You did it, you purchased a house. Congratulations! Now you have decisions to make. Hardwood or carpet? Quartz or granite? Dark cabinets or natural? But don’t panic. There are tons of options, but you needn’t get overwhelmed. With the help of an experienced professional interior designer, the selection process will be easy, stress-free, and downright fun. So get excited!
Start by doing some research. If you’re worried about having trouble making decisions, start by browsing for inspiration and information online before your first design appointment. You don’t need to memorize terms or write big pros and cons charts — just start with finding some design elements you like and don’t like. Websites like Pinterest and any site with a virtual showroom are a great way to get a sense of the colour combinations, appliances and cabinetry styles that others have selected for their home.
Looking at show homes in your area can also be a helpful way to get a sense of how a home can be put together, and is a good way for you to see, first-hand, how certain design styles, material choices etc. work in the final product.
When you get to know what you like, you get a better sense of what you’re looking for with your own home, and this can make the decision-making process less intimidating.
Think about your lifestyle needs. Your home needs to meet both your aesthetic and practical needs; it needs to be beautiful and functional. When considering how to design the inside of your home, take some time to think about how you will use each space. For example, do you like to host big dinner parties? Maybe that means you have tons of dishware to store in your cabinets. As you look through your options, find ones that suit your style but will also accommodate your extra-large collection. You might also consider putting in a larger oven (steam ovens are especially popular right now), or even a second dishwasher. Your home needs to work for you, so thinking about how you will use it will help you eliminate options that are stylish but impractical and narrow in on choices that meet both your aesthetic and functional needs.
The Process: A Domino Effect
The design process is very much a domino effect: you will choose various aspects of your home in sequential order and one decision will likely impact how to make the next. For example, you will start by choosing exterior hardware, like door styles and frames. From the outside, you move onto the interior and choose fundamental basics like cabinets and hardwood. Finally, you can really personalize your home when you look at tile, countertop and carpet selections. The colour tones of the cabinets, hardwood and countertops will likely influence the paint colours you choose for certain rooms. This chronological process allows you to look back to previous decisions to create a total, united vision. It helps to make sure that the whole house comes together just the way you envision.
Putting Everything Into Perspective
Just like you walk before you run, you make some design decisions before others. The fireplace is a great example to illustrate this. The firebox itself is actually put in rather early on in the construction process (just after the house is framed), so it will be one of the first items you select. You’ll choose, for example between a classic-style square gas fireplace or a modern, linear box shape for an electric fireplace. You’ll also choose its position: directly on the floor or raised off the ground.
With those early decisions behind you, at your second design appointment, you will choose what kinds, colours, and textures of stone or tile you would like to adorn the fireplace. The final step is choosing the mantle style, and there are numerous options available (from sleek to profiled, maple to oak). Your original choice of the style and position of the firebox will influence the design touches you make later on.
Step by Step
The process of choosing the fireplace echoes the design process overall: you start from the more fundamental aspects that determine how and where elements in your home will be built and gradually make your way to the more minute aesthetics. This no-stone-unturned approach is the optimal way to ensure the final version of your house is what you always wanted. So get excited — you’re about to design your dream home.