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  • Stacey Martin



I am a firm (kind, but firm) believer in the design process, and that you can’t end up successfully at Point B without first starting at Point A. How do you know what color to paint your room if you don’t know how you want it to feel? How can you source that new artwork/accent chair/coffee table/whatevs if you don’t have a plan?

A design without a plan is like baking a lemon meringue pie without a recipe. Fine, some of you may know an LMP recipe by heart, but I’m pretty sure the majority of us would fail miserably if we had to try to bake one without knowing where to start. So today, let's chat about how to make a design plan that’s easy as pie.

Step 1: Let’s talk about our feelings.

Instead of thinking about how you want your space to look, first start by thinking about how you want it to feel. Do you want it to feel fun and energetic? How about calm and zen-like? Whatever comes to mind, write it down. Really dig deep into those feelings people. Let them all bubble up.

Step 2: Don’t be afraid of labels.

Now that you have a good idea (and some key words) on how you want your space to feel, it’s time to think about what that means to you. When you think of fun and energetic, for example, what comes to mind? Is it lots of bright colors? Is it weird art, tons of patterns, or pictures of clowns? It’s all good - write it down! If you are already feeling design paralysis, just head right on over to Step 3.

Step 3: Do your research.

Type your keywords into the ol’ Google or Pinterest and see what comes up. Try different combos of words to get a variety of results and a variety of rooms. For example, if you want your living room to be Calm Zen and you know that means neutrals and textures for you, try things like, “Calm Zen Textures Living Room” or “Neutral Bedroom Zen”. Pin or save every image that resonates with you – don’t be shy - and start keeping them all in one place. Now go back and pick your top 5. ONLY FIVE. Trust me on this – the more images you have, the more likely you will be to spin out and thing’s will go downhill real quick. Consider this a Design PSA.

Step 4: Make connections.

What do all your images have in common? Do they all have a graphic, black and white rug? Are all the wood tones the same? This is where you can look at paint colors, furniture, accessories - all the things - and really hone-in on what's happening in your images. Then, use those commonalities to help inform what elements you want to bring into your own space.

Step 5: Gather the ingredients!

Finally, the fun part! (Well, I actually think all the parts are fun, but I digress). Ready? Set? Start shopping! Armed with your visual “prototypes” you’re now able to hit the shops/internet with a plan. This allows you to make quick(er), educated choices with confidence and direction, saving you time and (most likely) money. I guarantee you’ll be so much happier with the end result.

If you can’t afford an interior designer, or even if you can, these tips and tricks will help get you well on your way to designing the coolest spaces of your coolest dreams. I’m pretty sure that, once you start, you too will be a big fan of the plan. In fact, I’d plan on it.

- Stacey Martin (AKA The Freshmaker) is the Interior Design Lead

at KLH Home Staging. Visit her @TheFreshmakerDesign

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