Regular readers of RenovatingNYC were recently treated to an interview with Courtney McLeod, interior designer and founder of Right Meets Left Design. I enjoyed our conversation so much, I asked Courtney to take me further into her process with a client when starting a project. For Courtney, this meant an evaluation of her client’s design style, which would then shape her approach and overall aesthetic goals for project. Here, Courtney takes us through three steps that help narrow the endless choices down to something manageable for everyone involved.
One of the most challenging aspects of decorating your space can be figuring out what exactly is your personal interior design style. Below you will find a few tips to help you get started and avoid frustration. Following these steps will put you on solid footing to develop a detailed design. Working with a design professional can remove much of the stress and really streamline this process, saving a lot of time and effort. Often, with my own clients, I will guide them through a streamlined version of this process to help them quickly hone in on a design style to kick off their project.
- Figuring out what really appeals to you – The internet provides a wealth of free information, so take advantage of this great resource. But, do it in a thoughtful way so you don’t become overwhelmed and give up. As a first step in designing your own space, use one of the online tools such as Houzz.com or Pinterest.com to save photos of spaces that appeal to you. A few of my favorite interior design blogs for inspiration: Habitually Chic, Little Green Notebook, Design Sponge, the Aestate, Domaine, Lonny, Rue and Apartment Therapy. At this stage, keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone. If you have always considered yourself to be drawn to only staunchly modern spaces, take a little time looking at more traditional and transitional spaces as well. You never know what you will find and it may provide ideas to personalize your space. Also, don’t try to do this all at once. Give yourself at least three picture gathering sessions, more if you are able. Once you have saved plenty of photos, give yourself a little break from thinking about your project. Even just one day can help recharge your battery and keep the process fun and fresh. Next, in one sitting, spend time flipping through the photos you selected. Completing this exercise with a fresh eye will highlight patterns and help you to realize the key elements (be it paint palette, sofa style, rug style, etc.) that most appeal to you. Take notes as this can be a great way to figure out where to start. For instance, if you find that a lot of your photos feature hand-crafted, reclaimed wood coffee tables, this could be a great first purchase that will help set the tone for the entire room.
- Pick your inspiration photo – Out of the images you selected, pick the photo(s) you find overall the most appealing. Try to narrow it down to three images at most and use these as a roadmap for your project. Narrowing yourself down early on can help you to avoid costly mistakes. Keep in mind you aren’t trying to copy the inspiration photo, but you are trying to capture the feel. As you make selections for your space you may feel doubt or uncertainty about a particular item. Ask yourself if the item would make sense in your inspiration room. If not, it probably won’t help you achieve your goals for your own space.
- You likely won’t be able to capture all the things you like in one space and that is ok – Every room will have some limitation, whether it be low ceilings, limited light, limited square footage, etc. Some ideas you may be drawn to simply won’t work for your room. Therefore, don’t try to force it. Make it easier on yourself and focus on the ideas that will highlight the best features of your space. Hold onto your other design ideas for a future project.
Right Meets Left Design works with clients across a range of budgets, so feel free to reach out if you are interested in help decorating your space. You can find RMLD at www.rightmeetsleftdesign.com and http://www.houzz.com/pro/rightmeetsleftdesign/__public.