Your closing or possession day is approaching fast? Already booked movers? Stoked about getting into your new place?
Whether you’re moving into a bachelor unit or a 2 bedroom penthouse, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus when decorating your new home or condo. It’s a mixture of sheer excitement with a sense of being lost and not knowing where to begin.
As your time is precious, this article will give tips and clues on how to prioritize decorating you condo so that it is a fun, efficient and seamless experience. These tips are also transferable to a first/new house as well.
1. Set your budget
Before you even start thinking about which furniture stores you’re going to hit next Saturday, you must know exactly how much you can spend. It’s so easy to get carried away and go overboard when furniture shopping. You will always find things that you don’t need, but just look so good.
Very importantly, don’t go to stores that you can’t afford things from. I suggest visiting their website for inspiration. There is nothing worse than seeing, feeling, caressing and relaxing on a couch that you can’t take home. This is not time for temptation!
The worst time for planning is at the furniture store, trust me!
2. Measure, measure, measure.
Every wall in every room of your condo must be measured. Whether you do it during your pre-delivery inspection or a visit with your realtor, arm yourself with a measuring tape, a notepad (quad-ruled ones preferred), a pen and a phone/camera.
When mapping out your place, also note the following:
- Location of all electrical outlet and light switches and their height.
- Window opening dimensions and exposure (very important when selecting window treatment). The amount light you get in a south facing living room extremely different from a north facing living room.
- Location of all light fixtures/junction boxes.
- Location of all bulkheads, bump-outs and dead space.
- Ceiling height in each room.
3. Colour scheme and paint
Yes, ideally, if you can select your colour scheme and paint all walls before moving in. Push for it and make it happen. Nothing feels better than moving into a freshly painted home. Now picking a colour scheme can be a daunting task. That’s when designers come in handy, and if you have any expensive or emotionally attached art pieces that you are bringing with you, use them as inspiration or point of departure.
If not able to pick colours, go with a neutral colour scheme throughout and eventually, down the road, pick what to do with your feature wall. It is much easier to move furniture into a room that is already than to paint around large furniture pieces.
Finally, wall colour is the one design element that it’s not so bad if you make a mistake. If you don’t like the colour you selected, you can always change it. It’s just paint.
4. Start with rooms/areas in order of most usage
Basically, pick the room or areas that you will be using the most right off the bat. Are you an entertainer and have friends over all the time? Start with the living room. Are you the next Master Chef? Make sure you kitchen is fully dressed. You work from home? Ensure your home office is all dolled up and fully equipped.
There is nothing worse than having a place where each and every room is half done. It will drive you insane and your motivation will soon dissipate. Stick to one room at a time and finish it before moving on.
5. Don’t leave your bedroom for last
With the previous point in mind, don’t fully neglect your bedroom. I am a firm believer that your bedroom should serve as your sanctuary. It’s your safe haven where you recharge your batteries and perhaps where magic happens ;-). That being said, I am not saying to do it fully before all other rooms, but make sure it receives some thought early on so that, even if not complete, (missing art, or wallpaper or a shelving unit), it is serene and peaceful. Your body and mind will thank you.
6. Before purchasing large size pieces, map them out
One of the most important design principles is scale and proportion. If you’re not working with a designer who provides you with a scaled floor plan, get yourself some masking tape and map out your future furniture pieces on the floor.
This is the simplest way to make sure all pieces are proportionate and fit in you condo before spending thousands of dollars. Also, think of traffic flow. You want to not only make sure everything fits, but that you can function and walk around comfortably.
7. Dedicate time and energy, don’t lose your focus, and persevere!
Think of the mood you want to create in each room and adjectives you want to use to describe them. Read magazines, blogs, watch tv shows, have an inspiration board. (or hire a professional to do it for/with you).
Use that as direction and make it happen. This a big deal and it will occupy a lot of your free time. Be aware of this and arrange other non-work related habits/routine accordingly.
Also, be patient! Even if you found the perfect sectional for your living room, chances are it will take up to 8 weeks for it to be delivered. Good things happen to those who wait.
Finally, if you feel stuck in a rut and can’t seem to find the perfect console table for your entrance, for example, it’s ok! The beauty of owning your own place is the satisfaction you get when you finally find that perfect piece. Like any project in life, it takes time.