I recently just completed a design implementation for a wonderful client in Richmond, Virginia. Even though I am a West Michigan designer, I had the amazing opportunity to work with this beautiful family in bringing their living room and office design together.
While the implementation was a ton of fun, it got me thinking how I could share some of the areas that I know many people struggle with, including myself. So, as I reflected on my time there, I thought of 5 tips that I wanted to share with you that might help you when filling your space with more joy, or at least make you far less stressed.
Tip 1: Give Yourself More Time Than You Think
Let's be honest here, setting up a room takes a lot of time. You may be shocked at this, I mean HGTV pulls together a space in 15 minutes before the final reveal! However, not only do you have to move furniture around, hang things on the walls, and make bookshelves look stunning, you also have to take the time to go out and purchase all the right stuff (and some of the wrong) AND put together the jigsaw puzzle of accessory placement and re-placement.
Always over estimate the amount of time you think it will take you to put your room together.
A good rule of thumb that I have learned over the years as a professional project manager is to first estimate the amount of time you think and then multiply that by 20%. At the end of the day, you want to know if this going to take you a couple of hours, or a couple of days. This will help align expectations around the true time it will take to pull the design together. Enough time must be given to adequately and intentionally pull together a beautiful space
Tip 2: Be Ready To Improvise
We all know that "stuff" happens. The funny thing about that statement is that while we know it will happen, we typically freak out when something does happen. So I will say it again, something will always happen when implementing a design. Murphy will come to the table to lay down the law! (sorry, this is a horrible pun, but I am a recovering engineer...)
When it comes to interior design, you have to be ready to improvise so the freak out doesn't take control.
When working with my client in Virginia, they sent me building plans of their living room, and the design was based off of those measurements. Well, if you have ever had the pleasure of building a house, you know that sometimes the builders may not stick to the plans exactly. In my case, I added a cute little desk in the reading nook area off the living room for homework to be done. It would have fit perfectly with what was on the specs. Little did I know that the builder decided to move the entry way ever so slightly - to them a few inches was not a big deal, but to me, it made all the difference in this room for how the family wanted to use it.
Don't let problems like this get you down when updating your home décor; I simply opened my problem-solving mind to come up with a new solution. In my case, I easily swapped out the desk with a beautiful little c-table that tucked away perfectly under the couch in the nook. It ended up being an even better solution than the desk. Not only was the client's daughter able to do homework on it, but it allowed the nook to have more space, and this extra space created an open environment for big, creative ideas to flow!
Tip 3: Not Everything Needs to Look Insta-Ready
Are you afraid to invite others over because of the mess of having kids? It can be exhausting to be Insta-Ready before having guests over or before taking that photo of your kids playing to post on social - so STOP trying and worrying about it!
Everybody wants to have that perfect shot to show the world, but I would argue that we just don't see enough real life when scrolling on our phones for hours on end.
When it comes to designing your room, don't be afraid to make it both a space that brings you joy as well as practical.
We were preparing for our first professional photoshoot, and nothing was feeling right about the design elements on this coffee table. It just didn't tell the story of the family that was filling this space with connection, with memories. We were trying to speak to the world of Instagram instead of centering around the family. So, after a breath and coming back to our core principle of Human Centered Design - we created a much better, intentional coffee table design. I told one of the client's daughters to gather up the Legos she was building in the dining room, along with her favorite Lego build, and to help me place them ever so "Insta-Perfect" on the coffee table. Her face lit up with excitement when I told her we were placing her interests right in the middle of the living room. She was now part of this design. Your designs should not focus around what will make the best Insta photo, but they should center around YOU as the client, as the family who will make memories in this space by playing with Legos!
Tip 4: Emphasize What's Important
One of primary reasons that I chose to work in the field of interior design was to help make a difference in people's lives, through both an amazing space that produces joy as well as through a mission that helps bring attention to non-profits.
While it is easy to get caught up in all of the gorgeous furniture that makes the room a haven, take some time to add something to the room that is bigger than yourself.
My client chose to bring light to Coptic orphans, which assists the most valuable orphans in Egypt through education. I did this with some subtle pieces on the top of the bookshelf that add to the design of the room, and give emphasis to the mission with it's placement.
When a room has a design element that is linked to a bigger mission, you breathe a life into the space that is so giving! You find connection and remembrance of this bigger purpose. You also get an amazing opportunity to share the mission of the non-profit with any guests that enter the space.
"Where did you get that beautiful art piece?"
"Well, have you heard of the non-profit, Coptic Orphans? No? I would love to tell you about them..."
You may have just sparked a bigger purpose in someone else's life!
Tip 5: Trust the Process
I don't know about you, but there are plenty of times when I start a project and get a couple of steps in and instantly the doubt starts to set in. As an Enneagram 9, this probably happens to me way more often than it should. In this most recent project, this happened right away when we saw the light hanging in the living room.
It didn't feel like it fit the space at all. It just felt big, and out of balance with the space.
I knew I had to let the room come together first before taking anything away.
I already had the end result as I provided 3D renders of the room, so I was able to have a better sense that it would all work out. Once we put the gallery wall up, filled out the book shelves, and finished off the space with pots and plants, that big light that once felt out of place, fit in perfectly.
I hope that you have found these tips helpful when implementing interior design in your own home. Want more creative tips for your home or want to share any additional tips you may have? I would love to meet you! Click below to get the conversation started.
Lykke Haven Design is a full service interior design firm serving clients in West Michigan. We work with clients from Ada, to Grand Rapids, to Holland (and the occasional out of state). Our mission is to create Intentional Interiors curated with a Meaningful Mission that Cultivate Connection. We do this through a process driven by Human-Centered Design. We would love to discuss your next project and how we can help.
Please check out our services to learn more!