corner reading spot

The Great Interior Design Challenge

corner reading spotNow that I’m out of graduate school and have a little leisure time on my hands, not to mention a few baby blankets to crochet, I’ve been watching “The Great Interior Design Challenge” on Netflix. I love it!

For one thing, it’s nice to see a competitive show where the contestants aren’t practically ripping each other’s throats out and stabbing each other in the back. For another, quite a few of the homes are older; like pre-American older. And, this is really the best thing ever, many are row houses! As someone who lives in an older row house, this makes me exquisitely happy.

About the Great Interior Design Challenge

The show is a reality-oriented competition that allows amateur interior designers to update rooms within a tight budget and timeframe while adhering to the owner’s creative brief and considering the judges’ expert opinion. The designs are judged by interior designer VIPs, eliminating one contestant at a time, leading to the finale where one designer earns the title and an adorable trophy-type object d’art.

While the designers are working in their respective rooms, the host provides background information about the houses. There are modern homes with wide open spaces and big windows. Then there are the older homes with odd lighting, low ceilings, uncooperative staircases, and limitations placed by historic preservation board such as not being able to use nails. The most strict requirements were related to Grade I listed terraced (row) houses from the 14th Century (learn more)!

How to Do Your Own Interior Design Challenge

The show is good at explaining what makes a good cohesive interior design: scale, balance, color, creativity, sensitivity to the architecture of the house, and consideration of the relationship the owner is going to have with the space. Interior design needs to look beautiful, evoke positive emotion, and still be a workable space. The hosts want the designers to stand out but you won’t have to choose to do anything surprising in your own home.

1. Create a Mood Board

For each project, the designer submits a mood board. Even if you aren’t a professional designer, a mood board is a great tool to use for your personal interior design projects. Ideally, you can start putting together your mood board a few months before you plan on starting your project. The first stage is to collect pictures, drawings, paint chips, and textile samples that you might want in the room. Include notes about how you want to feel in the room.

2. Edit Your Mood Board

The second stage is to fine-tune and edit the collection into a cohesive design.

3. Plan Your Project

This brings us to the third, and transitional phase, where you will take your mood board and use it to create an outline of a project plan that covers the work you want to do, a padded schedule, and the cost of materials and labor, if needed.

4. Archive Your Design

Once you finalize your mood board and the project has been completed, take a photo of the mood board, along with a photo of the finished room, and keep it handy for future changes. See curtains you think would look great? Check them against your saved photos to see if they work. I personally like Evernote for this sort of project archiving but there are several applications that accomplish the same thing.

Even if you’re just making a minor change or are in the mood for a little something different, approaching things in the same way can be helpful. Walking into a decor store is overwhelming and it helps to have a plan before you get bombarded with all the latest trends.

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