Planning our space well. With help.

Like most of people here, we have a standard  house. Many, many, many houses have our floor plan.

On our own, we have figured things out fairly well — for our headboard and our master bedroom and bath, the basement (it will be the next big makeover, but not a priority for a few years), the family room (the next pressing space), the kid bathroom, for repainting our hallways, and kitchen (still in progress). We’re on track for the powder room (once we get the right flooring), but the living and dining rooms — yeahnotsomuch.

The living room is white, rather long, and has a trafficway through the middle. Arranging the furniture has always been a dilemma there. And wall colors have been a point of uncertainty. We needed help.

Our help came in the form of an interior designer.A sister-in-law had done this successfully — hire someone from a furnishing store to come to your house, plan to buy at least one thing from her, then she leaves a plan for you to do with as you please. We didn’t find someone who matched our needs. “Interior designer” always sounded like a high end mandate for fancy houses, but through blog reading and TV watching, we know that every day people need to plan their space, and sometimes, they (we) need help.

It was very affirming for me to have a designer visit and validate my ideas.

It was comforting to my husband to hear a professional opinion. He needed to hear someone say that our ideas were feasible and valid, and see ideas that we hadn’t considered before.

(In fact, I think my husband cannot take my suggestions ever. So I have to find people who will say the same thing I would as a way to get him on board with me.) Our designer visited our house for two hours, with goals of wall colors and furniture arrangement. The first hour was spent asking questions. The second hour was spent letting her measure, walk around, think, and draw. We closed our time together at the table with her drawings. She left us with specific plans.

To prepare for yourself or for a designer

…You might want to consider:

  • What pieces of furniture, artwork, etc. have to be in your room? I needed one thing to stay, an heirloom table and stools. That’s it.
  • What color palette do you like? We like a neutral to earthy palette. I claimed white trim long ago. Our flooring was already chosen (of course the kids and Mr. TellBlast overrode my first choice).
  • Think of words to help give vision to the overall look. I wasn’t prepared for this. Mr. TellBlast made me go first. He said, “Comfortable.” I said, “Coordinated.” (As in Boomerang’s, “You got to coordinate. Mushrooms. Mushrooms!”)
  • Determining the function of the space will help guide a room’s design

What I learned:

  • Don’t let perceptions prevent you from hiring an interior designer.
  • Labeling your style is helpful. Our style is transitional, if you are wondering. I think that happens when two antique store kids get married.
  • Hiring an interior designer does not have to be a big commitment unless you want it to be. If the first experience goes well, you can ask for more at a later date. If not, move on.
  • A fresh perspective can be good, but you don’t have to follow her plan to the letter.
  • DIY was OK with our designer. She was OK with not doing everything for us.
  • The plan she left behind empowered us to move on and do something.
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