3 Super Easy Tips to Get Past the Overwhelm of Renovating Solo!

So you're planning a renovation solo.  I bet you're spending a good deal of time on Houzz and Pinterest, saving your favourite styles to your various boards and hoping that you'll be able to pull it all together when the time comes.  Are you losing sleep and/or hours of your evenings and weekends pinning, planning and searching?  Starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by the "Do's" & "Don'ts" you're reading on design sites?

Going at a renovation alone can be really hard.  And when you're already stressed for cost and time, adding "inspiration overload" onto your day can cause massive overwhelm!  Now obviously, many designers will suggest hiring a pro to help you through the muck, but what if that just isn't in the budget?  Not to worry; here are three EASY tips to help you get past the overwhelm and on your way to creating a space you love!

#1 - Determine Your Style

For many of us, this is probably the most difficult question to answer because there's so many options to choose from!  If you've already been pinning and Houzz-ing chances are you can take a look at the overall aesthetic of the spaces you've saved and gain a fairly clear understanding of your style.

In the examples above, I've put together four different images of each style.  How do you determine YOUR style?  Well, let's look at each style set quickly together:

Modern - Largely white interiors, spatious, minimal decor, very few design details (no added turns on the legs of the coffee table, cushions with no 'frills', angular light fixture.
Rustic - Loads of warm materials - wood, brick, leather; colours of products and materials are warm and earthy; heavier finishing details such as big wood beams, industrial style lighting, oversized furniture.
Contemporary - Often tricky to discern from Modern style, Contemporary style still has clean lines and lighter interiors but has warm details through.  Things like patterned drapes, wood cabinets, wood beams with stone fireplaces, lighting fixtures with lots of openness in warm metals.  Contemporary is often referred to as Transitional by clients when I'm asking what their style preferences are.
Glam - This is the style of yours truly!  Glam style is a bit of elegance, hits of glitter and makes me think of Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe & Swarovski crystal.  Glam balances pops of robust colour (cobalt blues, fuschia pinks, electric greens) with warm neutrals like cream or silver finished with a crown of metals - brass, chrome, pewter.  You cannot mistake walking into a Glam interior - it makes you want to wear evening gloves and drink from martini glasses.

So take a look at your collection of images and make notes of what the overall style is.  And, if you have pictures from a variety of styles, pick out what you like in each specific picture.  You may find that in that rustic style interior, you actually just like how the brick fireplace looks with the stone mantel and the rest you could take or leave.  Or in the modern style kitchen, you like how clean it all looks but don't want something so cold - so you're probably wanting lighter cabinetry, no fuss handles and places to put all the "stuff".

#2 - Set a Budget

I know, I know.  You've heard this all before but I cannot stress enough that you MUST HAVE A BUDGET!  You cannot begin to pull a space together when you don't know how much capital you have to play with!  Is your budget a $5000 showstopper chandelier dripping from the ceiling or a $500 steal that you searched a few months for?  (For my fellow Glam-orists - the crystal 3 ring fixture above is actually from Rona Canada and retails for just over $800!!)

You have to know how much you're working with as this will determine your materials & products.  AND! Remember this absolute key factor - do not cheap out on labour, always find a lower cost material if you have to save money rather than go with the 'lowest price'.  There is a reason skilled labour costs a little more and you'll have a much more beautiful space with less costly materials installed by a great pro than costly materials installed by a 'jack-of-all-trades'.  (Read more on HOW to figure out a budget here; Learn more here about why 99% off is not necessarily the best value!)

#3 - Curate, Don't Impulse Buy

This may seem like a strange tip but let me explain.  When we go at things alone, unsupervised we can get a little crazy (I WILL end up in the deluxe sports car if left to my own devices at an auto show!).  No matter how good the deal is, ask yourself these three questions before pulling out ye ol' cc:

  1. Does this go with my style?
  2. Does this fit within the budget I have set?
  3. Will I still love this 2 days/weeks/months from now or will I tire of it?

If the answer to any of these questions is 'No', then don't purchase it.  This tip is more likely to come into play as you are finishing a space (cushions, decor, etc), a time when far too many people blow their budgets.


If you're unsure if you can go it alone or just would like a little bit of assistance, check out our brand new edesign packages.  Just launched on Friday (May the 4th!), these virtual interior design packages are intended to help those with limited budgets or in rural locations.  There's even a Renovation Assistance package with 5 hours of virtual meeting time with an experienced designer (moi!).  And for the next week, all packages are on sale so if you're thinking about it, now's the time.

If you have any questions about the edesign program (how does it work, when do we get our stuff, etc) feel free to contact me directly.

And let me know below:  have you gone at it alone before?  What did you learn that others can learn from you?

Until next time, check us out on our social pages (we've been Instagramming like crazy! #girlboss).  Be good to one another and always remember:

"The only trend you need to follow is your own, because who you are, never goes out of style."
- Dutch Touch Interiors
Gratitude Heart | Interior Design Calgary, Edesign & Virtual Interior Design | Dutch Touch Interiors