Moving into a new home offers a creative carte blanche and an opportunity to start from scratch to redefine your living space. With my recent move, words could not be more true. I’m dreaming up my domestic utopia and slowly watching these dreams become realized with the help of my super handy father, contractors, and a myriad of design and decorating websites.
If you’ve been through renovations before, then you understand that every single decision feels like a major, life-changing one! I’ve been reading up on every minuscule detail of my designs and can now sympathize with the difficulties that come along with things like choosing white paint or how many drawers should go into a built-in closet. I thought I’d share some of these websites that have helped me so much.
Houzz has been the perfect starting point for each project I undertake. The website is a depository of thousands of pictures related to anything you can dream up around your home. From entire rooms to kitchen cabinets to door mats, there will be thousands of searchable pictures to provide you with design inspiration. I ended up buying a grey leather couch and have been looking at pictures of different coloured rugs to see which I like best to match. Browse by room, item and style and say goodbye to hours at a time!
You can also create ideabooks (I prefer Pinterest for this) and get contractor information (for which I’ve used HomeStar), so there is plenty of functionality on this home design platform.
Once you get an idea of what you like style-wise, I’d make the jump to Apartment Therapy. Like Houzz, Apartment Therapy is a great website with a ton of pictures, but what stands Apartment Therapy apart is the advice it gives you for each design dilemma you may have. On a budget? There’s a post on cheap DIY projects. Have a small kitchen? Apartment Therapy will show you how to maximize space. Have a yellow couch you love? Let them show you how to best decorate around your statement piece. You get the idea.
HomeStars is the Yelp for home improvement in North America and it’s amazing. We all know that hiring contractors and tradespeople can be overwhelming and that it’s always best to hire someone by referral. But sometimes, you just don’t know anyone who has had to recently fix their [insert random appliance here]. Search within your city for the work you need done and get a list of companies and people, along with the community-driven reviews of their work and the estimated price of the job. When I was looking to hire movers and painters, HomeStars was a huge help by giving me a ballpark cost of what would be reasonable for the size of my home and made me feel more confident when I was bargaining prices.
For those of you not already familiar with Pinterest, it is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows you to create and manage image collections by whatever theme you please (by interest, event, colour, room, meal, destination – you name it!). Clicking on pictures within the board then links to the original source webpage.
Both Kelly and I are pretty active on Pinterest and a quick look at our accounts is often a glimpse at our current preoccupations (right now, hers: wedding dresses, mine: kitchen islands). I found the board of pictures particularly handy for organizing all of the random furniture and designs I had found on the internet and then sharing ideas with contractors to show my style and preferences during our meetings.
I take the same approach to decorating as I do to fashion: there are some things it’s nice to spend money on if it means better quality (like a blazer or a mattress!), but some things just don’t need to be fancy (trendy accessories or your coffee table). IKEA Hackers is a website devoted to taking popular (and pretty cheap) IKEA items and refurbishing them to make them different or serve an entirely different purpose.
Anything I’m missing? I’ve still got plenty of decorating to do in my new place, so bring on your ideas!