Primed By Design | Milton Interior Decorator

On Decorating: Planning Makes Perfect

Ezine Article, Nov 2010
By Sharyn Kastelic

No matter how small the project, when it comes to renovating and decorating, a much better result can be achieved if the entire project is planned at the outset. To ensure a better result, consult with a Professional Interior Decorator or Designer.

1. The first step in any renovation or decorating project should involve a needs analysis. One way to tackle this is to sit down with all family members and make a list of every activity that will take place in the space (a wish list). For example, let’s say you are finishing the basement. The list might include: a home theatre, surround sound system, gas fireplace, three-piece bathroom, wet bar, home office, guest room, exercise studio, pool table/games room, etc. If your list gets too long, you will probably have to prioritize depending on your available square footage and budget.

2. The next step is space planning which necessitates a base floor plan drawn to scale. It should include the location of windows, stairs, support columns, existing walls and any other architectural elements. Then, consider traffic flow, size of area required for each activity, noise conductivity, aesthetics, convenience and construction logic. Here are some examples of questions to consider: Can the T.V. be centred between two windows? Can a two-sided fireplace do double duty in the home theatre as well as an adjacent games area? Can the wet bar be located relatively close to a bathroom? Can the home office double as a guest room? How often will a pool table be used?

3. Once the space planning has been completed and the location of all new walls determined, a furniture layout plan can be created. Things to consider include: viewing distance from the T.V. (for HDTV with 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, the viewing distance is equal to the screen size multiplied by 2.5); seating for how many people; size of bed/pull-out sofa in the guest room; how much storage is required; and if you want to invest in built-in cabinetry or purchase furniture that can be moved. After answering these questions, adjustments may need to be made to the floor plan.

4. More Planning…The next step is to add electrical outlets to the plan. These can now be placed in strategic locations, i.e. for the T.V. and components, home office computer, bar fridge, lamps, etc., as well as speaker, phone and internet connections. A separate lighting plan should be created, that includes locations for all ceiling fixtures, recessed lighting, wall sconces and switches. Don’t forget to include dimmer switches for maximum lighting flexibility.There are a lot of factors to consider and important decisions to make before beginning any project. You should consider hiring a Professional Interior Decorator who can take your needs analysis through to completed plans. An interior decorator can offer insights that you will not necessarily receive from a building contractor. Even if you intend to do the work yourself, hiring a professional to provide the basic plans for your project is a worthwhile investment.
The principles of how to finish a new basement can be applied to any decorating or renovation project.

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