We’ve accomplished quite a bit in our quest to learn how to decorate. So far, we’ve gathered inspiration, defined our signature style, selected a color palette and made a mood board. You’re ready to make your dream a reality. Now that you have a clear direction on your design plan, it’s time to get down to business. Everything we’ve done so far has been in dreamland. Your dream room, your ideal style, your ideal color scheme.
I see the blank look on your face. “But Kenyatta, where do I start?” Of course, I have a plan for you. I always have a plan. Well um, NOW I have a plan. I used to just jump in. You, my friend, are supposed to learn from my mistakes, mmm-kay?
These are the three steps to take your decorating goals from dream to reality.
I’ve also created a free worksheet to help you stay on track. Download it here.
You knew it was coming: Set a Budget
I know, in the middle of our decorating party, I have to bring up the b-word. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the budget of our dreams. I am all about your dream, but girl, we live in reality and the real deal is that you need a budget.I am all about your dream, but girl, we live in reality and the real deal is that you need a budget.' quote='I am all about your dream, but girl, we live in reality and the real deal is that you need a budget
Before you bust out the credit cards, take a hard look at your finances.
- How much can you really afford to spend to jazz up this room? Set a realistic figure.
- How will you pay for everything?
- Credit card
- If you’re financing or putting items on your credit card, do a quick cost calculation of how much these items will cost with interest…It may not be worth it.
- What is the timeline you’re working with to get it completed?
- What items can you thrift or DIY?
Next look at the pieces you will consider an investment. For me that’s furniture. I prefer to buy classic, quality furniture so I can change up the look with accessories and textiles down the road should I want to redecorate. For you, it may mean artwork. Use the bulk of your budget for timeless, valuable pieces. I suggest not splurging on trendy items.
Finally, designate a ballpark figure for the other must-have items in your room AND think about how you will pay for them.
Try not to fall in love with pieces you will never be able to afford. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. If you must have an item, my mom left me with some really good tips on getting what you want here.
Fit Matters: Measure so your Decor can fit your space
I hate to see people with ill-fitting undergarments. Just hate it. Four boobs, cheeky panty lines, and bulges everywhere. Weight is not the issue; FIT is the issue. I know some plus-size beauties that look fabulous every day and some size-two lovelies that need some Spanx. Just like every lady needs a bra fitting, every piece of furniture in your house needs to fit.
To get a good fit, you need to measure your room AND furniture BEFORE you make a purchase. A friend of mine recently bought a beautiful sectional to replace her beloved 10-year-old workhorse sofa. She drooled over it in the store and it looks amazing, but it ended up being much too small for her family room. It just doesn’t sit right and ended up being more of a nuisance than anything. The sectional rides up, if you will. Now she’s stuck buying extra pieces to fill the space. Do yourself a favor, break out a measuring tape.Measure your room AND furniture BEFORE you make a purchase.
Things to measure:
- Perimeter (length and width)
- Ceiling height
- Windows (for window coverings)
- Doorway width and height (to ensure you can get the piece inside)
- If you live upstairs or have a second floor, measure the stairwell width and height.
After measuring, take a quick second to tape off the room using painter’s tape. This will help you visualize where to place your furniture. This takes less effort than you imagine, but it will save you heartache, and ooohh I want to save you the heartache. Right now, I have a living room where all the furniture is too big. It functions and looks good, but I promise I won’t make that mistake again.
Turn Your Dreams to Reality Decor Planning Worksheet
Set priorities so you won’t derail your dream
You don’t put your shoes or belt on first, do you? I sure hope not. Same thing for decorating. Establish a foundation and build on it. I know you’re tempted to go to Home Goods and fill your cart with gorgeous pretties. But the smart thing to do is to buy the essentials first.
Remember how important function is to the room? A vase does not equal function no matter how breathtaking it is. By setting priorities, your room will work well before it looks good. That’s ok; decorating takes time. HGTV is TV. Decorating takes time. If you establish priorities, you’ll be able to buy the right things at the right time and you won’t have wasted your money on five vases when you really need a sofa. Setting priorities will help you keep your budget in check and your home in order.
Now that you know where to start, get to it! Don’t forget to download the Decor Planning Worksheet to help you track your budget, measurements, and priorities. If you get stuck, lemme know how I can help!
I absolutely love this article. Nothing annoys me more than a room filled with ill-fitting furniture.
Kenyatta Harris says
It’s so annoying. All my living room furniture was thrift store finds or gifts…whomp whomp. No one notices but me, but I notice it all.the.time! Can’t wait to change some of the pieces.