Home renovation in four steps - step three

Home renovation in four steps: step three

I bake cakes for my family reunions. Every time, I bake this stupid, simple, four layers cake, which is basically pavlova with store-bought vanilla frosting, „homemade forest fruit jam“ (that contains nothing but few cups of frozen forest fruit and two tablespoons sugar), topped with whipped cream. And every year I bake „the ultimate chocolate cake“ or „the world’s best birthday cake“ or „the devil’s food cake“ or „the perfect Christmas log“. But no one cares. Everyone just wants the first one. If I’m lucky, there’s someone allergic to strawberries or someone who simply doesn’t believe in desserts without chocolate – who eats a piece of the other one. And the sad part is, this semi-store-bought-fake-pavlova is also my favorite.

Why do we do this? If we have an option that works every time, or we saw an option that could work, why do we stubbornly try to invent something new?

Just like cooking, interior design is not about making stuff up. It is about knowing the rules, finding inspiration, and then creatively implementing those rules, other people’s smart solutions you find inspiring, and your own ideas – into a new, original design.

In Step three of the Four steps to a home renovation, we will show you how to get inspired by amazing interiors to make sure you’re going to love the final result of your apartment remodel.

Finding inspiration

There are two levels of interior design, which means two levels of inspiration.

The first level is basically finding the right way to solve a problem. Like how to organize a room with kitchen and dining area. Or how to place night stands in a very, very small bedroom. Or how to organize an extremely narrow pantry.

Home renovation in four steps - step three: MIEL Arquitectos - Piso Pere IV
MIEL Arquitectos Piso Pere IV // photo: © Asier Rua
Home renovation in four steps - step three: NimTim architects – Westbourne Gardens
NimTim architects – Westbourne Gardens // photo: © Megan Taylor

When dealing with a complex situation, it is a good idea to find out how other people handled it. Really, why wasting time on inventing something (that always already exists), when we can learn from others?

To find inspiration doesn’t mean to copy someone’s design. After all, so very rarely you’ll find yourself dealing with a space so similar, that doing something in exactly the same way as you see in the picture, is even possible. The idea is to learn from a good project, to figure out its logic. The logic, the way a problem is solved – is something you should “copy”.

Now, we all love to look at photographs and projects we like. We love to look at photographs of interiors we’d like to live in. But when searching for a way to solve the issues – those you had detected through your SWOT analysis, and then prioritized as tasks that will result in biggest improvements – don’t just search for designs you like, but also for those that could work.

Home renovation in four steps - step three: studio PAN – Live-work in the heart of Paris
studio PAN – Live-work in the heart of Paris // photo: © Mariela Apollonio

Maybe you’ll save only projects you like plus which logic you could use in your design – and end up with few very useful images or drawings. Or maybe you’ll save projects you like and find inspiring, even though you can’t really apply what you learned from them, but also save projects of interiors that are not quite your style, but are filled with solutions that could be helpful – and end up with oh so many good examples. Both approaches are perfectly fine.

Just solving the problems that cause your frustrations can be enough. But that doesn’t count as interior design in the true sense of the word. Even if you solved them beautifully.

To take your remodel to the next level, you have to think about the ambiance you want to create. Going through images you save, you’ll probably see a pattern – chances are, intuitively or on purpose, you’ll save photographs of interiors that have something in common. Usually, that “something” is the ambiance – the mood.

Home renovation in four steps - step three: Maayan Zusman & Amir Navon - Airy and Open apartment, Tel Aviv
Maayan Zusman & Amir Navon + mentored design graduate Eilat Dar – Airy and Open apartment, Tel Aviv // photo: © 181 Architecture photography
Home renovation in four steps - step three: Lim+Lu – Happy Valley Residence, Hong Kong
Lim+LuHappy Valley Residence, Hong Kong // photo: © Nirut Benjabanpot *featured photo

At this point, you might change your previously set priorities. Maybe you realize daylight is much more important than you thought, or decide you really want new flooring. That’s fine because none of these steps are really finished until the remodel is finished (and maybe not even then, since you can always choose to start a second phase of the remodel). Still, it is important to set those priorities before all those amazing interiors seduce you. It’s good to do a reality check every once in a while.

Everything affects the ambiance. If you think about it, all these interiors we featured in this post, and basically all the interiors we analyze on this blog, seem peaceful – no matter the style. That’s because everything’s in order. Everything is under control. Simple, bright and clean. That’s what we like.

Home renovation in four steps - step three: Studio Razavi - House for photographer
Studio Razavi – House for Photographer // photo: © Olivier Martin Gambier

As you can see, there are so many ways to achieve that. And so many things to decide on. Daylight, flooring, interior lighting, furniture style (but also furniture layout), colors, materials (and their combinations), patterns, textures, details, decorations…

And it’s hard, even for professionals, to design the interior to its last detail. Even if it sometimes means to deliberately leave something “as is”. It is hard to think about so many elements and to combine them perfectly.

Learning from others is the only possible way to design an interior. Searching for inspiration.

No, interior design is not about making stuff up. And you know what? Home interior design, where you’re dealing with people’s (or your own) hard earned money and very limited free time, is not a place to experiment, either.

You have to make sure everything will be perfect. You have to convince yourself, just like we have to convince our clients, that it’ll be worth it.

In our opinion, Pinterest is the easiest way to do this. If you’re not familiar with it, Pinterest is a visually-oriented search engine where you can find, and save, every project ever photographed. It is a useful tool for saving everything interesting you find on the internet (or upload from your computer, for that matter). There’s this great extension called “the Pinterest browsing button” you can install and use to save images you like, on your Pinterest boards.

However, we don’t search through Pinterest to find our inspiration. We use Pinterest to organize all the amazing designs we stumble upon on websites like Divisare (our absolute favorite) or on websites from our favorite architects, designers, stylists and bloggers. We also use it to organize everything we believe you might like, because, you know, we did dedicate this entire blog to you. Have you ever glanced at our Pinterest profile? It is filled with the most amazing designs.

So go. Get inspired. Learn. And create wonderful boards + tag @upgradesign in a few photos. We’d love to see your dream interior.

Also, you can sign up for our newsletter, to make sure you won’t miss the final of the Four steps to a home renovation. Where some serious designing is about to happen.

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