You're Moving! Now What?

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Another encompassing topic!

You're moving!  Yay!  Either it's new or new for you.  What's next? 

Last week, my niece and her husband called me for advice on moving into their new home.  What should they do next?  Should they hire a Designer for advice?  What should they ask her TO DO?

THAT was the THE question.  Since then, I've decided that we are probably one of 4 types when we set a home or office (home away from home):
1.  "I'm OK, Really!!"-- setting it all up is no problem, picking what's needed to finish is easy -- all good.  And they are right --mostly-- unless there's an unexpected glitch.
2. I'm OK, but only in my own mind" -- That's what John talked about in his comment (on my 1st blog) about putting things tog. and having it NOT work.  Yuck. 
3. "I'm not sure if I can do this, I'll try" -- just what it sounds like!!
4. "Never mind, I can't do this, but that's OK" -- no taste or Design Sense, but doesn't care (that's OK, too).  Hey, can't influence everyone.
Asking what a Design professional can do for you before move-in is a great question.  These are items to work with whether you are using a Designer or whether you are your own Designer.  Ready?
1.  Make an inventory of what you have, especially what you want to keep when you move. PLEASE.
2.  If you are working with someone or can get a plan (many people-- current owners or managment companies of apartments--have blueprints), lay out the important rooms.  If you want to do it yourself, go to an office supply store and buy a furniture template that matches the scale of the drawing. Use 8 sq. per inch graph paper if you want to measure & draw the rooms yourself.  Kinkos can make a photocopy of a blueprint, too.
3.  Determine if these items are usable, reparable:  flooring, lighting, window coverings.  OBVIOUSLY, if you are planning to do a remodel to redo kitchens and baths or move walls, you architect/designer will be doing this with you already. 
Back to the items:  walls, floors, lighting and window coverings create the shell of your home.  Be comfortable with what you keep as is and plan.  If this is an apartment and the building isn't helping you, you will have to work with what you get, or maybe take on some work yourself.  Painting can be pretty inexpensive.
4.  Set a budget for your total expenses and then prioritize your project.  Again, if this is an apt., decide if you want to spend money on stuff you'll be leaving there....If it's your own place, I suggest you spread out the budget as far as you can or put off something till you have more to spend.
5.  Paint is the most changeable thing in your home.  Carpet is there for years, and you will not likely change your window coverings soon.  Redoing hard surface flooring is disruptive.  Do it when it's out of the way -- like before you move it.  If you are adding lights, make sure they are done before your paint (pretty obvious). If you are changing light fixtures, you can wait if you have budget limits.  This is usually disruptive.  You can change lights in a apartment and then replace the old fixtures when you leave.
6.  If you are doing this yourself, try to have samples and pictures of everything to look at together and then make your final decisions.  Look at your choices with the furniture that is moving with you.  Paints come in 3 oz. bottles as testers and most paint suppliers can match any company's samples.  And yes, they can match (well enough) a fabric. Nearly every room looks best with a white ceiling.  Darker wood floors are classic, lighter ones more "country" and that includes unstained.
If you stay with uncomplicated choices -- nothing fussy, but color is OK! -- your furnishings should fit in, and it should feel like home.

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