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    If you're feeling overwhelmed by your design project and you're not sure where to start...ask for help from a design professional.

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If you're feeling overwhelmed by your design project and you're not sure where to start...ask for help from a design professional.


Where to Find Inspiration

“Most people are under the impression that eye-catching magazine clippings are the only way to get ideas on space planning, but limiting yourself to what is captured in print may actually prevent you from being inspired,” says interior designer Robin Baron. "A good option is to go to showrooms and stores so that you're exposed to a wide variety of fabrics, rugs and furniture.”

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  • Where Do I Start?

    Designer Robin Baron offers six steps to pulling off a successful design project.

    by Cindy Hodnett

    For those of us suffering from design envy—that immediately recognizable ailment that leaves us wanting a fresh, functional, new interior—the pages of a design magazine can be overwhelming.  And whether you're thinking about color, scale, style, cost or inspiration, you may find yourself confused by design choices when beginning a project. Noted interior designer Robin Baron says it doesn’t have to be this way. Baron says that all design projects benefit from a systematic approach, and she advocates following a few, simple steps to simplify the process. 


    Step One

    Develop a Plan

    Baron recommends creating a furniture plan when starting a design project. “You need to know exactly what types of pieces you are looking for, how many of each and in what sizes,” she says. “Without this, you are bound to make major mistakes.”


    Step Two

    Create a Budget

    After the furniture plan is complete, develop a realistic budget. Baron explains that homeowners should decide what items are must-have pieces and then spend time shopping for those items to realize the best financial outcome.


    Step Three

    Look for Inspiration

    Artists recognize the importance of inspiration, and so do designers. An open mind is one of the most important components of design success, says Baron. She also recommends careful consideration when deciding what the focal point of a room will be. “You can decorate a room around a much-loved piece, but make sure it’s a piece you can’t live without. It's important to be clear in your decision because one piece can influence the entire room.”


    Step Four

    Keep or Toss

    It is hard for many people to let go of furnishings that have been around for a while, but Baron says this is a process that must occur during a successful design project. Cautioning against misguided loyalty to certain pieces, she tells her clients to keep the finished product in mind. “Don’t throw good money after bad,” she says. “Don’t build a room around something you don’t love because you’ll never love the room. Start from scratch and allow yourself to be inspired.”


    Step Five

    Consider Hiring an Interior Designer

    Designers help their clients access resources not available to the general public. Baron says that even though they might be viewed by some as an unnecessary expense, an accomplished designer will actually end up saving their clients money. “The key to saving money is simple – do it right the first time!” she says. “You’re guaranteed to avoid costly mistakes by hiring someone who knows what they are doing and has a proven track record. Designers have many ‘tricks of the trade’ to help their clients get the most for their money.”


    Step Six

    Make the Project Your Own

    Baron says that experienced designers will have a versatile portfolio instead of a “one-trick pony” resume. She stresses honest communication between client and designer, pointing out that this guarantees a successful project outcome. “This is your home and should reflect your taste and lifestyle,” Baron says. “A designer-client relationship is based on give-and-take and is the key to creating a perfect end result.”