Decorating:Getting Started

I was reading a design book this morning looking for inspiration (domino, the book of decorating) & the first chapter covers "Getting Started".  I thought these are helpful steps to share for anyone, designer or non-designer. 

1. Finding Inspiration: Through magazines, books, online sources, travel, nature, art, movies, ect.  Just tear out what you love and put it in a file.  Starting with a collection of images is always helpful plus you can search for themes and what your drawn to.
2. By gathering all those images also leads to what your Style is.  Do you like classic and neutral? Are you glamourous? Do you like bold and unconventional? Dramatic? This helps to filter out some things that don't fit and you'll end up getting tired of or not liking in a year!
3. How will you use the space? When designing a room for a client designers always ask how do you live in this room? What activities will you be doing in here? Basically what are your needs and wants in this space? Defining the space helps to strategize and create the room to benefit you and how you live. 
4. What do you already own? Next step would be to photograph and measure everything that exists in your home to see what items to keep or toss. This helps de-clutter the space and make room for something more useful.  Do I love these old lamps my mom gave me? Is this sofa big enough to entertain in the Living room or would it be better in the basement? 
5. Floorplans- After measuring and determining what you need new and what is existing, a floorplan is good to map out options.  Using graph paper or using online tools such
to arrange the furniture.  Consider a few arrangements. Things to think about is there a fireplace, where's the t.v. going to go, is this ideal for entertaining, ect. 
6. Figure out what you liked to spend for this project and set a budget before moving forward. Everyone is different- some like to collect over time and some like to do the whole space at once. Figure out the best situation for you.
7. Research everything from paint, best sofa pricing, rugs, fabrics, wallpaper, accent pieces. You get the idea the Internet is your best friend.
8. Creating a scheme.  Once you have found your best selections you may need to narrow down your options. Either you spread out all the materials and pictures on a table or arrange them nicely on the computer. It helps to visually see it all together before installation.
9. Schedule. Make a list of everything and a time line. Break it down in order to order! Order sofa and pillows, buy paint, hire a painter, send the chair to upholster,ect. This helps create order and takes you to the end of installation.

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