Choosing Where to Start Decorating Your Home – Part 1

Are you overwhelmed by the thought of decorating your own house?  There are so many decisions. How do you decide where should you start if you aren’t HGTV?

If these are the questions you are asking yourself you’ve found the answer.  Just like everything, making over your home is a process.

When you see a complete home remodel in an hour on HGTV, you have to step back and realize this is not reality.  Makeovers don’t happen in a few weeks with the budgets they advertise. You need to reset your expectations and consider your budget. Real home makeovers happen one small step at a time.

Starting Point

First things first, find out what you have.  See what you like about what’s there. Start by cataloging what you have.  Get a notebook that’s just for your your home and follow these steps.

  1. Walk into each room.  Pretend you haven’t been there a thousand times and DON’T get sidetracked by the dirty laundry on the floor.
  2. Note in one column what you LIKE about the room.   It can be one thing like a piece of furniture, the paint color, the arrangement of the furniture, etc.  Make a list.
  3. Note in a second column the things you DON’T LIKE about each room.  Be specific..

Take your time and be thorough. This will help you organize what you want to change about your house.

For example, in our Morningside house, these are a few of my number one items:

Kitchen – vinyl flooring, open trash area

Small bathroom –  tub with the low ceiling

Master bedroom – vinyl flooring, dark painted built-in shelving

Prioritize Your Dislikes

Next to all of your dislikes, assign a number one, two or three.

Put a one next to things you would like to change within six months.  These are the things that you really hate about your house. Ignore your budget, for now, because there are multiple ways to change things.  For example, my number one thing in many rooms in my house was the vinyl flooring.

Put a two next to things you want to change within a year.  Put a three next to things you want to change in the next five year.

Evaluate your Budget

This step isn’t the most fun, but unfortunately unless you are Joanna Gaines, it’s necessary.

I’m not a fan of credit card debt.  I knew when we bought our house that I couldn’t do everything ranked number one at once. I had to pace myself.

What kind of budget do you have to work on your house over the next 12 months?  You can make changes with $100 or $10,000.

Go back to the things you marked with a one and try to break out what you have to spend in the next six months between these items.

Here is how I looked at the budget for my top priorities.

Kitchen – Not enough cash to pay for new floors but I could be happy with a rug, yes a rug in the kitchen.   Rugs have gotten so inexpensive.  You can get great rugs on Overstock or for as low as $50, even $100 for an 8×10. I like a runner by the sink to catch splashes and one that will hide spills.  I can find one I like for $350.  For the open trash I would eventually want to build in a cabinet like this, but that would have to wait.  Instead I’ll get a nice stainless trash can for $100.

Small bathroom – Changing anything structural gets expensive.  I found a tile guy, who would rip out the solid surround in the tub, rip out the weird low ceiling over the tub and the cabinet above the tub (weird right) and re-tile the bathroom. My estimate for this was $3000, mostly in labor.  Labor costs are what they don’t show on HGTV.  Tile, is pretty inexpensive if you like plane subway, which I do.  See the after image here.

In the next post about deciding how to decide what to do first we will talk more about coming up with your new design plan.  What are your number one design priorities?

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