A Guide to Being Your Own Kick-Ass Interior Designer

Be Your Own Kick-Ass Interior Designer

Becoming your own interior designer is the logical way to go now you’ve invested your hard earned cash in your great new home.

Decorating your home so it delivers on the comfort and support you want from your home should be so easy.

So why do you feel overwhelmed by it?

Maybe because it can be so damn expensive when you get it wrong.

Obviously You want to get started right now!

You can see the perfect spaces unfolding before your eyes and they’re everything you knew they would be.

You’re overflowing with great ideas for your home. You know exactly how it’s going to look and that it will be awesome.

And it will because you’re going to do this the professional way by being your own kick-ass interior designer.

You’ve got this.

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It’s time to start thinking like an interior designer. After all, DIY is going to be your friend if you want to do this well and on a budget.

When you begin to dream about how amazing your living space is going to be the subject of how much money you’re going to need doesn’t feature too high on the dream list.

Neither are thoughts of you staying at home night after night because you got into so much debt doing the place up that you have no life outside it.

So if you think, budget? Meh.

It’s time to think again.

Unless of course, you crave a life of debt-ridden stress?

For that reason, my Beginners Guide to Interior Design (watch this space) puts a lot of focus on setting your budget.

But First Let Me just Say

Yay! Congratulations

Isn’t finding your first home, or finally finding that forever home where you’ll raise a family, one of the greatest feelings ever?

It’s so exciting.

The long trawl around other people’s houses to find the one that speaks to you and makes you feel welcome can seem never-ending.

But you’ve done it!

Now starts the process of turning this wonderful new space into your own and decorating it to reflect your personality and allow you to grow.

This is a wonderful opportunity to express yourself so remember to enjoy it and keep stress to a minimum.

Having A Limited Budget Can be a Benefit

And no, I’m not crazy.

With a little help from someone who’s been there.

And studied interior design along the way.

(I’m talking about me – obs.)

You can do this. By setting a budget that you will stick to.

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First Follow some basic steps

Whether you have a small budget dictating how you furnish your home, or you have a larger amount, it’s a great discipline to have a budget figure in mind.

Your budget could be for one room. Or it could be for the whole of your home that you break down into manageable chunks.

A great place to start is with how you plan to use the space you have, followed quickly by the room you will prioritise.

Let’s get started

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Think like An interior designer

It’s time to start thinking like an interior designer, without the expense of actually employing one.

Sit down with a pen and paper (or your tablet or bullet journal – whatever it is you like to use), some home design magazines for inspiration, and a calculator. The calculator is where you get practical and set your interior design budget.

You’re about to start planning.

The Basics

Put your thinking cap on and work your way through the questions below.

These are typical of the questions an interior designer would ask at the start of the designing process and they may appear obvious, but stick with me here.

Be honest, and think not so much about wallpaper patterns or paint finishes. Instead, think about how you will use the space(s) in your home.

Let’s group some of the questions together

  • What design style(s) do you prefer?  
  • What design style(s) do you absolutely hate?  
  • What colours do you like or dislike?  
  • What patterns, if any, do you like? 

That all sounds too formal.

Let’s put this another way.

Do you have any images of the looks you like that you can share?

Now you’re talking like a kick-ass interior designer!

Working with pictures makes this so much easier than trying to put your ideas into words.

This is where the magazines come in. Enjoy this part of the process. Reconnect with the kid in you by getting out the scissors and paper glue and start to create your design file.

When you sit back and look at the images you’ve chosen you’ll most likely see a theme emerging. It could be that you like pared-down minimalist styles with a place for everything and possessions kept to the bare minimum and out of sight.

You could find that airy open spaces appeal or cosy warm places attract you more.

You’re finding your style. 

Getting a feel for furniture, finishes, and accessories that attract you will not only help you pin down your style preferences but also the price points when you get round to researching the things you need to buy and setting your budget.

Another great way to do this is with the Houzz app on your tablet or smartphone. Using the Houzz app is way cheaper than buying magazines and you’ll be able to start your ideas book within the app itself by saving all the looks like.

Just one word of warning.

The Houzz app has pictures of some very high-end looks that may not translate easily to the real world or smaller living spaces.

Here’s Another Radical Idea for You

Get off your bum and go to some furniture stores to see what you like and how they put room plans together around your favourite pieces.

You’ll soon have those first 4 questions nailed.

Next On The List of Things to Consider

  • What do you/your family normally do in this room? Is it your chillout place? Or a family room?
  • Are there any pieces of furniture or fittings that you absolutely want to keep?  
  • What do you dislike about the current space or design? Does it work for you or do you need to make some structural changes?
  • Do you or your family have any special needs?  
  • What are your hobbies or passions, your occupation that you may need space for? 

And the Ever Popular Killer question

What is your budget?

You knew that one was coming.

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Set Your Interior Design Budget

Setting a budget is not the most inspiring part of designing your living space.

But it is a really, really important part.

There’s nothing inspired about living in your beautifully decorated and furnished home while you struggle to pay down the credit card bills you ran up getting to that point.

And I don’t believe for one moment that you want to step back from the life you lead outside the home, just so you can look smug about the space you created while posting wonderful images on IG.

Or maybe you do.

I doubt it though.

After all, your friends won’t be fooled by all those ‘look at me’ images. And you could end up feeling trapped in your beautiful home for lack of funds to do anything else.

Be prepared to put in the effort

how to set a budget

If DIY is your thing Get Some Inspiration

If you’re good with DIY and love a bit of a challenge, you can set yourself on the road to saving money by checking out the hacks that are published on social media.

You can transform some ordinary pieces of furniture by using a bit of imagination.

This post gives you a great starting point and could lead to great things.

Remember that everyone does this on a budget

Even if you have some money set aside, or you need to know how much you should put aside for the changes you want to make, your starting point in setting your interior design budget is the same.

  • Do your research. Using the pictures you collected when you were finding your style, begin your research into how much your plans are likely to cost.
  • If you have more than one room to redecorate, consider breaking down the work into manageable chunks and start with the one room that you really must complete first. For example, if you have children to consider, you may want to get their room(s) ready first so that their lives are not disrupted for longer than necessary.
  • If there are some changes to make to the structure such as add doorways or move walls, put in additional plug sockets or make changes to the lighting, then you’ll also need to get contractor estimates to include in your budget plan.
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So where Have We Got To?

Cosmetic projects include redecoration, new furniture and soft furnishings but not major building work.

Your budget estimate will be a rough figure for the entire project.

It will include tradespeople time and materials, all the moveable ‘stuff’ including furniture, lighting, soft furnishings, accessories, etc. 

To get to this stage you will have asked for estimates from two different builders/tradespeople, visited furniture stores discuss costs at different price points + some online research.

You’ll now have a better feel for the price you are prepared to pay for the key pieces.

Hopefully, you now have a figure that is the maximum you would pay to get your home done. 

The final thing in deciding on how you will move ahead with the plan to create your home, is to think about what you can afford now and what might have to wait until later?

We’ll get into planning next

The planning phase is when it all gets real!