7 Ways to Refresh Your Space: One Room Challenge® Kick-off: Week 1
I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but 2022 has been one humdinger of a year! After the screeching halt that was 2020 and the slow-down of 2021, 2022 is bent on getting us back in the swing of things. Of the many rooms we touched in our home since moving here in 2019, I always felt that the dining room was "good enough" but never quite finished. With a slightly crazed push to get it all done in this final quarter, here I am with another One Room Challenge® to get this space across the finish line.
If you have never heard of the One Room Challenge®, now is the perfect time for an introduction. The ORC is now in its 10th year of challenging professional and novice design enthusiasts to a twice-a-year foray to design or redesign a single space. This transformative journey of one space--or one room--during an 8 week period garners the attention of many big box brands, designers and furnishing companies. This year, creator Linda Weinstein joined ranks once again with Apartment Therapy to bring the ORC back to the virtual playroom of design: Instagram. Ironically, long before Haus Guerin even existed I dreamed of joining in on all the fun. This fall will be my 3rd round as a participant!
Both the Haus Guerin home studio and master bathroom renovations were completed as ORC challenges and the beginning of my journey into a more public interior design journey.
But before I get too distracted by the backstory, let's get into the tips...
Stated plainly, not every space in your home is hurting for a redesign. Sometimes a refresh will suffice. If I get the sense that a design feels a bit stale, I like to start with a refresh. Curious how you can go about it? Start below:
This tip is fairly straightforward. Shop your home, your local thrift stores, online thrift store or Facebook Marketplace for a free or reasonably priced addition to your space. A major plus is if it is something that can be repurposed or rehabilitated for your new design. For this ORC I'll be rehabbing a set of dining chairs I found nearly 2 hours out in Alabama. Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot.
2. Window Treatments
Often neglected, the windows of your home can be an instant style elevation when leveraged properly. While the Mississippi seasons aren't particularly horrible, I knew we wanted a simple yet effective set of drapes that could block out the sun and keep in the heat during the unpredictable winters. Even if you don't really need to have your window treatments perform any true function, it is the perfect opportunity to add personality to your space.
3. Wall Finishes
Here's where I like to have a little fun. For my last ORC, the Haus Guerin Home Studio, I hand-stenciled a chinoiserie design in a sepia finish on the ceiling. While the fifth wall is not typically a place most people finish, keep in mind all the walls in your space. Wallpaper, trim, wainscoting, plaster, Roman clay, paint and limewashes are some of the many ways you can accentuate your spaces without major structural changes.
4. Furniture Selection
Much like curated art, adding bespoke furniture to your home can add instant zing to your space. I like to look for pieces that are sculptural and add visual as well as textural interest. When space is limited, be sure to add pieces that add not only charm but
also function. In this iteration of the ORC, the dining chairs that I am adding are both sturdier and more practical than the existing cantilever chairs. No worries--they will find a new space in our home!
5. Furniture Layout
While not the issue for this round of ORC, sometimes it's not your furniture that is the problem, it's the orientation! Play around with your space using scaled sketches. I've found the fastest way to do this is with graphing paper and little cutouts of the furniture drawn to size. You could also try online software. Online virtual planners and renders are invaluable tools for interior designers that come with hefty subscriptions. However some software like Spoak allow you to try them out for limited free trials.
6. Lighting Update
While I have not fully committed to changing the lighting in the dining room, I love a good chandelier moment. Take the opportunity to see how and when you can add task lighting or improve the lighting in your space. Think both aesthetically and functionally about your selections. Also note: If you have a particular lighting fixture in mind but think it may be out of reach price-wise, remember that many lighting companies offer similar pieces at a variety of price points. For a quick look at some of my favorites, check out my round up of favorites here.
The final piece of the puzzle is just good ole composition. Something old, maybe something new, borrowed pieces from other spaces, floral bouquets and seasonally appropriate decor all lend an air of completeness to a space. Now take a step back and enjoy your new room :)
And now a look ahead
Good design is a lasting movement. It completes the mood of your home and complements adjacent spaces. I have been washing our home in a mood-boosting white because I find it to be a bit more conducive to high spirits during the moody and grey winters we experience here in Eastern Mississippi. With that said, adding textures and interest through patina and materials is the best way to round out the design so as not to completely beige-out our spaces. Over the next few weeks, I'll be adding visual interest to my home to add movement without overstimulating my overstimulated mama-eyes. It's a delicate dance.
For week one I hope to dive into sanding down the frame of my chairs to prep for re-upholstery in a beautiful boucle fabric. Wish me luck and stay tuned for more updates next week!
Can't wait until next week? Follow me on Instagram for behind-the-scenes looks as this space evolves. Also be sure to head over to the One Room Challenge website to see what over one hundred participants are doing in their spaces too!
One Week Challenge