As much fun as diving into ripping off wallpaper, getting a fresh coat of paint on and buying a new three-piece suite is, sometimes interior decisions fend better long-term with a dose of careful thought and planning.
As you know (well, I hope you do), I’ve recently transformed a couple of the rooms in my family home (with the help of my family). Whilst in the planning and consideration stages of each room, I followed a loose but insightful train of thought, to stop me from committing to any regrettable colour decisions, but also to create a space that’s more likely to stand the test of time (i.e. something I won’t be complaining about a month down the line…).
If you’re planning a room renovation or switch-around soon, then by thinking each one of these considerations through before setting plans in stone, means you may turn back and thank me (or yourself, after all, you are the one making the effort to read) in the future.
To see my latest interior adventures close up, check out my Bedroom Interior Switcheroo and my Interior Switcheroo: Home Study. Not only am I recommending them because self-promo is how bloggers get stuff done, I’m urging you to go and have a look simply to get some context for some of the tidbits I’m about to share.
“So, Becky, what are the seven things that you think I should consider before painting each wall a different primary colour and wallpapering the ceiling?” (No shade if this is your interior preference).
Well, let’s start here, shall we…
What is the room used for?
Priority one when re-designing any room is to keep the rooms function clear, easy-to-carry-out and workable with any design ideas and innovations you might have. There’s not much worse than completing a room re-design and then realising you can’t use it for the purpose it’s there for. An extreme example would be getting carried away with creating such a beautiful, bespoke plate cupboard (I’m sure there’s a better name for this) that you forget to allocate enough space for a dining table in the dining room… Like I said, extreme.
Keeping the rooms primary purpose in mind with every decision you make will expand the lifespan of your re-design and stop you from cursing at yourself when you’re sitting on the sofa every night to eat your dinner.
Does the room have any original features?
If you look around and you find yourself in a room with a beautiful, original fireplace, deep alcoves and stunning parquet floor, you’d probably want to enhance and embrace those features, right? Even if you desperately want a chic moulded fireplace in a marble pattern so it’ll look great in blog photos, that original brick babe is probably going to stand the test of time more and fill the house with some character for years and years to come.
Ultimately, it’s your call about preserving or patching over original features, but the important thing is to at least consider both sides of the coin.
Architectural features also should be thought about in a design. The slanted ceilings are always going to be there, so why not work them into your design and maybe even enhance them? A hefty dose of working with what beauty you’ve already got is a great mindset to adopt here since some beautiful architectural features are going to be even more breath-taking fifty years down the line when they’re even rarer (so let’s make sure they’re still here!).
Light: Natural and other
Light in a room is something I’d never massively considered before re-designing two ‘light-deficient’ rooms. It’s probably because my old bedroom was constantly flooded with natural light (something I really took advantage of). Anyway, when faced with a room that doesn’t have great natural light or floods in light at only very specific points in the day it’s important to think about how to make the best of this natural light and how to supplement it when it says goodbye.
Lighting can be made as Hygge (think cosy and dim, very welcoming and comforting) or as ‘modern office’ (think bright, white lighting, seeing all your desk and not just the glow of your laptop screen) as you like, what matters is that it’s the right amount, and kind of light for the rooms uses.
I’m currently tackling the lighting issue in our home study, where we currently only have one main ceiling light and a desk lamp. Adding some taller lamps in a few corners is definitely going to brighten up the room when the sun isn’t out, and make the place a little less shadowed for those night blogging sessions.
That storage doesn’t have to be boring
The fact that we all need quite a large amount of storage in this day and age is just a given. Not all of the storage we require has to be cookie cutter boxes under the bed, or closets or boxes on shelves, though. Getting creative with storage and possibly making it into a room feature will transform the way you see all that junk you need for a rainy day. Take our dual-sided box wall we created for the home study (check the post out here), it’s not to everyone’s taste, but it’s turned the necessity of all that book storage into a design feature of the entire room (two rooms in fact!). Doing similar things with visible storage like shelves and open alcoves adds so much interest to a room.
Think about what storage you need in the room you’re re-designing (then add a little bit more), brainstorm some more creative ways to display it (or hide it) than the same old Ikea Billy bookcases. Maybe use Pinterest as a jumping off point and find something that will add value (not monetary… but maybe) to your home.
What your realistic budget is
This one is pretty straight-forward. There’s not much point designing a room that’s going to cost £2000 to finish and kit out if you only have £200 to do the whole job with. Knowing your realistic budget will not only help you get the best of what you can afford, it will encourage creativity for some aspects that will require a more personal touch or a spot of DIY making.
Also, it’s good to know that there’s a big different between something being cheap and something looking cheap. With a bit of care and attention, some of the greatest interior steals can come up a treat and be exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t get stuck in the “there’s no point doing it unless everything is going to perfect right away…” trap, interiors are always a work in progress. The quicker you let go of the idea of instant perfection, the more of the interior transformation journey you’ll get to enjoy (seriously, this one comes straight from the horse’s mouth).
Is less going to be more?
When we were in the planning stages for the home study, we originally wanted to squeeze a sofa into the (not massive) room. For ages, we considered where it would go, how big we could get the sofa and exclaimed just how useful having a sofa in here would be! However, when it came down to it, squeezing a sofa into a room with a feature fireplace, a wall full of books and two desks was going to prove hard, not to mention how busy and cluttered the room would look. Instead, my mum opted for an armchair and footstool, which she can be comfortable and read in whilst still be having space to move around in the room.
This consideration is important if you like a feeling of space and air in a room. Whilst you can always take things away from a space, it’s much easier (and more affordable) to build a room up more slowly and add things into it as and when creating an ultimately more thought-out and curated space.
If you currently don’t own your own home (or don’t still live with your parents) then don’t fret! 2017 is the year that I’ll be taking on the adventure of moving out, and then in with a stinky old boy (wish me luck). When this miraculous event occurs (fingers crossed it’s before the summer) I’m sure I’ll be sharing a tonne of content about making a rented house feel like a home. I already have about a million ideas so time can really hurry this milestone up.
If you are in the process of re-designing (or even moving furniture around) then I’d love to hear what your main consideration was before you set sail on this interior adventure.
Did you already think about the lighting and the room’s original features, or has this post given you a little more food for thought?
Whatever stage you’re at in achieving your interior goals, I’m wishing you the very best (after all, you know that interiors mean an awful lot to me).