How to Avoid Design Decision Overwhelm

How to Avoid Design Decision Overwhelm

The Pandora’s Box of Design Choices.

Today homeowners have access to so many different design elements, from design television shows, design apps, and internet access to design resources all over the world. Homeowners often start out their design and renovation projects very confident that they can design their space themselves since the have so many design and shopping resources.

The Pandora’s Box of Design Choices.

Shopping, Shopping and more Shopping!

Homeowners immediately start their project by shopping, shopping, and more shopping sometimes purchasing items randomly that may or may not work for their home, but in many cases the endless options and even the most resourceful homeowners end up falling into a rabbit hole of design shopping, endlessly scrolling and changing directions based on products and resources they are finding on their random shopping searches. Then upon reaching a state of complete overwhelm homeowners either pause their project before it begins, continue to randomly search products sometimes for years or confidently make random purchases and find a way to make all of these items work in their space never really realizing how great a well designed could really have been.

With endless quick and easy design solutions available it is easy to see how homeowners are lead to believe that this is the best way to design a space and get professional results.

Have a well thought out plan.

Have a well thought out plan.

However, professional design is not that quick and easy, it involves thorough planning, and much more thought than shopping. A professional designer uses their experience to develop a well thought out plan, many hours of planning are done before the shopping phase.

Once a professional design plan is created, a designer knows exactly what items are needed, the look or feel of the space and where to quickly and easily source these items. Sourcing is done from a combination of readily available resources but also ”trade only ” resources knowing which manufacture has the best products for the particular design plan.

Even if you are not working with a designer having a well thought out plan before any searching or shopping is the best way to avoid design decision overwhelm and stay on task looking only at items needed for your project

Until next time,



From The Blog

Featured Project- Half Bath

Featured Project- Half Bath

The half bath is often a room that is overlooked . Especially when it comes to thoughts of design and renovation. That small first floor half bath doesn’t allow you to create a beautifully layered feel that we can create in a larger bath, with more space. Or does it?

I believe that a half bath is a great opportunity to create a little oasis in your home. This is a place that you can use unique and specialty finishes that you might not want to use in a bathroom that gets heavy use, like the master bath. Textured wallpaper, gleaming fixtures, specialty lighting. These are a few elements that I might use to design something unique that blends well with the rest of the home, but also gives my client a feeling of walking into a luxurious highly customized space.

After A Successful Kitchen Renovation

No more boring half bath!

On one of my latest projects, my clients were working with me on the planning of a large kitchen design and renovation project when they decided to include their small half bath into the renovation as well. I designed a bathroom that complemented the new design that we were doing in the adjacent kitchen. No boring half bath for this home. My homeowners loved the original drawings and design for this space, so we proceeded with creating something that I know will bring joy to my clients for many years to come.

Featured Project- Half Bath - "after"

and “After”

The “after” photo shows our finished project which includes porcelain tile flooring, a custom vanity, vessel sink, wall-mounted faucet, and beautiful granite countertops. Chrome lighting fixtures with porcelain shades and a recessed accent light which directly aims at the center of the sink. Shades of gray give this bathroom a cool contemporary edge which was perfect for my client’s style, but still blended well with the traditional architecture of this beautiful home!

Until Next Time,


From The Blog

What To Do If You Make A Big Design Mistake

What To Do If You Make A Big Design Mistake

Mistakes happen, especially when you are trying something new in an area that you are not particularly experienced in. I remember when my son was about 10, I thought that I could give him a buzzed haircut, it looked easy enough, I gathered my supplies, turned on the buzz clippers which I had never used before and didn’t put on the small plastic guard which determined how short the hair would be buzzed. So right down the side of his head was a bare stripe with no hair at all. No easy fix to this error, but luckily my son, having a creative gene, just went with it.

This is sometimes what it is like when homeowners tackle their design projects.

What To Do If You Make A Big Design Mistake

It happens.

Many years ago I had a client call me with a design emergency. She was convinced that she made a huge error in selecting the brand new wall to wall carpeting which was just installed in her home.

I arranged a site meeting with her to see just how bad the situation was, prepared with some initial thoughts and ideas.

Low and behold this was, in fact, a very severe design error, room after room of the bright green wall to wall carpeting overpowering everything else in the home. The homeowner turned to me and said, “the samples were very small and I just chose the prettiest one”. It was heartbreaking. Just for the record, this was, in fact, the worst way to choose carpeting. So many other factors must be considered when considering the selection of carpeting which will cover such a large area of the home. Everything must work well together. What else is going in the room? What is the color scheme, does the room have a focal point?

The plan

The plan.

So I came up with numerous ideas for her to camouflage this carpeting and re-direct the eye elsewhere. She also asked me about other selections that might have worked better. I showed her some options. In the end, this homeowner decided to replace all of the brand new carpeting for one of the options that I recommended to her. A very expensive option but this was the right choice. This client was thrilled with the results and hired me to complete the rest of the home.

