Avoid Design on an Impluse
by Julie Nolta
Julie Nolta Design 
Ever gone to the grocery store without a shopping list when you’re REALLY hungry, and you end up buying stuff that you don’t need just because it looked good at the time?
Well, the same thing can happen when you’re shopping for a room makeover or remodel without a design plan in mind. So before you bring home the next darling accessory that doesn’t go with ANYTHING else you own, take a little time to evaluate your room.
Make two lists: 1) What you want; and 2) What you don’t want. Think about what you need your room to do for you and how you want to feel when you’re there. Consider how many people will use the room and the different things they might be doing.
Maybe you want your family room to be a more comfortable place for hanging out with the kids and your friends. That might mean casual seating for six to eight people to watch a movie, a table for games and eating, and plenty of lighting for reading and homework. You might want to feel togetherness, entertained, and relaxed. Write down everything that you want the room to do and have.
Now, pretend you’ve never seen your room before and take a good look around. What do you have that fits the description of “comfortable family room” and what doesn’t?
Do you need to replace the sagging sofa and add a couple of cushy chairs? Maybe it’s too dark and you need a lamp between the cushy chairs. Maybe the paint is dingy and the wall needs a new coat in a cozy color. What needs to go to the thrift store and what needs to go to the dumpster? Write down everything that doesn’t work or that you want to change.
But wait! Don’t go shopping yet. If you’re considering buying any big items, it’s smart to have a floor plan with measurements so you don’t come home with something that doesn’t fit your room.
Grab a tape measure, pencil and paper, and measure up your space. Make a rough, overhead drawing of the room’s shape first, and then fill in the length of each wall, window and door. Next, transfer this to graph paper to create an accurate scale floor plan of your room. (If you don’t have graph paper, you can download some from my website.)
Do the same thing with your furniture – – draw each piece on another sheet of graph paper and then cut them out so you can rearrange your room on paper. You can also order re-usable peel and stick furniture pieces from www.homeplanner.com. Or check out websites that let you draw your floor plan online and print it out. Arrange the furniture they way you like it on your plan and you’ll know just how much room you’ll have for those new, cushy chairs.
And when you do go shopping, take your lists with you, plus that tape measure, to keep from making expensive mistakes!
Next time I’ll talk about defining your personal style and incorporating that into your room design.
If you have questions or need some one-on-one help with your project, contact me via my website at www.julienolta.com.
I also offer free design classes. Invite a few friends over to learn how to use color and get your design questions answered. I’ll bring dessert!