Friday, August 13, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

Well, the bunk beds are finally gone, so it's time to get busy and figure out my guestroom/sewing/craft area. A few weeks ago in my posts, Origins of Style Parts I and II, I mused about why we are drawn to certain looks.
For me, deciding on a look or combination of looks is one of my favorite parts of putting a room together, but equally important is following a few basic principles that will

My messy, but soon to be decorated guestroom

guide the design process and insure that the room will live up to its expectations. In this post, I’d thought I’d share some of my essential “pre-decorating” tips.
Before the first decorative decision is made, I think the single most important thing to ask yourself is, “How will the room need to function?” In this case
I need space for a guest, a place to sew, and lots of storage space for linens, out of season clothing, paint, fabric, and various arts and crafts supplies. While I love the open floor plan of my house, I want to restrict my pets' access to this area, so a room division will need to be included in the design. That’s a pretty tall order for a 13 by 14 foot room, which leads me to the next consideration, "constraints".

Accumlated craft supplies completely block access to my sewing machine and must find a permanent home.

Probably the least fun portion of any decorating project is detemining the constraints on it. One of those is space, as I mentioned above, and planning for the funtionality needed in the available square

footage. In my case I live in a rental cottage, so no structural changes can be made. This unfortunately includes the flooring, which is blue commercial tile, so that must be

Space, time, money and pets are things to consider when planning a room.

worked into the color scheme to avoid a major clash. Another constraint to consider is time. For me, I need to have all of my projects wrapped up by mid October so that I’ll be ready to entertain a guest. The final constraint that I must account for is budget, which is unfortunately quite small. Looking on the bright side, however, tight budgetary restrictions often spark creativity in ways that more lenient funds may not. There are lots of great flea market bargains waiting to be found, and fixing them up is certainly one of the most enjoyable aspects of putting it all together!
The next step for me is editing. I like to take an inventory of what is already in the room, and decide what needs to stay and what needs to go. If something is already working well in the space, then

there’s a pretty good chance it will be a “keeper” although it may need to be revamped to fit in with the new plan. If something is definitely not working, it needs to go….either to another room, to your favorite charity, or if you’re just not ready to part with it, to long term storage. For this room, the “keepers” are two armoires. I believe one will work without any changes and the other will have to be

This armoire is used for storing linens and will remain in the room.

restyled to compliment the new decor. The “goners” are the bunk beds and dresser that have been residing in the room. My sewing table and a small wicker table fit into the “maybe” column.
At this point, I like to sketch out a plan which will accodate all the functions of the room. Included in the plan will be all pieces of furniture that will be staying as well as plotting a space for new additions required for the room's functionality.

One of the plans that I created for my guest/sewing room

A room plan can be done by hand or with software. There are several free internet applications which do this. The plans shown here were done using the room planner software at Conlin's site. Of the ones I've tried, I found this to be the most user friendly.

Some alternate plans for the room

If you like, you can even import the image files from the site and tweak them a bit more with graphics software such as Photoshop, as I've done in the pics directly above. Sketching things out first can save a lot of mistakes when it comes to bringing in new pieces. The sketch will show how much space is allocated for each item, and will be an important reference when shopping.
After needed items are identified, I like to shop my house to see if I already have anything that will fit the bill. In this case, the sleeper sofa from the living room
was already ear-marked for a move. I also have a coffee table that may work in this space as an interim piece until the storage ottomans I want can be constructed. A small wicker stand that I already own can sit in for the vintage dress form on my wish list.

My dog, Lucy, who is lounging on the sleeper sofa that will be relocated to the guest room.

While my current sewing table is smaller than than I'd like it will probably remain in place temporarily until time and budget allow for a replacement.

Alternate room plans using interim furnishings

In keeping with the title of my post, I've gotten READY; a plan is SET; and now it's time to GO! It's time to enjoy some digging into blogs, magazines and such for ideas, and searching out the perfect treasures to complete the room. Let the fun begin!

Until next time,

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