But what do you do when you can’t backtrack and redo a very expensive design error?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Assess whether or not the selection will work with everything else in the space. Don’t judge the element by itself.
  • Camouflage the design mistake, draw the eye away from the design element.
  • Make design selections that complement the design error so that it doesn’t stand out.
  • Or of course, correct the design error. In the case of carpeting, that would involve new carpeting. But if the design error is carpentry related, perhaps something can be added to the design element to make it look right.
  • Don’t panic, call an interior designer to advise you on the best way to proceed based on what you have to work with.

From The Blog

Designing Your Home To Reflect YOUR Personality

Designing Your Home To Reflect YOUR Personality

Your home, it’s the place where your life happens.

The good times, the bad times, the family gatherings, quiet times, celebrations with family and friends. Rest, relaxation, and sometimes healing.

This is where it all happens.

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Renew. Rejuvenate. Restore.

Your home can be a place that rejuvenates you and restores your energy, welcomes you with open arms at the end of a long day or a place that drains you and causes you anxiety.

It’s natural for homeowners to feel some anxiety when tackling the design of a home whether it be a new home or renovation. There are hundreds of design options and materials to choose from. Design ideas are everywhere and the average person has no idea what to include in their new space. We are made to feel like if our home doesn’t look like the latest design trend, that somehow we have missed the mark.

The bottom line is that it is your space and you should be reflected in it! Your home should reflect your personality.

What does this mean? It means that your home should have and contain things that you like whether that be color selections material selections, patterns, items that you’ve collected over the years or new items that you just love.

In your home, there should always be a place for something that you love (like a unique furniture piece), a decorative detail that you have always wanted (like a modern piece of art that you love, or even a cherished heirloom).

These are the things that give our home personality, and great design can only be achieved by using the right combination of these things woven thoughtfully into a great design plan.

Add rich color.

Get Inspired.

Don’t settle for generic design.

Get inspired by the latest trends.

Incorporate some of those design elements and trends if you really love them and they work for your home.

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Often people are afraid to do something a little bit different, like adding a personal spin to the design of your space.

Experiment with elements that you know you will love and will have longevity.

We have so much inspiration around us. It can be tricky you don’t know which ideas to use, what ideas work well together. You have so many ideas! How do you be sure that you will really like all of this when it is all put together?

Working with a designer is a great way to achieve the right balance between creating an updated space and a space that truly reflects your personality, lifestyle, and honors the architecture of your home.

The average homeowner can identify things that they like or would love to include in their space, but it takes experience and a thorough knowledge of design principles like scale, balance, composition, space planning and material knowledge to pull all of this together combined with elements that suit your personality.

A good designer will ask the right questions and listen to your thoughts and ideas can help you to be sure that your personality is reflected in your newly designed space.

It won’t take long for an experienced designer to be able to key in on some elements that can be brought into your space that truly makes the space yours.

A beautiful design is not a great design if it doesn’t feel good to the person that lives in the space.

Until Next Time,


From The Blog

Are You Hesitant To Hire An Interior Designer?

Are You Hesitant To Hire An Interior Designer?

If you’ve never hired an interior designer for a design project, you might not know what to expect. How does the process work? Will your thoughts, ideas and tastes be considered? Will the designer just do what THEY like? Do You have to know what style or design elements that you would like so you can tell the designer? These are all common questions that a first time client might have.
Are You Hesitant To Hire An Interior Designer?

There is a difference.

First, there is a difference between someone who is good at interior design and someone who has experience working in the business of interior design. A designer who has been in the business of interior design for any length of time will be used to working directly with clients. Successful interior designers know how to listen to their client’s thoughts, ideas, and problems, and then use their skills to turn their client’s design problem areas into a transformed space which the client loves but also sees themselves living. A professional designer should be creating a space that YOU love.

Trust the experience

Trust the Experience.

Most clients that come to us do not know exactly what they would like to do. For instance, you might know that you would like to do a bathroom renovation, you might have a few ideas of design elements that you’ve seen and like, but you have no idea how to pull it all together. Or if any of these ideas would really work or look good in your space. Some clients have no idea about really what they would like to see in there space or they can’t really articulate how they want the finished space to look and function.

An experienced interior designer has processes in place that walk you through the design and decision making process easily. Asking questions and learning about your tastes and lifestyle help us to design spaces that are right for each individual client. Discussing, your goals for the space and offering guidance throughout the process. This is much different than what is depicted on tv design shows. You will know exactly what is happening and will have final approval on all design elements before they are implemented in your home.

Most of our clients seek us out because they valve our expertise in design and in the design process. They do not want to spend their time and money guessing their way through a complicated design or renovation project, only to be less than pleased with the results. Involving a design professional will actually ensure that the end product will be something that you love.

Until next time,


From The Blog

What is “Project Scope?”

