I get that question a lot. At what point can you do it on your own, and when do you need a professional? There are a couple factors that go into any decision, and often times it’s the bank account choosing for you before you can even consider it. Obviously, designers don’t work for free. I get it, I truly do. But before you make the final decision, consider my few points of why investing in a designer is a valuable decision… even for your bank account.
1. The Value in a Positive Experience
A real estate website recently polled homeowners who completed new homes in the last couple years. They found that 88% of homeowners wished they had made different decisions and 59% of people felt stressed and anxious during the construction process. Source I am sure it comes as no surprise that construction and moving can be one of the most stressful times in our lives outside of marriage, health, and financial turmoil. It is a messy, long, and expensive process filled with sleepless nights, second guessing, and a laundry list of decisions that you have to make.
But what if we could wave a magic wand and get both an amazing design and keep your sanity?
A good designer is the expert in your back pocket that will take the majority of weight off your shoulders. Using their knowledge and experience, they will guide you to make the best choices for your home and will help you know what to expect during each phase. Imagine sitting back and having someone take your thoughts and interpret them into your dream home. All you have to do is say, “yes, I like that,” or “no, show me something else.” A good designer will take what can be a really frustrating, scary process and make it a clear, enjoyable experience.
2. The Value in Good Design
Have you ever walked into an awkward space and thought,
“what was this person thinking?”
I am going to let you in on a secret, sometimes they aren’t. Not everything built is actually well thought out. I have seen countless times (even in new construction) where a living room can’t fit normal sized furniture, a kitchen doesn’t have enough drawers, and a window was not centered on the wall. Those seem like obvious things, right? When it comes to construction, getting it built sometimes takes precedence over considering how people will want to use the space when it’s complete.
From floor plan to finishes, color scheme to lighting, and even furniture to décor, your lifestyle and values affect everything. That type of customization and consideration has incredible value. Don't waste your money on a design not well thought out.
3. The Value in Confident Details
The devil is in the details. No truer statement than when dealing with construction. There are so many details to consider and your contractor will expect you to make them on the spot. But did you know that if you make one choice now it can affect your options down the road, such as where you can place stone on the exterior or where you can add lighting? The last thing you want is to make a flippant choice now, because you are tired from decision fatigue, and find out later that you painted yourself into a corner.
Hire a designer to help you sift through those decisions early on. At Sonia Barney Design we specialize in creating design books after we have gone through the whole design process so that you have all your decisions organized at your fingertips. Then when your contractor asks if you want this or that, you can refer to the book and give him confident answers.
Bank Account Bonus!!!
Hopefully you can see that a designer will add incredible value to the experience and the end result of your project. But we still can’t get away from the fact that designers cost money, and not just a couple bucks either. So let me list the ways that a good designer can help your project’s financial success.
Spring is in the air…well almost. While we wait for the snow to melt, what better time to update your space to herald a season of renewal and growth. The SBD Spark Blog was created to provide you the tools to add design, style, and functional upgrades to your space on your own. With that in mind we are excited to introduce seasonal Shop the Look posts with specific key features:
- Style Focus each season on one of our favorite styles with historical tidbits and identifying elements
- Room Focus each season with a list of “ingredients” for a successful space
- 2 Complete Looks to use as inspiration for your home
- Shoppable Links to quality furniture and accessories you could buy today to add to your space - these are not items you will find at the store down the street
The Style: French Chinoiserie
We have seen a huge resurgence of appreciation for historical styles from many popular designers on tv and online. We are sure you have noticed designers looking back in time for inspiration but then blending it into today with more modern, clean lines.
We also love historical design at Sonia Barney Design. Today, we are taking inspiration from 17th and 18th Century French style and how it included influences from cultures all around the world. Thanks to expanded trade routes at the time, the bourgeoisie loved combining the indulgent Baroque and Rococo styles with elements inspired by East Asian art and design. These elements were often described as Chinoiserie, or “in the Chinese style”.
You can identify French Chinoiserie through the use of:
- Blue-and-white motifs commonly found on Chinese porcelain
- Extensive gilding
- Chinese patterns and figures in furniture, art, and surface painting
- Extravagant scenery and floral designs in wallpaper and fabrics
For more examples and design inspiration, take a look at these articles by Hadley Keller and Elizabeth Stamp.
