Getting your first home is like getting married! So exciting! So many things you wanna do with it! So many things you have dreamed of for your dream home! So many ideas! So many things you like! So many things you want in your home! So many things seen in magazines and on tv that you desire for your space! No more college makeshift furniture, temporary posters etc YAY!
At the same time – so overwhelming! So easy to mess up! So many things to consider! Potentially SO expensive! Where do you even start, right?!
1. Breathhhhhe first of all. You should have fun with your design process, in order to love the end product! Trust me, if you do everything at once, you are gonna discover so many mistakes in the process. Mistakes you’ll have to end up paying for, in time, effort, and $!
(I’m gonna base this on apartments as most of us live in one of these, when I have more experience on landed properties, allow me to expand on this).
Eg.. Jade had painted her new pad a beautiful shade of blue, then found out that there was a leaking problem (developer’s fault), she overlooked the “defect fixing period” (ranges from 6 months – 1 year for you to complain to the developer for them to fix for you, check on that). In the end, they had to strip the paint to fix the problem, and her furniture ended up covered with a layer of dust/ smut as they failed to cover everything up. She wrote about that here.
(Not Jade’s place… but as you can see, paint job best done when room is bare, hence CHECK defects before painting and moving in ANY furniture)
2. DO NOT buy things before you move in!
Try not to do this unless if you really CAN’T live without something! And if you have to, try not to buy too many, otherwise you’ll have to build your design around these items.
Eg. I had to have my SMEG fridge (wrote bout that here)
Eg. I also really really wanted my ghost chairs (wrote bout them here)
I knew these were relatively smaller items (not built-ins, or a large piece of furniture), and they were exactly my theme/ look. So I didn’t hesitate. But what if this happened to you…
3. Who are you? What represents you/ your family? Decide on an overall theme/ feel to your place.
Are you one of the following?
Modern or industrial minimalist? (I am)
Oriental: Japanese, Chinese, Balinese, Indian, East Indian etc.
Classic/ Period oriented: Victorian, Georgian, Baroque etc.
Visual oriented: Art deco (lots of geometry), Floral etc.
Tropical: Resort inspired.
Inspired by places you’d visited: French, Mediterranean, L.A, New York… West Asia (Byzantine) etc.
Quirky: You like to mix the old with the new, tricky but could be so much fun eg. “Motro” (learned this term from my friend Min): Modern Retro, eg. pairing antique furniture with a modern wall, maybe throw in some Phillipe Starck, with quirky upside down lamps.
I’m sure there are many other terms I’d failed to mentioned here but you get the gist. Pick ONE or TWO from these, and you’ll see that your thoughts will be more focused and the rest becomes easier!
Nowadays, a fusion of themes make a home more unique eg. Modern minimalist with a few Neo classic furniture to accent, or Country rustic with scattered modern slick pieces or a stainless steel kitchen, some Chinois influence in your boudoir inspired space etc.
Min devised a color and design palette and shared it with her designer so everyone had a clear picture of what the place should look like and how the colors would come together.
Another good friend Rozie gave me an amazing idea: a mini scrapbook that she carries everywhere so that when she’s out to purchase something for the house, she doesn’t have to go home again to evaluate if the potential buy goes with everything. The scrapbook contains: the floorplan with ALL the measurements (see point 5), little samples of everything she’s bought or are about to – curtains, fabric for furniture, even wallpaper samples!
Go ahead, have fun flipping through magazines, sites, etc and build your own mood board. Eliminate things that don’t fit on that board. You’ll spot them when the whole thing comes together.
5. Measure! Measure! Measure!… then Measure again!
Remember what I said in point 2.? You don’t want to throw away that beautiful RM4000 luxe leather sofa that’s twice the size of your room, do you?
Eg. Rozie got a beautiful L shaped couch for her cozy living area. Her living area turned out too cozy and the couch didn’t allow any space for coffee tables, or room to move! She had to give it away poor thing.
Your floorplan should be with you at all times. Make yourself 10 copies at least (I’m anal that way). Measure every corner of every space and make sure you have that with you when you’re talking to your contractor (give him/ her a copy), the designer, and the furniture salesperson (they’re usually quite helpful when it comes to advising you on your space sufficiency etc).
Don’t leave out details like skirtings along the wall: Eg. I got a wardrobe for a client that fit snugly into a space she had, we forgot about the skirting along the walls, that 4cm made the difference! The wardrobe couldn’t get in! I was lucky she was a gracious client. She had her contractors remove the skirting to fit in the wardrobe. Phew! Never again Serena!
Doorways/ ceiling heights can’t be left out: You don’t want your giant couch/ beautiful display unit to block the entrance/ doorway, or god forbid – your furniture too bulky to even enter the room, do you? I’d cry if someone had to saw off my couch/ bench/ whatever to get it into the room! Also: take into account which way your door opens so you don’t place things in the way.
I think that’s enough info for now right? There’s so much to consider before you even start your design/ renovation process!
Part 2 will include: Contractors/ Designers (do you need/ want one)/ Budget/ Practical issues…
Let me leave you with this: a video to inspire you perhaps? Love how they showcase the color palettes underneath each room (take note).
The home of a celebrity: Donatella Versace! Pouhaaa!!! (A friend of mine says that so much that I’d started using it)
This place can only be described in one word: OPULENT! Now feast your eyes…