By - Sherry Bronson
Many of you spent an excessive amount of time at home over the past two years. You had ample opportunity to interact intimately with your surroundings. Perhaps you grew itchy, seeing the same colors, the same outdated look, or worn-out furnishings day after day. Now you're ready, oh-so-ready for a change.
But before swinging a sledgehammer at that offending wall, stop, take a breath, and do what professionals in the design field do. They begin with an in-depth interview that feels like an interrogation into the innermost workings of your daily life. But it's so necessary, and DIYers run into problems when that important part of the process is neglected. Those going it alone, you should know what questions to ask and answer for yourself before diving headlong into your project.
The basic six, Why? When? Who? How? What? Where? are universal. They apply to every project. From there, they become more specific, and you'll choose the ones that address your unique needs. Then you'll most likely add more of your own musings as you dig deeper and your motivations and desires become clearer.
Let's take a look at the questions to ask yourself before you begin.
Why Do You Want To Change Your Home?
Why do you want to change the appearance of your home?
Are you responding to an urgent need for repairs?
Has the family outgrown the current space?
Is everything old and tired, sagging springs and threadbare curtains?
Are you replacing outdated décor?
Or have you fallen out of love with the colors and patterns and just want something different?
When Do You Want To Begin
Are the reasons compelling or urgent?
When does it make the most sense to begin?
Will the season of the year make a difference? (A consideration, especially if there are exterior aspects to the re-do in temperamental climates.)
Who Will Use The Space?
If you're a single person living alone, you're the Who, and you get to do what you want.
If you have a partner or family living with you, other needs and wants should be considered.
How Will The Space Be Used?
The following questions should be answered for each room involved in the re-do.
Do you have a relaxed or formal lifestyle?
Will everyone in the household use this space?
How will each individual's use needs be met?
Will guests be entertained here?
If so, do you prefer large or small groups?
How will you entertain? Dinner parties? Drinks and snacks? Game nights?
What do you need in the plan to make entertaining easy for yourself and comfortable for guests?
How will traffic flow?
Will pets use this space?
If they shed, what color is their hair?
How will the dust be contained and the debris disposed of if walls are being demolished or moved?
What Should You Consider?
What is your budget?
What do you love?
What are your favorite colors?
What design style makes you happy? There are several to choose from; Contemporary, Traditional, Mid-Century, Industrial, Farmhouse, Beach Cottage, etc.
What furnishings and accessories will you need?
What will they look like in keeping with your preferred style? Will it be large, compact, ornate, simple, refined, or rustic?
Where Will You Find What You Need?
Where will you source your materials and products?
Where will you hire help if needed?
Where will you stay? Will you move out of your home for the duration of the work? If not, where will you cook, do laundry, eat, sleep, and play while the work is being done?
Not all of these apply to every project. But if even one of these triggers an "Aha!" moment that helps you avoid the pitfalls that come with a lack of advance planning, that's great! And sometimes, especially if this list seems daunting, an hour or two with a design professional could be the best investment you make toward a highly-functional, happy, DIY home-improvement project.