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We’ve all got a design dilemma we’re dealing with. Whether it’s picking a paint color, figuring out the layout of your kitchen, finding the perfect artwork to hang above your bed, or maybe it’s just figuring out where to start. Chris and I have dealt with our fair share of design dilemmas that left us puzzled for weeks…even years sometimes!
But today we’re tackling some of your biggest design dilemmas. You asked us for help, so Chris and I are going to offer our advice!
When it comes to renovations, how do you know how to do it all yourself?
Simply put…we don’t! Chris had a little experience in construction when he was younger but we’re very much in the camp of “we’ll learn as we go.” I’m often the one who comes up with the ideas and I ask Chris to do them! 🙂 If he doesn’t know how to do it already, my response is often, “well let’s just figure it out!”
Chris is excellent at researching and learning so between Youtube videos, online experts who share tutorials, and family members who know a thing or two, we just soak up all the information and try it for ourselves! It can feel incredibly overwhelming when you look at the whole picture or the whole project at once, but when you break it down into steps and figure out how to do each step individually…suddenly it doesn’t feel like such a daunting task. At least that’s how it is for us.
Budgeting for a project or refresh…it’s my #1 struggle!
Yep! We’re all too familiar with that and I have yet to meet a soul who doesn’t stress over the budget. The only way (that we know of) to figure out what a DIY project will cost is by making a list! So before starting any project we sit down and make a checklist of everything we’ll need to buy. This list includes everything from 2×4’s, screws, paint, flooring, furniture, light fixtures, decor, etc. Then we research each thing on our list and write down the cost for that line item. We add it all up and add 10% for extras or unexpected expenses. This gives us a price point of what our project will cost but it also gives us a budget to work within for each category. If we go under in one category, we can spend a little more in another category or save it for something else.
DOWNLOAD OUR BUDGET CHECKLIST!
IF YOU WANT SOME HELP WITH YOUR CHECKLIST, CHRIS AND I SHARED THE LIST WE USE! FEEL FREE TO DOWNLOAD IT AND USE IT FOR YOUR OWN PROJECTS!
If the budget you just calculated is doable, GREAT! I recommend keeping that list to make sure you’re staying within your category limits!
If the budget you calculated is more expensive than what you have, I encourage you to either wait and continue saving. OR tackle the project in phases. Maintain a mindset of quality over quantity! Don’t buy all cheap Ikea stuff just to fill out the room. Pick 1 room and a few foundational pieces that make a big statement and update those things. In a bedroom that could include paint, a rug, bedding, curtains, or nightstands. A living room refresh could start with paint, a sofa, rug, and art. Start with items that make a difference and then save up over time to layer in the rest of your furniture, decor, etc. And don’t be afraid to DIY to save a little money along the way.
My partner and I have such different design styles. How can we agree on a look/style/anything?!
Based solely off of the number of times I’ve heard this question, it’s safe to say this is a common dilemma. I mean if you think about it, the chances of you finding someone who has the exact same style as you is super slim!
Chris and I occasionally deal with this ourselves! From observation and experience, I’ve learned that sometimes Chris just needs time to get used to an idea. I’ll show him a picture of something I like and gauge how he feels about it. If he says maybe or a hard no, I’ll continue my search and put that photo in a maybe folder. (Cause again, sometimes it just takes time for something funky to grow on Chris.) Sometimes I’ll show Chris the same picture 2 months later and suddenly he’s not so opposed to the idea. Other times it’s still a no and that solidifies that I need to go in a different direction.
The #1 tip I offer to couples who disagree on styles is to find common ground. If he likes rustic cabin and you like traditional, find something (whether it’s a coffee table, a paint color, a rug, or a sofa) that you both like and figure out why you both like it. Maybe it’s the color palette, maybe its the blending of two styles you both like, maybe it’s because “it” makes the room feel bright and airy vs dark and moody. Once you find common ground you can start to get a feel for what you’ll both love equally and move onto the next aspect of the design.
OR, let’s say you’re in the market for a light fixture. Find 3 that you love and show them to your partner and ask which one he/she likes. That’s another way to make sure you both have a say and you’re both happy.
When remodeling my home, does my new style need to reflect the original character/style of the home?
I believe there’s always room for creativity and putting your own touch on a space, but if your home has a heavy influence of Craftsman, or Victorian, or Bungalow, or English Cottage, or any other strong style…I’ve found it’s best to redesign within the original style. The design process will be easier on you and the end look will feel more natural. You can always add in touches of a different style through paint colors, furniture, and styling, while also maintaining the original character in some form.
The good news is that many (dare I say most) homes today don’t have one heavy or one very specific style which leaves a lot of room for you to define what style you want your home to have. It’s the older homes that have more of a defining style built into the structure of the home.
Some of the furniture we own are hand-me-downs and others are new. How can I blend the two and make my mismatched furniture look good?
Chris’ parents were incredibly kind to donate a lot of hand-me-down furniture to us when we first got married. Our first rental home was filled with borrowed furniture and we made it work! With hand-me-down furniture, you’re most likely dealing with pieces that aren’t your style, funky colors, and a lot of mis matched pieces. Maybe buy a slip cover for your unfavorable patterned sofa. Paint your mis matched end tables and coffee table the same color to unify the pieces. Spread out your hand-me-downs throughout a few rooms and fill in the rest with thrifted or new pieces that more reflect your style. And then over time you can slowly swap out the borrowed furniture for your own pieces to create your own look.
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