How To Plan And Start A Home Decorating Project
Gathering Your Ideas
How to plan and start a home decorating project. Do you have ideas swimming in your head, scraps of paper with half-written notes to yourself, sketches and doodles on napkins, or ripped out pages from magazines? Now is the time to gather all those random thoughts together to make a list – a good comprehensive list.
Grab a fresh notebook, sheet of paper, or sit at your computer and list all the items you’d like to do. Don’t stop till you get every item on your list and designate if the project has to do with the kitchen, bedroom, or other room in your house. Don’t worry that they may be projects you ‘someday’ want to try or do. For now, you simply want to list everything all in one place to review.
Dividing to Conquer
You’ll want to break up your projects into manageable bites. First, divide the list into three separate categories: ‘in progress’, ‘to do’, and ‘someday’. Then, in each category, bundle your room specific projects together. For instance, put all the kitchen projects together, living room projects together, and so on till you have each of those three categories divided up into manageable chunks of work.
Checking It Twice
To start planning your project calendar, you’ll want to start with one room in the ‘in progress’ list first. Say you’ve already picked out the new paint color for your kitchen, started tiling a back-splash, and bought fabric to reupholster kitchen chair seats…all of which are in your ‘in progress: kitchen’ project list.
On each project, roughly list out the steps needed to get each project done. Will you need to rent or buy equipment? Prep in a specific way that will take a certain amount of time? Need an extra hand (or body) to get something done?
List all the things that come to mind knowing that you’ll probably need to take extra steps for each project, but, clearly outlining the overall tasks and budget considerations you’ll need to complete your project. Do this for each project – the time spent now will be worth it.
Estimate approximately how much time you think each task will take? 10 minutes to sand a small item? One hour to cut out a slipcover pattern? The more you break down each project, listing everything you can think of, the better you’ll be able to budget your time and money later.
Now that you have an extensive and thorough project plan, you’ll want to make a project schedule that fits in with your lifestyle. Perhaps you only have one day a weekend to complete projects. Maybe you want to leave your weekends free and just work a couple of hours a few days through the week. Or, you may choose to take an extra day off from work to get those projects done before company comes.
Look at your calendar and see what comes to mind and indicate how much (maximum) time you want to devote to getting these decorating projects done. Although all projects take time and hard work, you don’t want to over-schedule yourself to where the joy and fun are completely taken out of the process.
Then again…there’s always a project that comes up like the kitchen or bath where you have to work like a dog to get the area back in working order. Just count on those as joyful projects after they’re done.
Don’t forget to check with your spouse, roommate, or other significant other you might want to rope into a project or two.
Only schedule your next three months with projects. Schedule only the projects you think can be reasonably done in the free time you have. This way, your project list will seem more doable and you’ll also be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
You’ll be able to face your project list with a “Hey, I can do THAT!” as opposed to an “ohhhh, I’ll never be able to get all this done,” approach.
If you’ve tackled assigning all your ‘in progress’ list (my hat’s off to you!), you can move on to the other two categories prioritizing and assigning them where needed and desired. Divide and conquer these lists just like you did the first one.
Remember! Only schedule up to three months (for now)!
On Your Mark, Get Ready…Start!
My best advice is to complete one room at a time so that you’ll really feel a sense of accomplishment. I believe it is human nature to get excited about re-doing, re-designing, and re-vamping so many things that it often divides our focus to where we have many half-done rooms in our homes and nothing quite seems comfortable just yet.
Take heart. You can always regroup and force yourself to complete one room at a time, anytime. But don’t get so into ‘finishing’ a room that you lose track of other projects needing attention.
You don’t have to spend all your resources – time, money, and energy – completely accessorizing before you move on. I firmly believe rooms take time to develop. If you completely accessorize a room, you might not have space for that bargain flea market find that you paid three times as much for a mass-manufactured reproduction. Likewise, you’ll want to give your room, and yourself, time to breathe.
Just try to get the big things done in one room so you can move furniture back in, remove painters tape, polish the floors, throw down a rug, and feel comfortable that if anyone walked in, they would never notice you don’t have that cashmere throw you want draped across the bed. Accessories can always come in time – and perhaps wait till they go on sale!
Keeping Your Calendar (and Projects) in Check
Mark the date, 3 months from now, on your calendar to do a decorating project check-up. If after you’ve listed, scheduled, and started but still find yourself getting sidetracked or overwhelmed, the quarterly project check-up will help you relieve yourself of too much pressure or unrealistic expectations.
Relax. Things Don’t Always Go As Planned.
You can reschedule, delete, or rearrange your projects as needed at your three month mark. Also, use this time to look three months ahead and schedule new projects (if desired) or budget time to complete the ones you haven’t quite managed to finish (I’m sure you won’t fall into this category, but, just in case…).
Jobs change, kids need braces, or dogs get sick. Budget and schedule shifts can sidetrack our decorating progress along with life in general.
Know that when you are ready to pick up that next project, tackle the next skill, or finish the master suite, you’ve already done the preparation and planning it will take to succeed in decorating the home of your dreams…all on your watch.