Budget vs. Vision



Dear Designer,

I cannot afford to redo my entire house, but I want to improve the overall interior design. Where do I start? Do I pick one room? Should I select one piece of furniture to work around?


Emily in Orem



Dear Emily,

You are not alone when it comes to budget vs. vision. It can be very intimidating to walk through your home and want to re-do every room from top to bottom. It is a challenging  project. But with a bit of time and patience it can be achieved with a small amount of effort and financial cost. Allow me to give you a few examples.

Freshen up your look

You said you wanted to improve your overall interior design. Usually this means your home looks tired in your eyes. You are probably wanting to give your home a fresh updated look. As a woman, one thing is important to remember: We wear our homes. That may surprise you, but it is true. If you went to your closet and looked at the dominant colors of your wardrobe you will find yourself choosing the same colors almost daily. You will find certain colors that will appeal to you regularly. The same decisions are made many times when shopping for a new sofa or lamps for a room. Discover your comfort range.

So where should you start? Make a list of real priorities. This means do not consider costs at this time. Begin with what irritates you the most when you see it on a daily basis. Is it the kitchen? Family room? Master bedroom? Perhaps a bathroom? Everyone has different issues in their home.

Your biggest irritant seems to be that the house looks tired. The most important impact one can achieve in any environment is color. A gallon of paint is the least expensive way to make a fresh beginning to a tired room. The second consideration would be if you like a certain piece of furniture such as a sofa, or great-grandmother’s antique secretary, which you played upon as a child. Your priority list becomes important at this stage. Personal items should play a large part in your selection of priorities in your home. Allow me to use the following example:

Your family room furniture is more neutral. Usually this means soft cream or sandy tones. Warm taupes and beige are used a great deal in family areas. The least expensive first step would be to choose a color for your walls. Color affects how you feel and creates your mood. Soft sage greens are relaxing colors. Perhaps you would enjoy placing great-grandmother’s antique secretary in the same room to bring back those wonderful memories and create feelings of coziness.


Add color

Re-arranging the existing furnishings in the room can be quite helpful for an entirely new look with freshly painted walls. To minimize cost, apply the wall color yourself. If you have not painted wall surfaces before check with your local paint store for assistance in quality products and supplies.


Look at lighting

An often overlooked issue is lighting. Do you have enough task lighting for reading? Is it placed in the room next to that comfortable chair you love to curl up in and watch the fire crackle while sipping hot cocoa? Do you like your style of lamps? Lighting can be an easy accent as well as a practical use to freshen a room.

Area rugs are another great way to make a statement whether in your entry or under a dining table. There are a wide variety of retail showrooms ranging in all price ranges for you to view the many choices. Just as a caution remember to stay with what really says “wow” when you see it. Selecting an area rug can dictate which avenues you may take to re-do part or all of your home.

At the end of the day you will discover that color choices play a vital part in accomplishing your dream home. We also suggest that one way to avoid costly mistakes is to hire an interior designer to consult with you in your home about your desires. A couple of hours of design time can offset very expensive mistakes and a lot of frustration.


Work with an interior designer

There are a number of ways to find a designer who is looking after your best interest. Take the time to visit local furniture showrooms. Inquire about the design staff and services. Do not feel you have to choose just anyone. Make sure you are comfortable with the individuals you chat with. The long standing reputable businesses are the best beginning.

I hope you have received some insight as how to approach your project.

Carole Ann Patterson

Steve Peterson Interiors

Pleasant Grove


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