Interior Design Tips and Tricks to Furnish your Home in Style
Good interior design should be the first thing you think of when furnishing your home. Whether you have been spending more time at home than ever before or have just moved into a new place, I have some tried and true essential tricks and tips to help you design and furnish your place without breaking the bank.
Think about interior design purchases like stock portfolios.
You should put the big bucks where you will have a good, reliable return. Next there is the midterm investment, slightly higher risk but still can be a good choice for 5-7 years. Next is the fun part, the mad money which is like a high-risk investment. You only gamble what you can afford to lose. Think hot pink faux fur coverlet. Totally glam but probably will only be around for a couple of seasons.
This may sound old fashioned but sit down and write yourself a letter. Tell yourself what you want to be surrounded with. What is most important that you really cannot live without and what might have to stay on the wish list for a little bit longer. Maybe that dining room table and chairs can wait or maybe not. Creating a space to work may have to move ahead of that funky standing bar cabinet you had your eye on. Set some priorities.
“A failure to plan is a plan to fail”
I strongly recommend working with a professional designer to create a plan for you. “Virtual design” is redefining the designer client relationship. All it takes is a little web searching to find the right fit. Find one who has a design vibe you really like. It can be a great adventure to jump right in and start buying things but you may find you are left with items you don’t love. And some of it could end up at the curb which is not a good idea for you or your budget not to mention the environment. Professional designers will steer you in the right direction.
Let’s talk dollars and cents: The Budget
You need an honest assessment of where you stand on dollars because the budget will drive what you should invest in. Yes, I said invest. Disposable furniture like fast trendy fashion is not good for the environment or your design plan. Better quality items will stand up and can always be reimagined for a new purpose.
Where to invest first.
Your bedroom is where you start and end your day. If you are not well rested and in a place where you can recharge your energy, you can suffer ill effects physically and emotionally. I believe in having a bedroom with a great mattress, one or two nightstands (if there is room) and a dresser unless you have a tricked-out closet. This room should reflect your inner self either Wild Child or Soft and Serene.
Work life balance:
If you are working from home, which for many of us is the new normal, set up a mini office area. To be productive, you need to have a space conducive to productivity. I would suggest it not be in the bedroom. While you don’t need an entire room, a great desk chair is a must. Need some home office ideas? Here are my 6 Pro Tips for Designing a Home Office
Be a Savvy Shopper not a Bargain Hunter
It is much better to be a savvy shopper than a bargain hunter especially for home furnishings. Good quality products which have a timeless style are key. Furniture should not be like disposable fashion. If you find a great comfortable chair that you love, but don’t like the color? Reupholster it. Check in with friends and relatives who may be downsizing. For example, picture an old “Queen Anne” style table and chairs in a traditional cherry wood and stain with slightly outdated cushions. Ugh! Right? Now picture that same table painted a beautiful navy-blue lacquer. Now change the seats cushions to a beautiful textured fabric and voila! New life, current trend, low cost design. We reimagine pieces all the time.
What about the kids?
I get this question a lot. I am a little old fashioned when it comes to this question. I have kids, they have friends, we have nice furniture, end of discussion. We had rules about how our home was treated. The kids had a place to play and run and be kids but that did not mean they could jump on the sofa or walk on the tables. Adults can be just as hard on furnishings as kids. In today’s world of home fashion, there are so many products using endurance fabrics which have made a huge difference in durability and cleanability.
You can find decorative pieces online but upholstered pieces and case goods are a different story. How do you know if something is comfortable or not? You won’t know how sitting in the piece impacts your body. I have met so many clients who have purchased pieces online because they “looked good” only to find they did not fit the space, are totally uncomfortable to sit in or are not quite what they seemed in the photo.
It all goes back to knowing what you are purchasing. I spend a lot of time visiting interior design showrooms and furniture markets educating myself about the products I sell. I use the internet to show clients a piece of furniture. If they like it and there is a showroom where we can go and see it we do. Hiring a qualified professional designer saves time, money and frustration when it comes to completing your home.
Good things come to those that wait
I have very few clients who finish a home in a couple of months. We spend time creating a plan. Deciding on the budget. Determining what the best plan of action for them will be. Then we can begin bringing the rooms together. This interior design process can last several months to several years. Their plan can evolve as their lifestyle evolves.
I really believe that design has to be functional, beautiful and fluid. Good pieces can last a long time and just like a wardrobe, can be updated. Remember you are investing in yourself when you invest in your home
Hope that helps or is at least a start.
Sharon L Sherman ASID CID CKD is a designer and Reiki Master located in New Jersey. Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, Family Circle, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Record, The Star Ledger, Bergen Magazine and Aspire as well as several books. Her Blog “Tips for the Trade” has appeared in digital form on Sivanaspirit.com. She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.