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Lifestyle Designs

Cheryl Wright Dreams Alive Magazine
Lifestyle Designs

Planning For A Comfortable Home

A home that is well designed provides a safe haven from the world outside its doors. It offers adequate spaces for all those home-related activities and an environment that says, "Welcome" to visitors. A home that provides these necessities is the ideal background for a life that is practical as well as comfortable. After all, while almost everything else in life changes, one thing remains and that is the need for comfort in a home that expresses who we truly are.

Whether you are renovating or decorating this year, it could take a major commitment of time and money. Though it can be quite a burden, it has the potential to be a very rewarding experience.

A comfortable home recharges the physical and emotional batteries and the body demands restoration and relaxation. These are essential to repair muscles, take the burden off stressed joints and give gray cells a chance to unwind. Eating, bathing, reading, watching television, knitting, all these are legitimately reconstructive activities that call for beds, bathtubs, chairs and lamps that will provide lasting comfort to body and soul. Sometimes we can only get a glimpse of the measure of contentment that a slight improvement might bring, but a change in the quality of life can definitely turn lives around.

What are the secrets to a successful remodeling or decorating project?... Knowing exactly what you want; Careful research; Meticulous planning and Wise decision-making.

It is not a walk in the park, but the process of dreaming, designing, planning and execution can be quite easily managed in a logical manner. Knowing the process in every detail is vital. From the first day you ought to know exactly what will be taking place.

If your renovation involves major structural changes, then you should hire an architect because you may require blueprints that are approved by the relevant authorities.

If you have difficulty reading blueprints your designer can walk you through them. Visualizing a two-dimensional graphic as a three-dimensional space may require a leap of the imagination. Furniture, drawn to scale on the plan will go a long way to convey how much room you will have. As you review your plans, consider the general dimensions to see if the space is adequate for its intended purpose.

Without devoting too much time to passageways, does it allow easy circulation, both within the room and into the adjoining areas? Windows should be placed on more than one wall to ensure adequate natural light and doorways should be near corners to allow enough wall space for furniture. Make sure entrances, appliances and cabinet doors have enough clearance and do not block traffic or swing into each other.

Design entails anything from the exterior façade of the house to the colour of the stain for the woodwork, from the style of windows to be installed, to the selection of lampshades.

Watching your bank account shrink can cause some grief but remember what you are trying to achieve and the benefits to be derived from this investment. Once you have determined a budget, put aside an additional 10 - 15 percent of the total to take care of any unforeseen surprises, which almost always occur during any remodeling or decorating project. Most important is your commitment to the budgeted figure as the maximum you are prepared to spend. If you begin without a fixed maximum budget you may soon be saying farewell to your personal savings.

It is important to make a list, check it twice, prioritize, and get estimates. All too often homeowners renovate without giving too much thought to what will fill their new and improved spaces. Budgeting for furniture, appliances, curtains, and accessories is crucial and they should be included on that all-important list.

There are some jobs that should be completed before others. For example: the rewiring should be done before the ceiling is installed, and the ceiling should be repaired before the floor is tiled or carpeted.

Take your time during the planning and decision-making stages. You want to manage your project, not have it manage you. Rushing headlong into a renovation or decorating project without making important design decisions is an invitation to a less-than-successful job.

Manage your project well, and who knows, soon your neighbors may be calling on you to manage theirs.

Cheryl Wright is an Interior Design Consultant and Freelance Writer, who has been writing decorating articles for a monthly magazine since 1997. She is currently working on the manuscript of her first book Lifestyle Interiors.