You're sitting in the family room after a long day with a hot beverage of choice. After about a half an hour of your favorite show, you hit the pause button and quietly look around the room. Mostly you like what you see but there is this nagging voice telling you it's time for a change. Thinking back, it's been about 10 years since you've made any major changes to your home, and it feels like now may be the right time. But how do you know for sure? Sometimes there aren't any fireworks or major signs of a needed update.
We've talked with many clients that have started the same way. The truth is you know when something needs a change but you need some guidance and support to know you aren't completely out of your mind. Here are a few things you can do to put your mind at ease as you begin the journey of a home renovation.
Have a Dinner Party
Thinking about a home renovation can actually be a lot of fun. There are several stages to renovating such as research, design and construction. In the research stage you should make it fun by engaging other people in your story.
Having a dinner party can be the best way to get some good honest advice from friends. Set a date and send instructions to your friends that this is a time of catching up and getting ideas for ways you can improve your home. Planning and preparing for the party is the first time to see any flaws in your home that might need to be changed. Consider the headaches you run into along the way.
- Do you have enough seating?
- Do your rooms flow nicely for entertaining?
- Do you have enough space for prepping the food?
- What about space for serving the food?
Your friends arrive and the food is served. Have them all move from room to room giving their advice. As they bounce ideas off each other you'll get a well-rounded approach to each room.
Now, the party is over and you are cleaning up. Think through how everything went and what improvements you need to make based on their advice. Also, as you are cleaning, what kind of improvements could make this part easier or more enjoyable?
Go to New or Remodeled Hotels and Restaurants
Another fun way to get ideas for your home renovation is to visit newly built or newly remodeled hotels, restaurants or homes. Book a room at your favorite hotel or a hotel you've wanted to stay at for some time. Staying at a hotel is one of the best ways to see what is new and improved on your sense of style because you won't miss anything. Checking in, winding down and waking up in that environment will give you plenty of ideas. From functionality to finishes, you'll leave with a lot of ideas to think about. (As a caveat, I must say these activities are going to be based entirely on taste or preference. If you have a modern taste in design, you will visit different places than someone with a traditional style.)
A restaurant can be a great place to check out too. Here you are focused on eating and drinking so the ideas you'll end up with will be a little different. Spending a good 2 hours enjoying a meal and drink with people you enjoy will spark some lively conversation around the latest trend or the most timeless pieces to consider in your home renovation design.
Either restaurant or hotel, think about your style preference. Is your aesthetic more Tuscan? Maybe think about visiting a restaurant or winery in Napa. Do you have a more modern sense of style? Check out a new hotel in San Francisco. How about a formal style? Visit a Ritz Carlton or a classy Bed and Breakfast. Aren't you getting excited about research? It can be so much fun!
Take Photos of Your Home
A great way to take everything in is to take a photo. You can sit and compare it to other photos or areas to see how one is similar or different from the other. After your dinner party, you'll have a list of the spaces you want to focus on in your home renovation. Take several photos from different angles of each space and then bring those photos with you to the hotels and restaurants you visit. Look at the new design and then look at your photo. How can you incorporate what you are seeing into your home?
After doing some of this research you may find that you only need a minor facelift in certain areas of your home. But you also may find that you need a complete overhaul. Maybe your cabinets are fine but you need new appliances. These activities will definitely expand your thinking on which direction to take on your home renovation.
Spend Time on Pinterest
Ok, so your initial research is coming together. The key now is to put all your ideas in one place so it is nice and organized. One of the best places to do this is pinterest. Pinterest is a social media platform that allows you to share photos you have taken or found on the web and re-share other people's photos. When you share it's called a "pin" and when you re-share someone else's photo, it's called "repinning". Not really sure how all this works? Go here for a quick 4 minute tutorial.
Pinterest is a great way to do a search and quickly see many ideas around a preferred style or area of the home. The end result is having all your ideas right at your finger tips when it's time to meet with your home designer.
A home renovation can be daunting at first, but as you can see there are a lot of activities you can do on the front end that are fun and allow you to find a clear direction. The more you look, the clearer your direction will become. At first you will be swimming in feedback and ideas but eventually you will establish a clear goal for your home renovation.