What designers know: how they take your home from blah to wow!

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • September 2,  2017

Clients always assume that interior designers have perfect homes.

That somehow we have been blessed with unlimited budgets, endless sources waiting to give us things at cost or less, contractors who do perfect work and always come in on time and under budget.

But in reality, designers and decorators are like everyone else.

We shop for the best pricing for our homes. Search the internet for deals.  Get two or three bids for any project.  Do our best to hire contractors who will come in on time and under budget with amazing work. Just like we do for our clients.

 Bring vibrant color into your home with a focal point gallery wall designed with Frontgate’s tropical art. These heirloom-quality prints are from the horticultural and botanical works at the New York Botanical Garden. Photo: courtesy of Frontgate.

Bring vibrant color into your home with a focal point gallery wall designed with Frontgate’s tropical art. These heirloom-quality prints are from the horticultural and botanical works at the New York Botanical Garden. Photo: courtesy of Frontgate.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I have my new clients fill out a brief questionnaire so I can get an idea of what they want and their level of expectation. Two questions are: How do you want your home to feel when you walk in the door? AND Are you more concerned about budget or quality or both.

 Create a vision board like this one that I designed for a client's new living room. It helps to visualize the pieces for a room and to show how they will look together.

Create a vision board like this one that I designed for a client's new living room. It helps to visualize the pieces for a room and to show how they will look together.

Most clients answer “both” to the second question. Because they are just like me. They want the most quality for the best price.

Fair enough. Now, tell me how you want your home to feel and we will figure out how to get there.

So, exactly what do interior designers and decorators know that will get you from the dreaming stage to the reality stage?

Here are a few of my tried and true tips. Give them a try before your next project. You may not be a design professional but they will definitely take away some of the stress. And after all, I use these in my own home and they work!

·       Set a realistic budget. Don’t fool yourself with this. Be honest.

·       Create a vision board for your project. The one shown here is one that I did for my new living room. It helps to get everything out where you can see it.

·       Don’t be afraid of your decorating instincts. I find that most homeowners have great taste and just need a little direction on how to pull it all together.

 CREATE A VISION BOARD LIKE THIS ONE THAT I DESIGNED FOR A CLIENT'S NEW LIVING ROOM. IT HELPS TO VISUALIZE THE PIECES FOR A ROOM AND TO SHOW HOW THEY WILL LOOK TOGETHER.

CREATE A VISION BOARD LIKE THIS ONE THAT I DESIGNED FOR A CLIENT'S NEW LIVING ROOM. IT HELPS TO VISUALIZE THE PIECES FOR A ROOM AND TO SHOW HOW THEY WILL LOOK TOGETHER.

·       If budget is an issue and you can only do one project: paint. Even if you can’t change the furniture, a new color palette makes everything new and fresh. And it will make you feel good.

·       Don’t rush and don’t settle.  Most of us can’t do everything at once. It’s all about priorities.

·       Put the majority of your decorating budget into: sofa, comfortable chair, rug, dining table.

·       Consider your lifestyle: It may be pretty but is it practical?

·       When making new purchases, remember: Comfort first. Classic style. Less is more.

·       Determine your style before you purchase. Think you have no style? Call a designer.

Do this:

·       Create a gallery wall and let it be a focal point in your home.

·       Use painter’s tape to mark off art and furniture.

·       Have one spectacular piece that you can’t live without.

·       Buy at least one great accessory that makes you happy every time you see it.

·       Invest in custom drapes. It looks like you hired a designer!

·       Spring for a beautiful wallcovering for an entire room (powder room) or as an accent (bedroom behind bed).

·       Paint the ceiling a color. Try it and see what I mean.

 Pick out a favorite accessory like this capiz pendant with hundreds of shell petals from a luminous lotus flower. Photo: courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Pick out a favorite accessory like this capiz pendant with hundreds of shell petals from a luminous lotus flower. Photo: courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Not this:

·       Trends. They will be over soon.

·       Slip covers. Especially for dining room chairs.

·       Rugs that are the wrong size and float in the middle of the room.

·       Purchasing furniture that is too small.

·       Don’t be afraid of making a change.

·       Don’t scrimp on lighting/lamps. They can be very affordable and no home has enough!

And remember: your home will never be perfect. But it’s yours and that’s what should come through. Your personal style.

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog