A great problem which seems to face many homeowners is the question of how to recognize their own home decorating ideas and design ambitions, and then translate them from imagination into reality.
Very often it seems that we find ourselves following certain trends and patterns of behaviour on autopilot – it’s not that we follow these trends because we’re unimaginative or find it hard to envision an alternative.
It’s simply a matter of doing what we’re used to, and seeking our design inspiration from outside sources.
While home & garden magazines and the like are a great source for ideas and inspiration, there are several problems with being overly reliant on them and the ideas they present. The most significant of those problems are that (a) we end up having to adapt ourselves to a strategy created in a different environment to our own, which may not be suitable for us, and (b) we don’t get to fully express our own creative vision of what our home should be – after all, no matter how impressive an interior design template may be, it will never be an exact match for your own inner vision. It was someone else’s inner vision to start with.
Keeping that in mind, here are some steps that will help you realize your own design potential:
Identify your inspirations
This is the most straightforward part of the process and the one where most people get stuck. This is the stage where you need to read all of the magazines, articles, and blog posts you can get your hands on. Google as many pictures of interesting homes and interior furnishings as you can. Think of the designs you’ve seen in the past which impressed you the most.
The point of this step isn’t to find the one strategy which you most prefer and then to apply it to your home. The point is simply to get a good range of ideas and possibilities floating around in your mind. This step provides some of the building blocks which you’ll use in the next step.
Define your own vision
You’ve seen what’s out there. You know what kind of things impress you and make an impression on your imagination. Now it’s time to take a step back from everyone else’s ideas, use those ideas as fuel, and work out your own vision of how your home would be decorated in a perfect world.
This might seem like an obvious step, but in reality we often hold extremely vague ideas in our minds of concepts like “ideal decoration”, and until we clarify those ideas, we can’t implement them.
An important point to consider with this step is – don’t dream of how your idealized luxury castle in the French countryside would look when decorated (unless of course you happen to already own one of those), but instead keep your vision focused on your actual property. If it was as good as it could get, how would it look?
Identify the scale
So you have your decorating vision all worked out. Every feature has fallen perfectly into place in your mind, and you’re sure that no stone has been left unturned. You have such a vivid idea of what you want that you can almost reach out and touch it.
Now you work out the scale of your plans.
What this really means in practical terms is that you must now list the actions which would have to be undertaken in order to fulfil your design vision. For the ambitious homeowner it could involve knocking down walls, building extensions, and completely re-modelling the structure of the property.
Alternatively, it could be as simple as introducing new home furnishings and interior décor, or changing some wallpaper, or all of the above.
Once you’ve determined which actions you need to undertake in order to make your vision a reality, try and calculate as accurately as possible the cost of each stage of the process.
From that point on, draw up a rough timeline for your project beginning with actions you can take today, actions which you can take soon, and actions which you can take long term in order to realize your goal.
Go for it
This part is straightforward. Just do it.
No progress is made without action. That’s a simple reality of life. Quite often it’s easy to get caught up in the planning stages of a goal without ever getting around to taking decisive steps to make it happen – this applies to many facets of life, plans, goals and ideas for home decorating and interior design being no exception. If you’ve followed all of the steps listed above, you can stop worrying about the planning stage. You’ve covered it. Now, go out there and do it.