Designing the "Busy Bee" Way


I write with the voice of someone who has a long-time passion for design. I have a Fine Art degree; I have design sales experience; I have design education; and I am certified in redesign. But I do not have a design degree. I am a business owner who loves to make the best out of what one already has -- then work to make that space better given your individual finances, your desires, and your dreams. Hence my motto: “Improve your surroundings…Improve your life!”

Here, you’ll find how I help my clients do just that:

* Put your thoughts about what you want on paper; determine your budget; decide what is staying in the room; find your direction; begin shopping, make choices and purchases; put it all together; sit back, relax and enjoy! Of course, all these steps happen for each person at different times, piece by piece, decision by decision. Try to enjoy the process along the way; seek help if/and when you need it.

* To begin, take some time to pause and give good thought to what it is you dream of. If you could have the room you always wanted, what would be in it? Would it be a collection of artwork from your favorite artist; would it hold the large armoire from your grandparents; would it be painted your favorite color of pink?

* Write down and/or create a folder of cutouts from magazines that highlight pieces of these dreams. I imagine you’ve heard this suggestion before; that’s because it’s a good one and it can add truth and reality to those dreams which enables them to be more likely to come true.

* Find descriptive words of how you’d like to feel in this space. Is it relaxed, family-friendly, spa-like or cozy? These first thoughts should be what lead to the rest of your decision-making.

*The budget question should now enter into the equation. What is the preference for spending and what is the max? What’s the largest item or material that will need to be purchased? Think about how long you plan to be in the home, or if your tastes change regularly?

Remember, paint and accessories can be the most inexpensive expenditure. So, the majority of the money could be allocated towards updated flooring, new lighting, furniture or fine artwork; in short, the larger purchases.

I would also suggest that you don’t buy your sofa based on the color of your walls. Invest in the sofa; then buy the complimentary paint. The more expensive pieces should dictate the choices of the less costly purchases.

*Next, we’ll want to begin to build around what you already have that will be kept in the room. First, take a look at the current architecture of the room. Does it have what you would consider flaws, such as extra low ceilings or too many windows, and not enough wall space?

In this case, it might take a little extra effort to find the best place for the large armoire I mentioned earlier. That will mean working hard to balance the rest of the room -- possibly with a large headboard, a large upholstered chair, or maybe some heavily-framed artwork on the opposite wall. If that armoire is not going anywhere, the investment may now be to find those complimentary items that don’t distract from the armoire but add the right weight to the rest of the room.

*Once you’ve put thought into this project, it’s time to spend the money. Depending on the ease of buying and bringing home the selected items, realize that things don’t always look or fit like you might first believe.

Accept that there may be items that need to be returned, exchanged, re-selected, and so forth. We always hope to get it right the first time, but sometime you need to be able to step back, stop the project, and just live with the changes that have happened so far.

Proceed again once you gain new momentum. Keep in the forefront of your mind that this process will come to an end and you’ll be able to finally sit and do what you had dreamed of doing in your new space.

I like to encourage my clients to think not only of that one room, but of your complete home. Depending on what you have been working to accomplish, it’s usually a good idea to bring a few common elements into each space.

Try keeping all of the trim painted white, or electing to have all wood trim for instance. Choosing flooring that blends from room to room rather than having very abrupt transitions might be the better choice. Is there a favorite color that you’d like to accessorize with in every room, for instance?

People also wonder if one can have different woods or metals in the same room or in different rooms. The answer is yes, of course. But will it create the feeling you want which could be described as calm, funky, or bohemian? Keep in mind that the individual spaces behind each closed door can be as different from each other as you’d like.

Words used a lot in design and/or redesign are balance, weight, texture, blend, color, compliment, focus, architecture, and of course height, width, and depth.

Ultimately, it’s best to have the right amount of all of these. The way to accomplish this is, again, with thought and consideration to your dreams and then doing your best to make them a reality.

Find and use all the resources you can whether they are paid, like a designer, or free, like from the internet. Be patient but persistent and your dreams will come true.

Busy Bee wishes you well!


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