and after photos and what a difference it made!
Step Two – BUDGET
Now you know what project you are going to start working on because it is at the top of your list, or the first thing on your calendar. So you have to ask yourself, “What can I afford on this project?” This is probably the biggest part of the decision making process. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much will this cost to hire someone to do it for me?
- Can I afford to hire this project out?
- Can I hire a designer to help me?
- Are there certain parts of this project I can or need to hire out?
- Can I hire out some help and then do some myself?
- What parts are impossible for me to do on my own?
- What parts of this project can I do myself?
- What can I do all by myself?
- Are there new things I can learn to do to save money on this project?
- What tools or equipment do I own that I can use verses buying or renting more?
If you do not have the resources to hire out the entire project, you are most likely working within a budget. I am always working within a budget – a tight one. I actually prefer this. It’s like a game to me – how can I make what I WANT, within the budget that I HAVE. Here is my number one tip that I live by when I start a project:
“SELL BEFORE YOU BUILD”
Meaning, if I want a new sitting area in my entry way, I have to figure out all the things I can get rid of – AND SELL – to pay for the new project. You will be amazed at what people want for a deal! First of all, this helps me keep things cleaned out. I love this feeling. Secondly it helps me add extra money into the budget that I will be working with.
Example: A few years ago my daughter wanted to redo her room. I had zero extra budget laying around for this. So I told her, “let’s sell all your stuff and see what we can come up with.” We spent days going through toys, clothes, furniture, and knick knacks. A chunk was donated to our local thrift shop, but we used our local ads, facebook page, and clothing consignment shops to earn $600. We were shocked! This gave us a fun budget to work within and we never touched our family income.
Step Three – ALTERNATIVES
Often what we WANT in a project, and what our BUDGET is for the project, are not the same. For me it’s USUALLY this way. But after working on projects for so many years, I am confident there is always a way to find a happy medium. It takes some studying, some work, and lots of creativity.
Once again, here are some great questions to ask yourself:
- Do I need ALL of the things I want for this project, or are there some parts I can live without if I need too?
- What things are very important to me and what things can I let go of?
- If I am building something, what old materials do I have that I can already use?
- If I need to paint, do I have left over paint from a different project that could work?
- Could I consider shopping at antique or thrift stores to find a similar item?
I have found that as you search the internet you can find ideas and resources about budget decor and DIY projects. I watched different Youtube videos on how to install various styles of shiplap. This helped me to determine the different prices and what was the cheapest option. So figure out what you want done, and research it.
Example: I wanted to add some lights to my entry, but I couldn’t have them installed because of my budget. So I created my own. I added old wood pieces, drilled garden hooks to them, and hung solar lights. Start letting your mind get creative on ways to add decor to your space in a unique and inexspensive way!
Now, there is a few more ideas on how to make your INSPIRATION into a REALIZATION. Next week’s post will be all about IMPLEMENTATION – let’s get that project done!
Before I go, here are a few more budget tips I have learned along the way:
- Paint – check out the clearance section at The Home Depot Paint Department. That stuff is a steal! And they restock all the time, so check back regularly.
- Decor – I ALWAYS check out my local thrift store for pieces first. I never ever pay full price on any home decor. I just can’t do it! If my thrift store doesn’t have what I am looking for (and usually have to refinish), I will check for online sales and discount department stores.
In my final post in this series I will share my list GO-TO places for shopping deals.