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I'm Erika Ward

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation.  My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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floor-plan-sketch-via-she-KnowsImage courtesy: Courtney Lake Interiors

If you have found this article, you are probably sick and tired of running around in circles in an attempt to complete a decorating project in your home. Generally, if you aren’t born with that “designer gene,” then you will likely have to slow down a minute and do some careful planning.

There is a reason why you are struggling and it’s not all your fault.

Variables like product availability, contractor availability, and unforeseen conditions can derail the most thought out plans. You essentially have to plan for the expected and the unexpected. Whew!

I know you are anxious to finish, but taking this first step will save you precious time, money, and possible burnout. This is an enjoyable process and can be the catalyst that jump starts all other projects.

INTERVIEW YOUR ROOM – Examining each room at a time, write down your goals for the space. Are you creating a family room for a family of six? Aside from upholstered furnishings, can you include floor pillows for younger children? Do you mostly watch movies in this area? What is required to make this room both functional and stylish?

SPACE PLANNING – Measure your space. Mark door ways, windows, and electrical outlets. This is essential when deciding which furniture pieces will best fit your space. Here are a few questions you may ask yourself: Is a sectional the best piece of furniture for the room? Does it impede traffic flow in and out of the room?

GATHER INSPIRATION – Use sites like Pinterest to sort your ideas and inspiration into folders. These images can be printed for your decorating file, accessed on your computer, or viewed on your smartphone. It’s so convenient to refer back to these images when you are out shopping. Gotta stay focused!


MAKE A LIST, CHECK IT TWICE – Make a list of items needed to complete the space. First “shop your house” for needed items before making a new purchase. Next, make a list of items to keep, donate, or sell. Anything you can sell in during this process is money that be put back into your decorating project. The stuff you decide to donate, get rid of it immediately to make room for the new. I often donate to the American Kidney Foundation. They make rounds to my neighborhood almost every Thursday. Contact the branch in your local area for pick up days.

MEASURE AGAIN – For the items you decide to keep, take measurements and store them in a place where you can access them while shopping in store or online. There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing whether or not a new piece can fit with existing pieces. If you have your measurements on hand, a purchase can be made there on the spot. This is especially helpful when you find closeout deals or a negotiating a deal on the spot.

REVIEW YOUR BUDGET – I usually review the budget first with clients so I can direct them to selections that are be suited for their level of investment. But when you are decorating on your own, I suggest you consider reviewing your budget a bit later in the process. Sometimes limited funds can put a damper on your decor dreams, but I challenge your to turn it around and use it to fuel your creativity. Focus your mind on finding affordable solutions to your decorating problems. Take a hard look at your your true needs versus wants. Needs first, wants later.

GO SHOPPING –  This is the fun part! This is where you find that your planning efforts were worth taking the extra time. Be thoughtful about your purchase and buy only what you love. This is your home, your life, not a race to the finish! Enjoy the process.



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Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation. My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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