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Patrick Landrum, Interior Designer,
PL&D/Patrick Landrum Design

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Architectural Digest Interior Design?- A Beginners Guide to Jump Start Your Home Decorating and Interior Design Plans

(Updated January 2017)

I've never been one for New Years Resolutions...the passing of one year into a new one is simply a marker of time, and if I have projects that span across this oft called milestone, it oft passes by without a whimper!

The start of a new year does lend itself to to certain activities, I think more due to the fact that we start it after such a highly celebratory, social, and familial season, than anything else. 

We are usually high on love, warmth, caring and respect with a rediscovered eye to what is truly important to who, what and where we are. What a perfect time to cast that eye towards our own environments.

This new vision gives us the luxury of sifting through that which has no use, is outdated, no longer pleases us, or is simply tired. Today's focus is on just how to start that daunting task, and keep the journey fresh as it unfolds throughout your year. 

To every thing there is a season so the saying goes, and interior design and decorating falls wonderfully into seasons...seasons defined by your individual lifestyle. However, like anything worthwhile, you will want to take a little time to plan.

To that end I offer a start..."Plan your Work, and Work your Plan". Or as I prefer it, "PL& (D) your Work...(just a little designer humor there!)

I hope these ideas are helpful as you look around and evaluate your surroundings...Please feel free to leave any comments, questions, and additions as they are always welcome.

You're sitting having coffee perusing Better Homes and Garden, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Veranda, Architectural Digest, or some other fabulous design magazine and looking around wondering "why can't I live in a place like this..." Well you can, or at least you can have something closer than what you have now...

The start of a new year is the perfect time to really look around and not just look but see. Notice what you like, love, and even more importantly cannot stand to look at anymore. Then make a list.

Start jotting things down without regard to order...with abandon, and without concern for how likely they are to be changed, or how much it would cost...this should be fun and may take longer than you expect, or even much less time than you imagined...who cares, just do it.

Now lets get to work...According to many Interior Designers anything in your home that hasn't had any attention in the last five years should be looked at closely. That's a good way to look at it if you have a hard time knowing where to start. I have some more pointed issues to focus on.

1. Start big-

Are there any rooms, spaces, even corners in your home that are not used, or not functioning as well as they should be? What would be the ideal use for could they enrich your day to day life if changed? This includes pieces of furniture, and outdated or dysfunctional built-ins or cabinets as well.

Dysfunctional living room
photo by ladello

outdated tv cabinet too deep

2. How does the flooring look-

Is your carpet clean and fresh or dingy and matted? Wood floors scratched and dull or rich and full of depth? Tile grout accentuating the tile or making you a bit nauseous? Maybe a change is in order?

3. Do your appliances work- Are they up to date...are they harvest gold, coppertone, or avocado? Or even worse almond? Now if the aforementioned color choices are intentional and you're going for a retro look, great but if not... well it's a bit sad.

outdated appliances with dark wood cabinets
via frigidaire appliances

4. Are your window coverings or lack there of functioning as well as they should? Could you use a decor strengthener or two?

5. Look at your fabrics, furnishings and drapes- Are they worn, stained, sun-faded or even threadbare? Be brutal, it's worth it...

6. Are your cushions or pillows flat or that once perfect sofa too deep or too low for you now?

old tired sofa cushions need new stuffing
via mod home ec

You don't have to stop there of course, but once you have your list start what business planners call "Blue-sky thinking". What would you want without limits- then start planning. Create a folder for your Blue-sky ideas and add clippings from those magazines you looked through earlier and anything else that strikes your fancy. Date and tab your files so you know when and how your taste progresses.

Once you get a good start you can look a little deeper to find out just what is involved with each item. A room conversion, kitchen or bath remodel will be 2- 4 months generally, an addition, or full remodel will be 4-8 months minimum depending on the size and complexity, a redesign or "redecorating" can be 4- 12 weeks depending on the extent of the work. This of course is including time for planning in addition to the actual work itself. A mini makeover can be 2-8 hours, while painting can happen over a weekend. A sofa can be redesigned with new cushions, new fabric, and a new life in 4- 6 weeks depending on the fabric availability and complexity.

Vintage Chow base sofa in original velvet upholstery
photo by PL&D/Patrick Landrum Design
vintage mid century Chow base sofa in original pink velvet 

Newly upholstered vintage mid century Chow base sofa with contrasting cushions
photo by PL&D/Patrick Landrum Design
vintage mid century Chow base sofa in new upholstered Stroheim Snow chenille
body and mid century mod floral print accent cushions

vintage sofa reuphostered in solid fabric body and modern print accent cushions
photo by PL&D/Patrick Landrum Design

Old sofa with new contrasting fabric upholstery
photo by PL&D/Patrick Landrum Design

Plan each project big and small around your life and schedule. When are the kids in school, when do you go on vacation, when do you have guests. When are your high energy times, when are you fatigued...these affect decorating projects more than you may imagine!

Pencil in each idea and time frame, then work your plan...all year long you will have something wonderful to look forward to, and even if you miss a few items you will still have the results of your work and be just a bit closer to that magazine look you love!

If you feel a bit overwhelmed perhaps you may need some professional advice. Most Interior Designers can adapt their consultation platform to allow for some type of overview and planning package, either on an hourly basis or some other program. These are usually perfect for reviewing your completed list, or starting from scratch, and can give you a little inspiration to take over on your own, or even build a complete plan with the designer for the year. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy your world as it all falls into place over time!

If you're ready to take the next step in implementing your plan, or would like to start from scratch we would love to help. Just give us a call at 512-913-1950 and we will be happy to discuss your project and just exactly how we can help you jump start your home interior decorating and interior design plans.

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