Renovations are the main reasons for a misunderstanding; because some concepts are difficult to put into words.
To avoid wasting time and money, it’s important to know how to express exactly what you want to your interior designer (ID), and there are better ways to do it than by simply using Pinterest and moodboards. Here’s a step-by-step template for homeowners:
A design model à la Xinni and KH
When Xinni and KH started renovating, they knew there had to be a clearer way to express what they wanted. In this article, we use their remodeling model as an example of how best to communicate with ID and get desired results.
This is the absolute best guide we’ve ever seen – clear and structured and just a pleasure to watch. They also very kindly provided a model to follow (click here to access it).
Step 1: Define Style and Features
Try to distill your overall vision into three or four main stylistic cues. This is a particularly good example, with the highlights defined like nature (wood and plants), whites and pastels, comfortable, open and cute.
It helps if you have a specific design theme in mind like rococo, French cottage, shabby chic, etc. but remember that the same theme can be interpreted in several ways. For example, the extent of “weathering” in shabby chic designs can be to varying degrees. So it’s always best to list three or four highlights for the theme.
Also list the features that are important to you like ease of cleaning, minimal use of partitions, extra storage space, etc.
Step 2: Sketch the floor plan and make a checklist for each room
If you don’t have the software or can’t draw, most ID companies can provide a sales designer to help you.
Think about how you want to use the floor space and how you might place the furniture. The tricky part is getting the scale right – unless you are precise enough in the measurements, furniture may not fit as well as you think.
If you haven’t bought any furniture yet, however, drawing the floor plan is a useful way to know what dimensions to buy.
Your ID can mark load-bearing walls on the floor plan, so you know which walls can be hacked and which are stationary.
While you’re at it, create a checklist for each room. For example, you might want to specify that the kitchen will also serve as a dining room or that you want to receive guests there; this can prompt your ID to suggest appropriate additions, such as kitchen islands.
Step 3: Enter the details of each room
In this example, notice that the mood and furnishings for each room are specified. Your ID can help you with more details later, such as providing color samples for the paint job in each room or providing a furniture list.
Step 4: Electronics and Appliances
You don’t need to include the details of every device or gadget. Just highlight some of the most important systems, which your ID may need to consider in the overall design. A common example would be home theater systems, as the positioning of the speakers is quite important.
If you have business or leisure spaces at home (for example, a photography studio, painting studio, or recording studio), you will need to inform your ID of the relevant equipment.
One of the key things to watch out for is the positioning of the feed points. If you don’t tell your username how you’re going to set up your audio system, for example, you might find that there is a lack of power outlets where you need them. Specify this in the descriptions of your rooms (see above).
In some cases – such as lights or smart locks – an identifier may have links to suppliers; sometimes they can get you the gadgets for less.
Step 5: Provide guide photos for the decor
Written descriptions aren’t great when it comes to describing a setting. It is best to browse online stores, interior design magazines, or other visual sources; save these images and show them on your id to give an idea of what you like.
At the same time, you can also search for prices, which will help you build a reasonable budget. Your ID can also help you find the decorative pieces you want, possibly at a reduced price.
Note that some IDs have their own production capabilities; they may be able to create custom designs that are close to what you see in magazines and websites. It can save you a little bit, instead of having to buy and ship the original parts.
Step 6: Get an initial cost breakdown and time estimate
Get your ID to provide an initial budget, for anything you’ve requested so far.
This will help you identify the most expensive items, and whether it is necessary to find alternatives. In most cases, your ID can recommend substitutes; like textured vinyl that mimics wood, instead of real parquet.
A time estimate is also helpful, as it affects how quickly you can move in. For landlords, you need to know how quickly you can start hiring tenants; some owners start marketing the property a month before renovations are complete.
Your ID can also provide the overall plan for renovations at this point. You may move in before the renovations are 100% complete; sometimes ID can schedule jobs to have important parts completed first.
Step 7: Provide feedback
As your ID features images, provide feedback on what you like and want to change. You can do this by directly writing comments and tagging images, like in this example. As an alternative, use a shared Google document, which allows direct updates.
(It’s easier than emailing multiple files, as you tend not to know which one is the latest version).
You should expect to go through several different review cycles. It’s not just about fine-tuning your vision, but tailoring your plans to certain realities (for example, if certain design features are too expensive, you may need to revise your plans for certain rooms).
Planning for renovations shouldn’t be a one-step process. This is usually something that changes as different versions and stages are reached, and it’s best to stay involved throughout.
When renovations take place, keep receipts and supplier details
A common mistake is to throw it all away. This can make it difficult to find replacement materials, if they are needed later.
For example, if your wallpaper does tear, you will need to know where to find the exact same pattern to replace it. If you want to repaint, it helps to know the exact shade or brand that was used the first time.
You should keep your renovation model, along with all relevant documents, for future reference.
This article first appeared in Stacked houses.