We're getting ready to embark on yet another project around our house and I'm particularly excited about it as it means I'll be working on it outdoors in the sunshine! We're going to give our front porch a little attention during the next couple months and hopefully utilize the space in a way that is more comfortable and inviting.
While I've been working on putting together a plan, I thought I'd share with you the steps I take every time we begin working on a new project, particularly one that encompasses an entire room. As always, I feel the need to put in a little disclaimer that I'm by no means an expert... in fact, the majority of the time I feel like I know absolutely nothing... but these are merely a few things that help me.
This is the first step I take when looking at a remodel project. For years I have clipped photos from magazines and catalogs that inspire me and tucked them away in a binder. Now we have Pinterest too, and although it took me a long time to break down and use it, I have to admit that I love this method of gathering inspiration (you can find me on Pinterest here). For me, it's not so much copying, but rather gathering together a variety of ideas to incorporate. I've taken inspiration from all the porches above, even though the color schemes, styles and designs are different. It's taking all those little pieces of inspiration that speak to you in that photo - a color, an architectural detail, a suggestion of comfort, accessories - and using them to help you put your vision together.
Staying True to your Style
Isn't this probably the hardest thing of all when it comes to decorating? I know it is for me. We have so much access to beautiful photos and ideas that sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus on what we really love and also what works best for us and our families. I always remind myself that this is our house and it needs to fit our lifestyle and our family... it's okay to be different!
A Color Scheme
Sometimes we might have a color in our mind that we love, but something prevents us from using it. This is often the case for me because I'm trying to work with something we already have. I would love to have a porch that was entirely shades of blue, but we have a green metal roof... a perfectly good metal roof that we don't plan on replacing (smile). That means it's time to compromise. I'm teaming up with Lamps Plus on this project, so I was thrilled when I found a couple beautiful outdoor pillows that incorporate both blue and green from them.
As I gather ideas and brainstorm, I like to visualize what the entire room or project will look like once it's finished. True, there are always adjustments along the way, but it helps me to have a vision. Oftentimes I even sketch my idea on paper, such as furniture placement, etc.
Establish a Budget
While it's easy to wish this wasn't a factor to take into consideration, I don't think I'm speaking for just myself when I say it is. It helps to establish a budget in the planning stages, because you'll soon determine what is most important to you. It can sometimes be a wonderful thing though... it gets those creative juices flowing and you may end up with several things in your room that are handmade, unique, and special. It has always helped us in remodeling our home to work with what we can and do the work ourselves.
Think Outside the Box
I added this step after establishing a budget because it goes hand-in-hand with those creative juices. When something is out of your price range, don't give up quite yet - look for alternatives. (What do you think I should plant in this galvanized tub I'll be using as a planter?)
In our case, the bulk of our cost usually goes to structural details, but I also like to factor in some accessories. Accessories can complete your look and they're also fun to daydream about since you'll get to use them when your project is complete (smile). This doesn't mean I know absolutely every accessory I'm going to use in the planning stages, but it does help for me to have an idea of a few things as they help complete that vision.
Do What You Can... And Buy What You Can't
I couldn't think how else to word that! We have cut costs many times by doing the work ourselves, but sometimes you just can't and sometimes it just isn't worth it. I am so, so lucky to have a handy husband that likes to build things... in the case of our porch, adding an outdoor rug and a coffee table were both things I had on my mind. So I went with a rug (which I can't make) and asked my husband if he would build us a coffee table (which will practically be free since we already have the wood).
Even though Justus isn't thrilled with having another project on his to-do list I know in the end we'll have a piece of furniture that will reflect the style of our home and will also be special.
Make a List
I know you probably aren't surprised with this last item, as I imagine most of you probably have figured out by now that I'm a list type of person (smile). But it always helps me to stay on target if I have a list of everything that has to be accomplished and there's also so much satisfaction in crossing something off. It's just a helpful little way for me to keep from getting overwhelmed when I can take something in pieces. It also helps this forgetful mommy remember ideas!
I'll keep you posted on our porch progress!