Where to begin when starting your design project?

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Starting your design project off on the right track is critical. Knowing where to begin and what steps to follow will give you the confidence and energy necessary to hit the ground running.

If you are planning to work with a design professional, any advance preparation you can do will save time and improve communication. If you’ll be working on your own then these step-by-step exercises will help you to know where to begin, keep your momentum and avoid the constant second-guessing.

Let’s begin with the prerequisite “project preparation”

Good project preparation

…is priceless. It will save you time, money, unnecessary frustration and hurt feelings. Need more convincing? It can also help to ensure that you are HAPPY with the results and that your design will stay both beautiful and functional for a very long time.

Start with a roadmap. Your design roadmap is a quick and easy first step towards identifying the general scope of your project. No need to get detailed or technical…just determine the basics and make sure everyone is on board and in agreement. Once you know what you’re doing and where you’re going you’re ready for the next step.

Knowing your general direction will keep you focused and help save time when it comes to the”gather and learn” phase. You know what type of room(s), furniture and budget range to help narrow the search for inspiration and ideas. The more you learn and absorb, the more you’re going to start recognizing your personal style.

As you browse through books and magazines always keep the big picture in the back of your mind. Even if you fall in love with several different styles and colour schemes you’ll want to make sure you blend styles and colours carefully. (Even if it means that you have to edit out a few of your good ideas, thinking big picture will help your home look it’s best in the end).

Finally, all good preparation includes collection of any necessary tools that you’ll need. Have them around you and ready to go. Spend a little time gathering these items together and you’ll be working like a pro!

If you truly want professional looking results then we’d recommend that you start wrap up this preparation phase with a detailed program. This is an optional exercise, but is useful for making sure that you didn’t overlook any important aspects of the project. Similar to your “roadmap”, but containing much more detailed information, the program is a professional tool that you can use to avoid omissions and ensure premium functionality in your spaces.

 Where to begin when starting your design project?

Beginning your project

Confident, informed and ready to move forward? You now have a general idea of your project parameters; you’ve gathered images and ideas that you’ll be using for inspiration…(which you know how to blend from room to room) and you’ve taken the time to gather your necessary project tools. Perhaps you’ve even completed a program.

Congratulations, you’re halfway there, and you haven’t even “started” yet!

Since you’ve done so much work, it’s only fair to start with something fun. It’s time for a a home analysis. There is something about seeing our homes in flat, 2d images, that help us to see things we might miss when trying to evaluate with the naked eye. If in doubt, seek council and ask advice. The decisions you make now are one’s you’ll be living with for a while.

Once you know what elements you plan to change, we need to inventory the elements that WON’T be changing. If everything is changing, then you’re off the hook…but everyone else needs to make sure their new design plans accommodate existing elements. This step will help to ensure that the old is blended beautifully into the new.

With your tools at hand you’re ready to measure and create your floor plan. (Be sure and check out our measuring tips to make sure you get accurate results). Having your floorplan and measurements will help to make sure new purchase will fit and are the right scale, and will be a handy tool when obtaining preliminary cost estimates from trade professionals.

Hit the ground running.

It’s time! Time to shop, obtain samples, swatches, price quotes, etc. You have a clear idea of exactly what you are looking for, how BIG it should be, what color palette you’re working with and how it’s all going to fall together. You can now give a complete idea of scope, budget and timelines to craftsmen, suppliers and salespeople who want your business.

Your hard work to this point will allow you to effectively manage your project, help to reduce errors and omissions…and make sure you love your decorating results.

We’ll leave you with one last caveat…

DO NOT FORGET this important reminder!

It takes a lot to execute a successful decorating project…organization, planning, confidence and know-how. But don’t forget this important aspect. If you do, you’ll regret it later.