As per our designer prerogative, we choose to be inspired by French Chinoiserie but still add our modern flair. Scroll to the bottom to see our modern interpretation which is perfect for a springtime refresh.
The Space: The Entry
The entry to a house is one of the most overlooked spaces, yet is one of the most commonly used. Not only do you pass through it everyday taking off your workday woes, this space is an introduction to your home. What first impressions does your entry give to your guests? Is it cluttered or organized? Does it showcase your values? By following the recipe below, you can personalize your entry and make it not only stand as a hallmark of your family, it can make entering and exiting more pleasurable.
So what elements do we need in an entry? Let’s break it down. Your entry needs the following ingredients:
- Hero Piece
- Concept Inspiration
- Light and Reflection
- Functional Support
Let's Build Your Chinoiserie Inspired Entry
At SBD, we believe every space has a main role, and the furniture piece most closely tied to that role is the “Hero”. In a bedroom, it's the bed. In the dining room, it’s the dining table. In the entry, it's the console table. The console table grounds the function of this space, providing a location to deposit keys, take off your shoes, and breathe a sigh of relief saying “I’m home.” Here are 2 possible console tables. If you tend to have a lot of clutter in your entry, we suggest a console with drawers.
Next, choose a concept inspiration piece that you love. It can be a light fixture, piece of art, or even a wall finish. Just choose something that inspires the vibe and identifies the color scheme. Obviously we wanted to display the Chinoiserie style, so we found a couple pieces that showcase those iconic organic patterns in a fun spring color palette.
Light and Reflection
Entries are notorious for being smaller than we wish. This is where well trained designer pulls out their secret weapons: light and reflection. Don't just rely on one light source in your entry. Adding lamps plus a beautiful pendant will make the room feel brighter and more welcoming. And we all know how mirrors can double a space. But really any reflective surface can help with that illusion. If you don't have a mirror, add shine and sparkle somewhere. Bonus: mirrors are perfect for final touch ups as you leave the house. What a great double duty piece!
Now it's time to determine the secondary functions you want your entry to provide. Do you sit and take off your shoes? Do you need a place to store dog leashes and extra shoes? Knowing how you want to use the space will help you select between extra seating in the form of small ottomans or stools, or if you need extra storage to eliminate clutter.
An entry isn't complete without an entry mat or rug runner. It is necessary to help keep the outdoors from spreading through the rest of the house. Look for durable rugs that are easy to clean or shake out. To coordinate with our style, we suggest sisal, lattice, or floral pattern rugs. And when it comes to sizing - don't be afraid to go large. Postage stamp sized rugs are a thing of the past. Leave around 12"-24" of space between the walls and rug.
Last but not least, let's add the final touches. Whatever you call it—accessorizing, decorating or styling— it's all about adding the right personality to complete the look. Fill your entry vignette with the right items that showcase your family, interests, collections, travels, etc. They can even double duty as extra storage.
This is your home. Make it yours.
The Final Look
Chinoiserie Inspired Entry #1
Shop This Look:
1. Console Table
6. Gold Magnolia
7. Book: Maximalism by Sig Bergamin
8. Book: Redoute. The Book of Flowers
9. Book: Audrey Hepburn by Bob Willoughby
Chinoiserie Inspired Entry #2
What's Hot and
It's a couple weeks into the new year and I’m already seeing a rejuvenation in design. No longer are we keeping things calm, and quite frankly, boring, in response to the dreaded 2020. Life is being infused back into our homes with full abandon. Take for example Pantone's Color of the Year, Viva Magenta.
Below is a list of trends I see on the way out, and the ones I see replacing them. But always remember, if you love it, it doesn’t matter what other people think (including me)! However, if your home feels dated and you’re looking to make some changes, these ideas will steer you in the right direction.
Spark your creativity and implement ideas with our SBD Studio Blog - The Spark. This is where we share with you our take on upcoming trends, favorite things, and even give you seasonal shoppable looks.* We can't wait to see how you incorporate these amazing ideas into your home. And please share your pics with us on Instagram @soniabarneydesign.
*Note that we do provide affiliate and sponsored links from which we can make extra money. Income we earn from your purchases will never increase the cost to you, but does support our caffeine addictions! Remember, a well caffeinated designer is a happy designer who in turn loves to give you more helpful tips and tricks.