Mastering The Process

So, you have a room full of furniture which you used to love but one morning over coffee you look up and everything looks dull, dark, and done. Now what do you do? Most of us cannot get rid of everything and start over, but most of us can replace a few things. Also, we can move the furniture around or shop the rest of the house to see if the other rooms might have something that would feel fresh in the living room. All that sounds good but overwhelming because you don’t know how to get started. Getting started right is half the battle when re-designing a room because it is all your own stuff. There are techniques to help you get out of your own way and move yourself forward in the design of your home. Let’s go through a few steps that I use when helping clients re-design a space. These steps are called “the process”. This process works for everyone whether you are working with a designer or doing it alone. We will use the living room of a Gardenia model that has been shown before to demonstrate and break down the steps of “the process” somewhere in the heart of The Villages.

  •  Photograph the roomBefore photo, living room, Gardenia model,  Interior Design - by Ruth Dyer.
I always photograph the room before I change anything. When you photograph a room, it is useful in two ways. The first way it is useful, it lets you see the room without connection. You will see the room through the critical eyes of a stranger. If the entertainment unit is dark between the windows, you cannot escape that in a picture. If the couch is blocking the room and it is too dark the picture will reveal it when you look at the room with critical eyes. The second way a photo is useful is on paper. Don’t just look at the picture on the phone or the iPad because you must keep refreshing it. Print out the picture! You must have the paper in your hand! When you have the picture in your hand, you can analyze it for a long time without the interruption of having to refresh your phone or iPad. Ideas will start to flow into the mind like magic when you spend a concentrated amount of time studying the room, looking at the picture and then back at the room. This cannot be done with a computer because the mind cannot focus.

  •  Create traffic flow
The next thing I do is move the furniture that the client already has around to create an open traffic flow. You can see in the after picture we used many pieces the client owned but we opened the space for greater traffic flow. If you are starting from scratch and do not have furniture, then I like to take a tape measure and blue painter’s tape to tape out the pieces that I need to purchase for the room. This will allow you to see how fast a room can fill up. This is important so that it will force you to take into consideration the depth of the furniture in the space. Depth is usually the most forgotten measurement when purchasing seating pieces.

  •  Do the work
Move the furniture around as many times as it takes to get it right. The word “no” should not exist in this process! All ideas are on the table. If you move the sofa and it does not feel right, then move the room around again. I put all the furniture on slides, and I keep moving it until we love the way the room looks and feels. This can be physically taxing because you need to move all the tables around in the room as well, but it is worth it.

  •  Shop other rooms in the house
If you are moving the living room around and you would like a fresh look, check out the bedrooms. Is there a chair, lamp or side table that might work better in the living room. In the before picture the homeowner had side tables pushed together in the back of the floating sofa, but we were able to use them as proper side tables when we re-arranged the room. We re-used the center part of the entertainment unit for the TV, and we can see the pretty coffee table that was not visible before. We re-used the screen as art behind the new chairs.

  •  How do we know what to purchase
Now that you have the footprint of the room you can assess if you would like to replace something. To help yourself get comfortable with possible new purchases I like to create my own type of old school mood board. I go to the computer and search for pieces that will look great in the space. I print out the pieces of furniture that I am considering on paper for only the room that I am re-doing. I take all the pieces of paper that I have printed out and I lay them on the kitchen island or a large dining table. You only need to print out two to three choices of anything that you are considering. When you can see all your choices on paper in front of you it is easy to see a story emerging. It is easy to hold the papers and move things next to each other on a large surface rather than toggling over from page to page on a computer screen. Finally, you can place your top choices together and a common thread will emerge. You will be able to decide very quickly about a new purchase and most of all you will feel confident about making that purchase.

  •  Assess other needs
Now that you have your furniture in place and some new pieces of furniture selected, this is a good time to assess other needs in the space such as art, lighting, and a rug. Many rug websites have technology that will allow you to place the rug into the room from a downloaded picture. All that technology is great, but you still need to print the picture out on paper. Place your choices next to your confirmed purchases and you will see how the colors and your taste will shine through. This helps you discover you! Printing out the papers, laying them out and moving them around like puzzle pieces works better than a mood board on a computer because there are no interruptions for the mind. Always remember, creativity is uninterrupted activity!
Call Ruth your full service decorator at: 352-804-2056
or Contact Us

Before and After Pics Below