5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Designing Your Space

Have you been bitten by the “renovation bug?”

Whether it is adding a fresh coat of paint and new accessories or tackling a more elaborate project like renovating a kitchen or bath, it is important to ask a few questions before getting started!


The first thing you’ll want to know is your budget for the project.

The answer to this question will help you clarify your scope AND will drive your decisions on the quality of materials you’ll use.

Think of this first question as your project compass.

After all, without a clearly defined budget, you run the risk of spending way more than you anticipated!

You might be asking yourself, “How do I even begin to put together a budget for my project?!?”

Well, you’re in luck!

Since I typically get a “deer-in-headlights” look from perspective clients when I ask them what their project budget is during the initial interview process, I’ve created a handy tool that I call the “Good Better Best Budget Tool.”

This spreadsheet is has a tab for each room of the house. On each tab is a list of elements that are commonly included in the design of that space.

Beside each element, there are three columns indicating the median prices for  good, better or best version of that product.

Simply select the quality you want for each element based on your priorities, add that number to the “desired level” column along with the quantity needed and at the bottom of each sheet you’ll see a total that gives you a ballpark figure for how much you should budget for that room!

***DISCLAIMER: Although this is a very helpful tool, it is not a magic wand and it is not infallible! It is simply a way to begin to see how much you will potentially invest in your space once your project is underway.***

Download your free copy of your budget planner here




Now that we’ve got the budget question out of the way, the next question is: How much free time do you have to allot to your project?

A clearly defined timeline for your project will depend on the size of the scope, the availability of materials and the level of expertise of the person performing the work.

If you’re thinking about doing the work yourself, be very honest with yourself about how much time you have to devote to the project.

If this something you’ll only work on on the weekends? If so, does this mean that the project will take you months instead of days/weeks to complete?

The reality is, you might not want a job hanging over your head that long!



Question #3 is: What are your priorities?

Before you do anything, take a deep breath, look around and decide what needs to be done.

Ask yourself “What can stay?” and “What can go?”

Once you know what you need to do, decide how you want to execute things.

Do you want to go room by room, or would it be better to take a holistic approach?

Having a solid game plan will help you avoid feelings of “analysis paralysis” throughout your project!



Question #4 is a gut-check!

“What can you do yourself and what should you delegate?”

Consider your physical abilities for heavy lifting jobs as well as your technical skills.

Are there areas you aren’t so confident about that would require the expertise of a design professional?

Home décor projects may include several tasks including painting, building pieces of furniture, measuring, installing new carpet and/ or light fixtures, etc.

Which of those tasks will you own and which ones will you hire someone to do for you?

More importantly, did you factor the cost of those services into your budget? (SEE QUESTION #1)

Smaller-scale projects can probably be completed without the help of a contractor or handyman. 

However, there are a number of projects that should only be completed by professionals including electrical work, structural changes, and in my opinion, kitchen and bath renovations.

These require a specific set of skills and knowledge that the average homeowner may not possess.

These projects are also the most costly, so you want to make sure you aren’t going to wind up spending more money than necessary because someone has to come out a repair the damage you did while trying to do it yourself. (Sorry for the tough love!) 


The final question has to do with beginning with the end in mind.

“What does the completed project look like?”

When you approach this question, do with top caliber athletes do.

Visualize the finish line. Truly!

Imagine what your new space will look, feel, sound and even smell like.

Once you’ve got that picture firmly locked in your mind, reverse engineer to determine what steps you’ll need to take to get there.

Is the finished room light and bright? This might mean you’ll need new paint and window treatments.

Is the space moody and dramatic? New wall color, opulent furniture pieces and bold accessories might be the way to go!

Another advantage to zeroing in on the big picture is that it will help you achieve a cohesive and purposeful look.

The textures, color and vibe will easily flow from one room to the next, and although this will seem effortless to the casual visitor, you and I will know that you only got there because you knew the answers to these five questions! 😉 


I hope you found these tips helpful!

If you did, be sure to share this post with your friends. 

And, I want to hear from you!

What challenges have you faced when completing a decorating or renovation project? Was the experience rewarding? 

Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to reading your responses!

If you loved this post, check out the other posts in our Design 101 series:

Design 101: How to Hang Curtains

Design 101: Bathroom Heights

Design 101: How to Hang a Great Gallery Wall

Design 101: How to Pick The Perfect Bedside Table

Design 101: Creating a Luxe Bed

Design 101: Deciding on the Best Rug

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Designing Your Space

How To Hire Your Dream Contractor

Want some ideas on how to refresh some bargain finds? Check out this video!

Author: Arianne Bellizaire

Interior designer, blogger, and public speaker Arianne Bellizaire creates spaces that are beautiful yet highly functional for her clients. She served as one of only nine 2015 High Point Market Authority Style Spotters, and she has been featured in Rue Magazine, House Beautiful Online, GoodHousekeeping, EditorAtLarge, U.S. News & World Report, Roomhints, About.com, USA Today, and MyFitItUpLife!

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