New Year…New Rooms

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Resolutions You Should Make for Your Home in 2016

By Eric Ross

Well, here we are again at the start of another year, and your home still looks like a version of your first apartment, or worse, your college dorm! E gads! It’s not that you didn’t want to have your rooms decorated by the end of 2015, it’s just that life gets in the way. If you are like most of my clients, you want a beautifully decorated home, but running kids to school, to ball practice, to dance recitals, takes all of your extra time. I mean, your Pinterest account is full of superb room shots that you want to create in your own home, but you just cant find the time to craft those great ideas. But are they really that great if you end up with burnt fingertips from the glue gun? Here are some great tips to create rooms you love in 2016.

Get organized before you do anything decorative.

Many of my projects start with rooms that are an accumulation of items the client has “collected” over the years. I say collected because the rooms aren’t carefully curated over time. They are amassed due to many factors like moving for a job, having another child, children leaving for college, etc.. The rooms are a hodge-podge of furniture and accessories from any past lives and past homes. Before you even begin to consider what the room should look like and how it should function, declutter! This is a very important step in creating the room of your dreams. I find that it is extremely helpful to remove the “noise” from a room in order to get a clearer vision of what it can look like. Look at the items in the room or rooms you want to decorate and if you don’t love it, get rid of it. One very important side note: please, do not try to coordinate a yard sale. This is the Achilles heel of organizing. You are already overwhelmed with the thought of how to create the illusive beautiful room. Don’t compound your stress by adding another job to your list. Just pile your car or truck full and head to the local charity. I see more redecorating projects halted by this one step alone. It will stop your new room before it even starts.

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Take one room at a time and finish it!

When I get a call from a prospective client, a standard question is, “How do you work?” My answer: one room at a time. Now, if you are an existing client, I’ll do multiple rooms at a time. Because we know each other better,  you know what to expect from the process, and I know more about your style and your pocket book. 

I look at my first project with someone as a dress rehearsal for a bigger performance to come. I can learn more about the client on this one project by really focusing on what motivates them and what they are passionate about. This strategy also helps the client. They aren’t as overwhelmed by all the decision making, when I’m asking them to just make an emotional and financial commitment to one room. There are a lot of details to creating a room. So, if I can just get them to focus on one room, it makes the decision making easier and less stressful. But, more importantly, once they see a room completed, it gets them motivated and excited to proceed to the next room. When I get a request to just order some drapes for this room or to select a sofa for that room, I suggest the prospect save her money, and let me do at least one room. A new sofa doesn’t change a whole room. A new curtain isn’t transformative, but if I can design one new room for you, it can change your life (or so I’ve been told by my clients). This is really a cornerstone of my business strategy and how I’ve been able to do so many homes across this area. Once one room is finished, clients can’t wait to do the next room. This same strategy can work for you in hour home.

Paint. It’s your biggest bang for your buck.

Over the years I have given many talks at conferences and garden clubs, and I do a standard “Top 10 of Decorating.” My number one piece of advice is always: Paint is the biggest bang for your buck. This is the truest tenet of decorating. Think about how much color effects your mood. It does the same thing for your room. Pink makes you feel pretty. Blue makes you calm. Red makes me crazy. Oh, sorry, that may just be me! If you have a room that you cannot afford to decorate, just paint it. It will instantly change the mood of the room and your mood. I have standard colors for rooms depending on the use of the room. But, of course, this always depends on the client. Believe it or not, I do listen to my client’s suggestions. Blue for bedrooms, neutrals for transition spaces, such as hallways and foyers, intense colors for dining rooms only… again this is my formula; it’s not a rule. Even if you are in temporary spaces, don’t be afraid to paint. It’s really little investment for the biggest return. If you must, pay to have it painted back to its original color when you leave. It will make a huge impact on you for the smallest amount of money.

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Spend the money on hiring a professional.

This is the last and best bit of advice I’ll give you when setting your decorating resolutions for 2016. Now, when I mean a professional, I mean someone who does this one thing that you want done for a living. You know, like other people pay them money for their help AND are happy with the work. This doesn’t just apply to decorating. If you need a bathroom redone, hire a professional. They have done this many times and have seen the best and the worst situations. You, my Pinterest pal, have not. Tiling may look easy, but trust me, it isn’t. I have been called into assess what to be done on some of the worst do-it-yourself disasters. For what you’ll pay a professional to do your project, you’ll reap so much more in enjoyment and peace of mind. What I do for people is a luxury, so I realize that not everyone can afford it. But hiring a professional takes the stress out of the project and makes someone other than you accountable. I recently had the husband/client say that I was the best money he ever spent. After all, as Oprah once said, “The best gift you can give yourself is a beautifully decorated room.”

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