In the era of HGTV and grand reveals, it seems like the only way to reimagine your home is all at once. The immediate fulfillment of a shack that has—overnight!— been converted into a minimalist, nordic cabin in the Catskills. Or an 1,000 SF ranch style home that has blossomed into a 3,000 SF vision with vaulted ceilings and a cedar roof.
The awe. The immediate gratification. The transformation. We get it — it's super satisfying.
But for most people, it's also super unrealistic. Big reveals take big budgets, and for some building a dream home isn't an overnight process. It takes time, intentionality, and patience.
If you want to update your home, but an immediate and full-scale overhaul is overwhelming or out-of-reach, fear not. You aren't alone. Here are our 5 key steps to designing your home over time.
1. Understand the full scope.
First thing is to understand the full scope of your project. What do you want to tackle? Create a comprehensive list of spaces and updates. Understanding the breadth of your project will help you create a schedule and budget for accomplishing your full vision.
Once you know what you want to address, order your spaces in priority of what will have the most impact on your day-to-day living experience.
There are some areas of the home that get more exposure. Typically this is your living space, bedroom, and kitchen. But in the work-from-home season, it could easily spill over to function-specific areas like an office or playroom.
Addressing the spaces first that you spend the most time in will have the most impact on how you experience your home.
One you know your space priorities, prioritize the other key element: your budget. What you invest in first might not also be where you want to invest most, so understand where you want to go big on quality vs. where you can supplement with more budget-friendly solutions. Home design is about tiering your investments and this is much easier to do on the front-end before you've made any splurges. Once part of your budget is spent, your options become more limited.
3. Commit to finishing a space before progressing to another.
This is a big one. Most of us have short attention spans. We jump from project to project without tying one off prior. This keeps us busy and it feels like we're progressing, but ultimately it isn't very satisfying because everything around us is constantly at 80%.
Once you've prioritized your spaces, commit to finishing all the updates in a given room before moving onto the next. By seeing it through, you'll be able to experience the progress in a much more meaningful way.
4. Be thoughtful and intentional with your acquisitions.
Once you have your wishlist of products to source, don't be trigger happy. It's easy to make reactionary purchases and buy the first thing that feels like it could work. But the decisions we make in haste are often the decisions that are regretted first. Take time to find a piece you love and (super important here -->) measure the space and product to ensure it fits.
5. Set expectations with yourself on timing.
In the era of Amazon same-day shipping, our expectations have resized to the point where we believe everything should be immediate. But once upon a time, there was a thing called craftsmanship. Quality work and design takes time. Set expectations with yourself before you start for how long your full project will actually take. Then, place milestones along the path that allow you small victories.
Our biggest disappointments in life tend to come when we miss the mark. So instead of being unrealistic and impatient, be practical and poised.
Like in most cases, slow and steady wins this race.