We’ve been thinking about blogging for a long time now here at Staged for Style. After spending lots of time “thinking” about it (procrastinating) we’ve decided to finally take the plunge!
During all of the time I’ve personally spent “thinking” about blogging, one of the topics that kept popping into my head was the idea of “Redesign” and what it really means. Redesign is near and dear to us at Staged for Style. A large chunk of our business is actually what I would classify as redesign. We use the word a lot!
I think of redesigning a room as very much like cleaning out your closet. You don’t throw everything out and start over, you use what you have and make the most of it. A good closet clean out should go something like this:
Step 1. Take everything out.
Step 2. Analyze each and every item using these questions: Does it fit? Do I love it? Do I wear it? Do I have more than one of it, or more than I need of it? Is it still in style? Most closets are not huge and real estate there is prime! Only the things you love and actually wear should be allowed to take up this precious space.
Step 3. Give the closet a good top to bottom cleaning – maybe even a fresh coat of paint.
Step 4. Put back in only the things that survived step 2.
Step 5. Very important! Analyze what you need so that you can keep an eye out for those items when you are shopping. For example, let’s say you have a cute blouse and a great pair of pants that you love, but you can’t wear them without a brown belt. You don’t have a decent brown belt, so… brown belt goes on your shopping list. This way you are not just buying whatever strikes your fancy, you’re buying things you really need and things that will give you more options when getting dressed.
You see, if you’re like me and you’re at the mall, you’re probably attracted to the same things over and over and end up with a closet full of _________ (for me it is black T-shirts and black sweaters) and not enough of other things that make a well rounded wardrobe.
Now you may be wondering what this closet cleaning exercise has to do with the rest of your house. Well, you can pretty much take any room in your home and apply the same steps:
Step 1. Take everything out. Easier said than done when we’re talking about furniture, right? So feel free to skip ahead to step 2.
Step 2. Analyze everything in room with these questions: Do we love it? Do we use it? Does it work for me/my family? If not, why? Do we have more than we need of it?
Let’s break Step 2 down a little further:
Do you love it? Look at each item in the room and ask yourself that question. Your answers will probably go something like this:
Yes, I love it! If you love it and it’s working, great!
Yes, I love it, but it really doesn’t work in it’s current location and I’m not sure what to do with it. Also great, it’s a keeper that will need to find a new home.
I don’t love it, but I can live with it until I can find/afford a replacement. If you don’t love it but can live with it, it can stay if you’re using it, but goes on your list for long-term replacement.
No, I hate it and it makes me sad every time I look at it. If you hate it, you need to do what you can to get rid of it as soon as possible. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and get something you hate out of the house even though you don’t have a replacement at that time. Personally, I would rather live without a coffee table for a while than look at one that makes me feel bad.
Do you use it? This one is pretty simple. Do you still have a miniature play kitchen in your family room that no one has played with in at least a year? Well, it’s probably taking up valuable space and adding lots of visual clutter. Time for it to go.
Does it work for me or our family? This question applies to the room as a whole, as well as it’s individual parts. For example, when your family watches TV together, is one person always forced to sit on the floor? Perhaps you need more seating. When you want to settle in with a good book, are you forced to read in your bed or at the kitchen table? If so, then you probably need more lighting in certain areas. There are many more examples, but the point is, if you’re not using a room or not using it in the way you’d like, start asking yourself why.
Do we have more than we need of it? Think of books, magazines, DVDs, CD’s, board games, toys and things of this nature. Also think of furniture. Overcrowding can make your room feel cramped and cluttered and not a happy place to be.
Is it past it’s expiration date? If something is drab, dated, faded, worn or broken, it’s time to think about replacing it. This applies to furniture, carpet, accessories and fixtures.
Step 3. Give the room a good cleaning. And a fresh coat of paint can work miracles!
Step 4. Keep the things that you love, use and that work for how you want to use the space.
Step 5. Analyze what you need. This is where you’ll make a list of what you need to make your room a really nice place to be. You may have the basics such as a great sofa, chair and tables, but realize that you need a rug to pull things together and make it feel cozy. Or you may find that you have no lamps and therefore no good place to sit and read – this is huge and is an entire blog post on its own. You must have lamps!
For some this process can be a bit overwhelming and time consuming and for others it may mean just a few tweaks and adjustments. In the end it’s about making changes that can make a really positive difference in your home.
Most of all it’s about making your home the place you MOST want to be. That’s right, I said MOST. Your home can be and should be a place that you love and that you can’t wait to get back to when you’re away.
One of our favorite redesigns followed pretty much to the letter the process outlined above. Our client was wonderfully trusting of our advice to keep what she loved and what was working, purge the excess and selectively add a few things that would really work and finish the room.
Here’s the before:
A few things we noticed about this room right away:
Lack of good flow. The entrance to the room was nearly blocked due to the arrangement of the furniture.
Multiple focal points. The TV in the corner, fireplace on the far wall and windows to the back yard were all in competition with each other.
Cluttered appearance. While looking at the back of a couch when entering a room is not always a good thing, looking at a jam packed bookcase is no better.
Our client had a couple of requirements:
All of the seating had to stay. Her family loves watching movies together and they all like their own space to sprawl and get comfy.
Their very large collection of DVDs needed a new home. They had previously been stored in the corner dresser that the TV was on.
She loved her paint color and wanted to keep the room bright and sunny.
She wanted storage for her daughter’s art and craft supplies.
We started with steps 1 and 2 by removing the things that needed to go. We bypassed step 3, except for attempting to vacuum the divots out of the carpet where the furniture had been and moved on to step 4 and put back only what we knew would work. Here’s a work in progress photo:
Very much pared down and a little better, right? The room looks much larger and more open and less cluttered, but looks pretty bare and unfinished.
The TV looks really sad and lonely on that bookcase against the long wall. We needed something to fill out that space and balance the TV. Also, as colorful as the walls are, we thought the room needed a some colorful art to tie everything together and liven things up.
Here’s one more peek at the before:
And here’s the finished product:
A “redesigned” family room.
After removing the excess and rearranging the major pieces of furniture, we added a second media unit (bookcase turned on it’s side) for storage of DVDs and arts and crafts supplies. We brought in some new art and accessories for much more balanced and livable space.
This redesign project cost our client a whopping $400ish dollars in new items. Amazing, right? She’s a really smart lady. Her budget wasn’t huge, but instead of putting it off until “someday” she used what she had and worked with us to make her family room a much more fabulous space for her family to enjoy. She can continue to add or replace things in the future, but for now they love using this space for hanging out as a family, watching movies and entertaining.
And you’ll be glad to know that the fireplace found a new home in the living room, where it could be the center of attention.
What spaces in your home could use a little (or a lot) of redesign? What rooms have you “stumped”? We’d love to hear from you!