Designs by Gia Interior Design, New England Interior DesignHave you ever heard the phrase “project scope” while doing a design or construction project? Have you wondered what exactly is a “project scope”?  Well here are a few answers to some common question.

What is the “Project Scope” and why is it important?

The project scope is basically a term used to define part of the project management of any project. It is the part of the planning of your project, that involves creating a detailed list of everything that your project will include.  This includes projects that our homeowners would like to do, everything that would be needed to complete those projects. This list is clearly defined as to what needs to be done to complete the desired project, what it will look like at the end and all materials used to create this project. This will include everything else that must be done in order for your project to be done.

Think about how you put together a jigsaw puzzle. This is the best way to illustrate the process by which your home is put together or renovated. You can’t put in the last piece of the puzzle unless all of the other pieces are in place, exactly where they need to be to accommodate the last few pieces. If you want to take out a piece of the puzzle that is not on the outer edge, you must remove the necessary pieces in order to remove the piece that you want to be removed, and then replace the puzzle pieces.

This is how it works with a renovation. Let’s say you just want to replace your kitchen cabinets. Well in order to get them out and replace them, you also must remove the countertop, the sink, and faucet and most likely the backsplash. So, for someone that just wants to replace kitchen cabinets, the scope of work would actually have to include removing countertop, sink, faucet and backsplash and in most cases replacing those items as well. Reviewing this in the beginning stages of a project with a homeowner will ensure that they truly understand what the project that they desire would entail.Designs by Gia Interior Design, New England Interior Design

There are many other reasons why clearly defining your scope of work up-front is so important, as we discussed above.

1 – Process-
 many design and construction elements affect each other and knowing the full scope of work from the beginning will prevent backtracking in the process.

2 – Backtracking- causes additional construction costs and adds additional time to your project. Homeowners adding additional projects is common when you are in progress with a project and we certainly can add projects if the homeowners budget allows.  But what we are talking about here are actual changes or deciding on something mid-project due to poor planning, lack of a clear design plan, or changing your mind.  These changes definitely affect your scope of work and could certainly add additional costs if backtracking, re-doing or re-building something is necessary.  These problems almost always happen when a homeowner begins a project without a clear design plan as the design plan is what is needed to thoroughly develop a scope of work for the project.

3 – Budget- the only way to develop a comprehensive quote for a design or renovation project is to have a clearly defined goal. This is your design plan. This is what specifies everything about your project in great detail.  The measurements of everything in the space, the exact placement of everything, all materials to be used in your space. For example, if you are planning a bathroom project and you do not know what size bathtub you are using, then you are just guessing as to the amount of space, fixtures, and money needed for this bathtub, and you are not seeing how it affects everything else you are planning in the bathroom. If you have an exact bathtub, and you know it’s exact placement, specification, etc, then you can more accurately quote not only the bathtub but the rest of your bathroom project.  Yes, there are sometimes unforeseen things involved in construction, but that doesn’t mean that you just wing it. In fact, going in with no clear plan often ends in disaster, especially when it comes to your budget.

4 – Timeline- Tradesmen and contractors run on a schedule, if you are not prepared with a clearly defined design plan or scope of work developed by a pro, your contractor will move on to the next project until you are ready. Or they will jump in and rush you to make decisions as they need them so they can get to work. This is not a great way to design a space. Contractor input is vital to developing the full scope of work for a project as they are construction experts, but it is not their job to design your space, choose your tile and materials or teach you how to manage your own project. Tell them what you want to be built and they will build it, if you do not know how to communicate design elements properly, the outcome might not be what you were expecting. The extra time added to your project for changing your mind midstream, or re-building things over and over because of poor communication can be eliminated with a clearly defined design plan and scope of work. Any of these delays will affect the total project timeline as once your plumber moves on to start another project, he can’t just drop everything because you are now prepared with a decision to move forward. This causes further delays.

What is “Scope Creep”?

Designs by Gia Interior Design, New England Interior DesignSurely you have heard the term “scope creep”. Scope creep is something that can happen easily on a project. Scope creep is when the project increases little by little and is not managed properly. We see this most often when clients attempt a renovation on their own without the assistance of a designer or an experienced project manager. Often homeowners don’t know that if you do one project, it might affect something else. Or “while you are it” you may as well add this or that. All of this is fine if you have the budget and timeline to accommodate these additional things. Working with a professional will help to eliminate the project expanding beyond your means.

When working with clients from the design phase right through to the construction phase, we have processes in place to define the project scope as much as possible before construction or installation begins. Aligning the overall project with the homeowner’s overall goals.

The extra time taken to go through a well-developed design process and plan will always pay off in the end, as well as

  • Create a finished project that addresses all of your needs as far as function, design, and your budget.
  • A project that is well planned will have no questions as to material selection and design details because all of this was clearly defined in the early planning of a project.
  • So our contractors and tradesman know exactly what they are building, what materials are being installed when all specified materials will be on site when they arrive. Allowing for smooth project implementation from start to completion.

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Until next time,

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