How to Start the Design Process: Programming 101

Here are the first steps to designing a space you love and that suits your needs:

1. What Am I Naturally Drawn To?

Take the time to research and really understand what kind of spaces you’re drawn to. Don’t worry about correctly defining whether it’s "modern" or "contemporary", just gather a collage of images you know you like. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many clients initially come to us with only words to try to describe what they’d like us to create for them. This should be an easy place to start getting your feet wet. (If it isn’t, then send us a message, you need us!)

2. What Are My Current Obstacles?

Next will be a bit trickier, but so crucial and worth it for the end product. Sit down and write a detailed list of likes and dislikes, and any functional obstacles you currently experience in your existing space. Specificity is key.

For example:

Likes: geometric patterns, textures, clean open display storage
Dislikes: orange, clutter, bar-height seating
Obstacles: not enough storage for personal items, lack of seating options when entertaining

This step in the design process is what we like to call "programming" and, it is the most important part of the process. This is where you determine the issues that need to be solved. You may not even recognize them as obstacles at first, but that cramped eating space that you just sort of deal with and have become so used to you barely even think about it, yeah that’s what we call an obstacle. What good is a brand new designed home if you end up with that same awkward eating space and lack of storage?

3. What Do I Want to Keep?

Figure out the pieces you already have that you really love and want to repurpose or integrate. You’d be surprised how awesome grandma’s armchair can look when paired with a modern patterned accent pillow to completely juxtapose it. The key here is don’t plan to keep anything unless it truly brings you joy.

4. How Do I Keep All of This Organized?

Get a binder and have copies of steps 1-3 all in one place. This will become your bible, your lifeline. We tend to believe that the more notes we take about a client, the better. This also rings true when designing for yourself, and the only way to make use of all this information is to make sure it’s accessible to you when you need it. The design process can be stressful enough without having to frantically search for that one picture you know you had of the perfect dining table.
Create a Pinterest board. This can be your digital bible, which can sometimes be more useful than a hardcopy these days. The thing that is great about Pinterest when you’re working on large project is that you can pin items you’re considering purchasing and that will keep a log of all the links so you don’t have to remember where that random chandelier you love was from.
And, you're off to the races! Get to designing. You’re ready to go. Trust your gut, have fun with it, and don’t take it too seriously. You may even surprise yourself. If you don’t have a design-inclined bone in your body, then trust the binder you’ve assembled, or give us a shout. We'd love to help you create a space that makes you feel inspired every day.

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