Have plan, will travel? Or, plan the room then work the plan? However you want to put it, a game plan is necessary for a room or entire house to come together attractively.
Let me walk you through some room planning strategies. Make a planning book. Buy a spiral bound notebook, letter size, with pockets. If several rooms are being decorated, use tabs to separate the pages into rooms.
First focus on one room at a time, honing in on the specific activities and requirements of each. Take an inventory of the furnishings, floor coverings and window treatments you intend to keep. Measure the size of the furniture. Write all this down in the planning book.
Next, take a picture of the room from several angles so as to capture on film all the pieces that will stay. If possible, remove anything in the room that will be discarded. This way the pictures will show what is staying and just as important, what is needed. The pictures should be pasted in the planning book along with more notes on what needs to be added or done to the room.
Now measure the room and again, note those figures in the book. Besides the size of the room, heights and widths of walls and windows are important if you plan to repaint, wallpaper or redo window treatments. It also helps to have the wall sizes when selecting art or other wall accessories.
Write down the actual colors in the room that are staying. Sometimes the pictures will develop off color. If the blue satin pillow cases are the perfect shade of blue you want to maintain, take one with you when shopping. Any and all color samples you intend to use should travel with you at all times.
But what if the perfect color is in a chair that is impossible to carry around? When you take the time to describe the color on paper while looking at it, you will see that the blue might actually have gray in it, or the yellow contains a bit of brown. Having this information at your fingertips will make shopping for colored items a bit easier. Don’t buy, though, without taking a sample home to make sure the colors are right. Color changes with light so what might be perfect in the store might not be so perfect in your house.
Sit in the room and decide what will make it more comfortable and/or better looking. How can its efficiency be improved? What about its usability? As ideas pop in your head, write them down no matter how far fetched they seem. After several such sessions, go back over the notes and pick out the ideas that will actually suit your needs best.
Now you are ready to go shopping. Remember the planner — don’t leave home without it!
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.”