If you’ve moved recently—or maybe you aren’t moving anytime soon, but your space desperately needs a facelift—you know how daunting it can be to tackle a redesign. After watching him flawlessly execute an epic overhaul of the fourth floor of RZ HQ, we asked interiors guru Jeremiah Brent for his advice on how to take on a home project without getting overwhelmed. Here, the five mistakes he thinks we all make during this endeavor, plus his tips on how to correct them.
"Trust me, I get it. It's really easy to have expensive taste when you're three hours deep into a Pinterest-binge, but when it comes to your own decor, it's important to keep a realistic budget in mind. Consider the pieces that could stand to have a little extra money thrown at them—a great vintage bar cart or a stunning marble coffee table. Then find beautiful, non-bank-breaking furniture and items to fill in. Your design, and your spending, should be a healthy combination of high and low."
"The most common mistake I see people make when they take on a decor project is losing sight of the end goal for their home. First and foremost, when I sit down with a client, I ask, "How do you want to feel when you're in this room?" Just as important as the function of the space is the feeling it invokes. If you imagine the emotion you want to experience every time you enter the room, and if you carry that clear vision through the project, you'll undoubtedly have success."
"You wouldn't go grocery shopping before a fancy home-cooked dinner without a recipe or a shopping list, so why would you do that when tackling your home decor? Sure, if you're traveling abroad or out on an impromptu adventure to the flea market with friends and you happen to see the perfect lamp, pick it up! Just make sure you aren't doing all your shopping piecemeal or without a firm plan in mind, or you'll wind up with a hodgepodge of items that look cool on their own but completely clash (or worse yet, compete) when put together."
"I see it again and again—someone puts time, money and energy into designing a gorgeous room and completely ignores the lighting. Any interior designer will tell you: Lighting will make or break a room. Swapping out the stock fluorescent flush-mounted fixture in your living room or dining room for a great pendant with a halogen bulb will immediately elevate your space. And if you can't mess with the hard-wired electrical? Table lamps and plug-in wall sconces will be your best friend—they'll change the atmosphere and emotion of the room with just the twist of a switch—no risk of electrocution involved."
"Listen (you heard it here first!), designing a space can get stressful. Between figuring out how (and how much) to budget and trying to find the perfect area rug, it's easy to get overwhelmed and think about throwing in the towel. I get that feeling sometimes, and I'm a seasoned professional. The best thing you can do to avoid it from the outset is to plan in a few bite-size chunks. Maybe you focus on the big pieces (sofas and chairs) first, then tackle area rugs and accent tables second, finishing up with lighting and accessories. And if you do get overwhelmed, just take a few days, revisit your original Pinterest inspiration board and remind yourself how amazing it'll all feel when it's done, and how your new space will change your day-to-day life infinitely for the better."