Chapter 1: A solid foundation
Decorating our home, and particularly our baby or children’s room can be one of the most fun and satisfying projects to do at home. But it can also become overwhelming, because honestly there are so many beautiful things to choose from that it’s not funny. One can end up with a headache trying to choose stuff and never make up his/her mind.
In this Blog Series I am going to share with you my design process, hoping that it can guide you if you are at any step of the decor journey. That said, my Blog Series is not aiming to replace the advice of a good Interior Designer who could help you along the way - in fact, I think that counting with the help of a good professional is always a good investment and will actually save you a lot of money and headaches.
I also wanted to clarify that this is my own process that I have developed as a Graduate from Design Centre Enmore (Sydney, Australia) and working as an Interior Designer later on. So it is very personal, definitely not the only way of doing things… but it’s definitely a great way if you want to create something, and if you are not into recreating what everyone else is doing.
Some parts of the process will come in handy for you as you can literally follow them along for your own home. Other parts might sound a bit more philosophical and you might be wondering why they are necessary. Those are the steps that make my process unique: they demand creativity and practise to be executed, and for this reason they set the process a part from others. I am also including them here as they are an essential part of the way I work.
I am hoping that by the time this Blog Post Series is finished, you will be able to see for yourself the process applied into my son’s room. His room will be a case study and give me the opportunity to practise what I preach!
And now… let’s dig into the practical stuff :)
SETTING UP THE FOUNDATION
1) DEPARTING POINT
Think about where you are coming from, and literally write a list to determine it:
Do you have a completely blank canvas? If for eg. you have just moved to a new home, or renovated your place and you are decorating from scratch.
Or perhaps you are refreshing your existing decor? In this case: are you keeping some of the furniture or are you going to change everything?
If your case is the second instance, make a list of the existing furniture items and classify them as:
↠may keep or change if you can resell
↠definitely getting rid of (preferably donating them so they are reused, prior to opting for recycling)
2) SCOPE OF WORKS
- Determine how far you are going to go with the project, and define your goals after your decoration project is finished.
For example: does the project involve only redecorating? Or you would you go further with other tasks such as: repainting the walls / skirtings / architraves, changing the existing lighting, changing wardrobe doors, patching up old wall hooks etc.
- Think ahead of time: how long are you going to stay in this place? Is your family going to grow any time soon? (of course sometimes this is not something you plan ;) but it is important to think about it and to consider future changes in your circumstances, so that your new decor is made to last.
For example: if you are going to transition your baby into a ‘big boy/girl’ bed in the next few months, then obviously you will need to allow space for the larger bed when doing your layout.
Now that you have done that bit of thinking, you can elaborate a brief based on the two previous points. Briefing yourself is important so that you have a very clear vision of the main need or problem you are trying to solve with this project. I know, it sounds obvious and boring, but doing this preliminary step will help you further down the track.
I give you an example of how this went decorating Dylan’s room:
1) Our spare bedroom used to be a multi purpose space that we would use as my office / guests bedroom / fake nursery where I take pics for lal & nil. We are not starting from scratch, as there is existing furniture
definitely need to keep: cot
may keep or change if I can resell: small shelves, vintage chair, old rug, some decoration items
definitely getting rid of: I made a pile with toys he doesn’t use, clothes etc. and donated them, other items I have put up for sale
2) We identified the need for Dylan to have his own space: a place in the home that he will be able to retreat when he needs and a place he can call his own. The room should serve him for the next 2 years, after this period of time we probably will have moved to a larger home so I don’t need to worry, for example, about including a single bed at this stage. The redecoration may involve changing positioning of shelves and lighting, but we are not going to repaint skirtings or change the wardrobe doors.
3) We are creating a room with the main purpose of being Dylan’s own space. I am guessing he will gradually want to spend more time in it. It’s important that the space is designed for him and that it can grow and evolve at his pace. Now that he is close to turning 2, we are very familiar with his personality and his (ever evolving) interests, and so the space should be reflective of them.
This was the practical part. Now if you want to go with my approach all the way… you need to take the next step (by yourself or with a designer):
4) CREATE A CONCEPT
I come from Design Centre Enmore school of thought - if you haven’t heard about it, it’s where the concepts are born. We literally couldn’t breathe, eat or sleep if we didn’t have a good concept for a design.
Based on your needs and your goals, create an idea that is going to drive your design. It will be your capsule that encompasses every aspect of the room. Whenever you get lost, go back to it and it will give you an answer. Seriously, having a good concept is that good. It does take practice as it's basically learning a new way of thinking, a creative way of thinking.
Usually the way to come up with a good concept is brainstorming ideas based on your brief and the goals you want to achieve with your design / decoration project.
To give you an example, for Dylan’s room I came up with the concept of
I want this space to accompany him as he grows and to enrich him.
The word nurturing referring to a parenting style that resonates with the type of mother I like to think I am: a mother who nurtures her child’s strengths and helps him get better at his weaknesses.
I take our planet earth as the ultimate example of a self nurturing entity that nurtures us constantly. With small daily activities such as watering plants or feeding his cat, Dylan is involved in nurturing and he learns that he is part of a bigger picture.
Nurturing others and the planet, I hope Dylan gets the chance to learn that you give, is what receive back. Eg. if you water your plants they will look healthy and green, if you feed your cat he will have affection for you. So he is involved in the cycle of nurturing.