Starting any room makeover can feel like an impossible task. It can be really difficult to know where to start and not knowing where to begin is the thing that keeps most people from ever trying a room makeover. I’m here to change that. Today, I’m here to share with you the one thing every room makeover should start with.
Making over a room can be a large undertaking but it doesn’t have to be difficult and anyone can do it if they know a few basics. Today we are talking about the thing you need to do first. Yes, you shouldn’t start any room makeover without doing this one thing first. What it that one thing? It’s making a plan.
Before you pull out your paint brushes, buy fabric, furniture or any accessories, you need to start with a plan. The planning process may not be the most glamorous part of the project, but taking the time to do your research, take measurements, nail down your style and make lists is key to a successful room makeover.
So how do you make that plan? Let’s take a look at the process I use when coming up with any room makeover plan. I’ve talked about this many times before so hopefully this doesn’t come to a surprise but because this is often the place most people get stuck, I thought it was work focussing on this one part of the makeover process.
Evaluate your space as it is right now.
The first part of developing your plan is making sure you understand why you want to change it in the first place. Take some time in your space to just look around. This doesn’t have to be a difficult question to answer but each room, and each space will be different. Ask yourself as many questions you can think of to narrow in on why you want to do a makeover.
Is the space simply outdated, old and dingy? Is the space no longer functioning for your family? Does it simply lack style or personality? Do you lack storage? Is there too much / too little furniture?
Ask yourself all these questions and really dig deep. Write down all your answers with as much detail as you can. Having a clear idea of why you want to makeover a space will help you form your plan much more easily.
Define how you plan to use the space
Once you have a clear description of why you want to make over a space, it’s time to flip your thoughts to what you want your new space to be.
How do you plan to use the space? Who uses this space? (your entire family, is it adult only, dogs/pets) Does the space need to serve multiple purposes (a family room for tv watching, desk for homework) or does it serve just one purpose (a bedroom for sleeping).
Make Note of Anything you know you want (optional)
I mention making note of anything specific at this point because sometimes I start a room makeover plan with a pretty clear vision already or with an inspiration piece that I have already.
If you don’t have anything or aren’t sure where to begin, that’s OK. Move on to gathering inspiration.
Now that you have an understanding of what’s not working in your space and what you want your space to be, it’s time to start gathering inspiration and ideas. I typically spend days and even weeks gathering inspiration for any room makeover. I collect ideas from Pinterest, magazines, books, retailer websites, blogs, etc.
My method is pretty simple. I start a Pinterest board for my room project and pin images I find. For magazines and books, i start a pile with post-it notes marking pages. Note: Even if you are making over a bedroom, you don’t necessarily have to search for only bedrooms. It could be a landscape, a patio, a travel destination, a kitchen. Remember, you are looking for what inspires you, not just bedrooms to copy.
Once I have a collection of inspiration saved, I go back through everything making note of common themes. This could be colors, furniture styles, fabrics, etc.
These common elements are what will inspire your space. See? A picture is being formed.
Establish your Budget
The next step in planning your makeover is establishing your budget. Do you have $200, $2000 or $20,000? Having a clearly defined budget will help you keep things in perspective as you begin shopping and will help determine the extent of your makeover.
Keep in mind that bathrooms and kitchens are often the most expensive spaces to tackle and depending on the extent of your makeover, you may have to hire a contractor for things like electrical and plumbing work which will add up in a hurry.
Start Making Your Plan
Developing your actual plan is in itself a multi-stage process that includes measuring your space with window and door locations, gathering samples, making your shopping list, making a list of everything that needs to be done, setting a timeline, etc.
Measure your Space
While maybe not required for every space, especially if you aren’t starting from scratch, I find this step to be worthwhile in figuring out a floor plan for furnishings, determining rug sizes, etc.
If you are shopping for new furniture for a family room for example, having a mockup for your room can help you determine whether your sofa and accent chairs are the right scale for your space allowing for ample space to get around them.
From Fabrics to tile, to paint chips, gathering samples to make sure all your elements are going to work together before making your purchases will save you time and money.
I shared my samples for our first floor bathroom at the beach house as we were making our materials selections. Collecting samples of all the elements before making purchases gave us the confidence to know that everything worked together perfectly.
Make your Shopping List
Making a shopping list of everything you need happens sort of alongside the sample gathering for me typically. Generally I know what materials i will need to complete a room so I gather samples as I’m making my list.
Making a list up front, before buying anything is also is a great way to make sure you are staying on budget. B and I tend to mix splurge items with bargain finds to stay within budget. We also find that mixing old and new creates a space that looks more ‘collected over time’ rather than brand new. We shop everything from thrift stores to high-end online retailers.
Making your shopping list before buying also gives you perspective on delivery times. Is there an item you want on back order? Maybe you need to find an alternative. Found an item on more than one website? Price shop for the best deal. This takes time but it can save you big money!
Finally, Set your timeline and create a list of tasks to be done.
This is my biggest tip for getting projects done at home despite being busy. Just like I schedule projects at work and here on the blog, scheduling my major home projects with deadlines and a strategy for getting it done helps keep me motivated and on track. Sure, sometimes life happens and things get off track but because I made a list up front, I can pick back up where I left off without wasting a lot of energy or additional time.
From this point, you should be ready to take action. I get that this sounds like a lot of preparation that needs to take place before even touching your space. While this is a generalized explanation of the steps, doing this work up front will give you direction and the right strategy for creating a space that you love and that works for you and your family.
Have questions or need help with your space? Let me know how I can help!