Whether you are beginning your home project right now, or dreaming for the future, you will need to collect your ideas and inspirations in a way that you will be able to communicate them to your designer when you begin the process.
The absolute first step is to get clear on your vision for your home. Chances are that initially, before you start organizing things, this will be a mish-mash of thoughts, ideas, photos and perhaps some small notes and clippings, strewn about in different areas of your mind, your computer, phone/camera, social media, and perhaps even in paper format tucked somewhere in your current home.
Making a wish list is the best place to start.
Putting down your wants for the home into a list will help you to sort out what really matters the most, this list should take the needs of everyone who will be living in the home into consideration. Determining the difference between wants and needs will also help clarify your budget and facilitate the conversation with your designer. It will be easier to make decisions when options are presented to you, if you know with certainty which things are surely to be included, those which you cannot live without, and which are dream items, dependent on extraneous factors, such as feasibility or budget.
This list should include details about how you live in your home, don’t be shy, as your designers’ ability to understand how you live will allow for a more customized design that will truly work for you. Comments about how you move from room to room, what areas need more storage, when you need time and space for peace and quiet, as well as voicing concerns about things that are not working for you in your current home like when and where are the high traffic areas, lend to creative solutions.
Next step is defining style.
For some this will be a simple task, they have a very clearly defined aesthetic preference – knowing what they want, these could be the people who may not initially recognize the value of a designer, they are so clear on their tastes that they believe they can put it all together on their own. The realization will come later, when it becomes apparent how much work goes into making sure that the design is unique, cohesive, and the selections are available, obtainable, and affordable to their budget.
Then there will be those at the opposite end of the spectrum, they haven’t a clue about design and likely currently live in a home that may be sparse of any form of design or decoration – they know how badly they require professional design help, BUT they will still need to explore and discover what they like – despite it being a first dive into the realm of determining style, they will be drawn to something definable. Through conversation it will become more fine-tuned to the point that their professional designer is able to create a design concept that is perfectly suited to their life in a home they will love.
And somewhere in the middle is where most people are when it comes to how we think about our wishes for our homes… we have a good idea of what we like, perhaps not completely clear on the wording to use, but will know it when we see it. We may have saved a few images already, or if not, we can quickly identify the things that we like as we start looking for them. For those in this boat, this exercise is less one of discovery, but more of clarification and communication… it is rather enjoyable but still necessary to ensure the vision can be clearly communicated to the designer who is going to make it come to life.
Quite often descriptive words regarding style can mean somewhat different things to different people, so the most straightforward way to communicate exactly what you are envisioning is through imagery.
Images illustrating aesthetic preferences such as architectural style, interior tastes, and preferences in colour are important, but these illustrations are not limited to recognizing a colour palate or cabinetry style – they extend to the functionality of your home. photos showing how rooms transition into one another, adjacent spaces for how your life within will flow through them, and even images showing functional elements like kitchen cabinet pullouts and drawer organization that you wish to have, should all be included in what you bring to your designer to share your vision.
The exercise of saving visual representations of what you want to have in your home will assist in defining your design style; even if you aren’t sure how to name it, a commonality will emerge through the images that you save, then comes our creative joy in clearly defining your unique tastes, customizing the different components into a skillfully melded and cohesive personal style.
Putting it all together… in one place.
All your inspirations and documentation of the elements that you like for your home can be saved to an ideabook; this is an effective and efficient way to communicate your personal style preferences. It is very important that everything be saved in one place, otherwise something that you really love might get skipped because it didn’t make it into your designers’ hands.
A great place to save your inspirations, and the place that we use with our clients, is a website called Houzz. In Houzz, you can create an ideabook, and invite others (members of your household and your designer) to collaborate with you. Everyone involved in the project can illustrate what they are thinking back and forth with one another, until preferences and style are defined. This allows the concept for your home to develop through conversation about what you really want for your dream home.
On Houzz, you will find pictures of rooms and features that you love (with millions of photos to browse, the inspiration is endless!) You can also search for specific things – example “white kitchen” or “spa bath” etc. To add a photo to your idea book, click the “+Save” button. You can also “Upload” from other sources from within your ideabook. If not finding what you love, Remove Location Filters to see more.
There are millions of images on the Houzz website, so it is a great place to start. You can easily save Houzz images into an ideabook with a click of the [❤️ Save] button located on the corner of each photo within the extensive galleries. However, you are not limited to only photos within Houzz, you can also save images from other websites by entering the link into the upload area where it will then generate all images from that page for your selection. And, of course, we realize that inspiration also comes from real life… and it is quick and easy to upload photos you have taken yourself, or scans of pages pulled from a magazine that you have been holding onto.
Be sure to include descriptive notes on what specifically you like about the image and want to take from it. With so much going on in a photograph of a room, perhaps there is only a select element within it that is what you desire for your own home. If you have gone so far as to write up any wish list or made sketches of your ideas, documents can also be included.
It is never too early to begin saving your ideas, start now, define your style, and save it all in one place – then when you are ready to get started, you will have everything you need to communicate what you want to your designer.