The Golden Rules

By: Janice Clements

Unlike the homes in the magazines, most of us will never own a 5-tier Schonbek crystal chandelier which towers over a twelve-seat dining table. We all want our homes to look good, but the realities of money, time, space and resources often limit what we can accomplish.

Here are some Golden Rules for designing a home you’ll love over time while keeping your reality in mind:

1.    Tailor Your Timelines.  If your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase all the items for your home at once, take your time and do it properly. Do it once: do it right.

2.    Dress Your Home with Classics. If your budget is driving your timelines, your long-term schedule could mean the finished rooms might be out of style a year from now. If budget was a concern, would you buy a shirt for $1000.00 that’s trendy today but would be out of style at the end of the season? Probably not. Buy furniture in the same way you would buy a little black dress or that pair of jeans you’ve worn day in and day out for years. Spend more on classics and get good quality that will last for years.

3.    Break the Bank… Is that classic sofa consuming more of your budget than you anticipated? Compromise and don’t sweat the details of your budget. If you planned on spending $1000.00 on a sofa and end up spending $2000.00 because you’re buying a great classic, adjust your budget accordingly. Your bottom line can stay intact while all the other numbers flex.

4.    …BUT, don’t break the bank on trends. Make trendy purchases small, disposable ones: things you won’t be afraid to get rid of like lamp shades, pre-made drapery panels and throw pillows. That way, when it comes time for you to get rid of things because the trend has passed, you won’t flush a huge investment down the drain. 

5.    Buy Colours You Like. Don’t worry about the colour trends. If you like a colour today and you liked it 10 years ago chances are, you’ll like it 10 years from now too. If you must have some of this year’s hottest colours or like to decorate for the changing seasons, do so with smaller items like toss cushions and throws. 

6.    Shop! And if you can, shop a lot. Just to clarify, “Shop” does notmean buyShop, like when Mom used to take you to “window shop” for all those amazing things we couldn’t afford. Shopping will help you recognize when something is a good deal and avoid impulse buys. It will help you be available when the really great deals pop up. Alwayscheck out the clearance items. Sometimes they’re junk, sometimes they’re goldmines.

7.    Test Drive. Never buy a seat without sitting on it first! Big mistakes are often made shopping online for items that need to be comfortable.

8.     Read the Small Print. Find out return policies before you buy. Most custom pieces and window treatments can’t be returned.

9.    Follow a Floor Plan. Never (and I mean NEVER) buy anything without a first having a floor plan drawn up. If you’re handy, tackle the plans yourself. If not, a few hours of a decorator’s time is relatively inexpensive when compared to the alternative: buying a sofa and loveseat that don’t fit in a room. Ask yourself, do you know for a fact that you have enough space for the items you’re buying, and if so, will anything else fit in the room?! 

10.  Remember the Government. Oh, that nasty word: taxes. They often kill a budget if not taken into consideration.

11.  Reuse and Recycle. Take a look around your house and find the hidden gems. What can be painted, reupholstered or refinished? What would an older piece look like with new hardware or new legs?

If you’re still not feeling certain when planning purchases for your home consider hiring if only for a few hours, a decorator or designer to help you establish a long-term plan and to develop a list of project priorities. They’ll likely ask you questions you might not have asked yourself and can serve as a ‘sober second thought’ for the more difficult areas. Best of all, they’ll help you develop a good strategy in your quest for a new and improved space!



� View Archived Posts