Laying out the Blueprint for success

Week Two is all about laying out the blueprint for success.  In week one, we saw the space and defined all the parameters we had to work with.  With those in mind, we can develop the guidelines we can work through to keep us on track to achieve the final result we want to accomplish…..and on time.  

Two things that commonly go awry in any makeover or renovation are the budget and the timeline.  If we don’t manage these, the project can spiral out of control.  To avoid this, we create tools to keep us on track or get us back on track if we start to get lost or overwhelmed. 

Let’s walk through each of these tools, known as the:

The Design Plan

  • Budget
  • Mood Board
  • Color Palette
  • Layout
  • Work Schedule / Action Plan


Our maximum budget is set at $1000.00.

To establish the budget, determine how much you are willing to spend on the specific project.  Consider other projects in your home and rank each in terms of your “perceived value.”  (You would probably spend more on your bedroom makeover than you would a guest bedroom that rarely gets used.)  Never set the budget at the maximum of what you have to spend. 

Allow for contingency, especially in construction renovation projects.  It’s impossible to know what obstacles will come up as you progress.  The larger the project, the larger the contingency should be.  

With this makeover project, we won’t be making physical changes to the actual construction, so a significant expense will likely arise is minimal.  Still, I always reserve at least 10% for contingency.  So my working budget will be $900.00, and if I don’t need the contingency when the project completion nears an end, I can spend it then.  But I’d love to keep it in my pocket! So I’m shooting for $900.00.

Now that I have established the budget, I will move ahead with the rest of the Design Plan.   I always START with the budget because that will dictate most of my choices down the road.  Creating a mood board full of ideas or a layout full of furnishings you can’t afford would be very ineffective.  So let’s plan appropriately from the beginning.

Mood Board

This is the fun part.  We get to pull ideas and concepts together for the overall look for the final result as I sort through inspiration on,, Instagram, etc.  I keep in mind the budget and the pieces I will be keeping to ensure I can translate that inspiration into what I have to work with.  

This process also leads to very creative thinking, which I enjoy most about design.  It makes you think, problem-solve, and opens your mind to ideas you never considered before.

I started the search from the inspiration picture the owner gave me of what she would like the room to feel like.  The picture is from a West Elm catalog:

I started gathering inspiration and assembling them on a Mood Board from this picture.   I want to make this process easy for anyone.  So for this board,  I took screenshots of images and then collected them on the “Pages” app on my MacBook.  (you should be able to do the same with Microsoft “Word.”) 

By the painted antique bed, you can see that I am also searching for how I can transform the furnishings I already have for the space.  By adding this to the board, I can determine how this will look in the overall mix.  Some of the inspiration images I initially put on the board didn’t work well in the combination, so I eliminated them, constantly refining the mood.  

Good design involves a lot of editing!  Can you see a color palette starting to emerge?

Once I was satisfied with the images and format of the board, I started putting words to the elements.  This further clarifies the details I want to keep in mind as I make my design choices.  I will use this as my visual roadmap throughout the makeover to support the vision on course.

Color Palette

We should see an unmistakable color palette from the mood board emerge.  We don’t need exact colors; we need the tones for our palette.  (In reality, we will never be able to find the actual colors we select, especially with the budget constrictions on this project.)

I’m sure you can guess my color palette already, but let’s go ahead and pull some colors out for our roadmap:

Sherwin-Williams has a creative partnership with West Elm and does a collection of West Elm inspired colors, so I went there first to get color inspiration.  (Remember, the inspiration image the owner gave me was from the West Elm catalog.)  So this was pretty easy.  You can also go to Benjamin Moore, which has great color palettes with colors that work well together.  

I added the wood tone I would like for the room as well.  This will be a challenge since the floors, and ALL the furniture in the room has orange wood tones.

There will only be one wall color so the other colors will be used primarily as accents.  The wall colors will be white.  I pulled three whites in this initial palette for a couple of reasons.  (Please note that none of these colors look accurate on the computer screen.)  I want a “taupe” white for the walls, so my first preference is Eider White.

We are in the early stages of shifting from grey-based to beige-based colors.  Grey isn’t going away but is becoming “greige.”  So I’m keeping my white options open.  I’m not a fan of beige, so we will see how this plays out in the overall design.

I also know I want tonal curtains for the white walls, so I am keeping options open while I start to look for curtains/fabrics.  I won’t paint the walls or finalize the color until I have curtain fabric. 

OUICK TIP or just for fun:

If you are having trouble coming up with a color palette or color inspiration, try this.  Find an image with colors that inspire you.  Go to, and drag the image into the free website. It will reduce the colors in the image down to manageable colors.

Play around with the number of colors you reduce to and see the differences.  The app is designed to work for digital colors for websites, etc., but play around with it if you’re having trouble.


Now I take room measurements and draw up my floor plan.  I used the free trial version of SketchUp because I wanted to use a tool that would be available to you.  (I do use SketchUp Pro in my business and love it.)  It is very intuitive, and there are 15-minute tutorials on YouTube that can get you through it.

At this point, I include the items I know I am using, which are the three-piece bedroom set, a rug, and curtains.  I may not keep the furnishings in the position they are currently drawn, but this gives me a good idea of the overall space I have to work with.

From the layout, it is easy to see that only one wall can accommodate the headboard, which dictates the bed position.  As I evaluate the design, I see I can divide the space in half, using the side of the room for the guest bedroom and the left side for video conferencing.  Most of the day, the left window also gets good sunlight, making that layout favorable for video making.  These are functional details that impact the design plan.

One fact becomes alarmingly clear; there are almost NO open walls.  Nearly every wall has a built-in shelf, storage room doors, or windows.  The owner said she requested the builder use every inch of space for storage in the eaves.  This means access doors or open shelving everywhere, leaving minimal space to plan furniture around.  

This is an excellent example of how every design decision will always impact another design aspect.  Developing a layout is a great tool to highlight potential sacrifices of “great ideas.”  Our design is challenged in yet another way.  Look at all those yellow limitations!

And since we’re on questionable design choices, allow me to point out another inconvenient design element in this room….the location of the outlets.

Every outlet in the room seems to be done randomly and erratically.  It wasn’t; an electrician just laid it out.  His goal was to meet the building code requirement of one receptacle for every eight-foot span of wall, period.  No consideration was given to what location they would function best in.

Look at the blue outlet locations in the plan below.  Most of them are placed in the most visible areas possible, requiring electric cords to be on full display.  If you’re planning a renovation or building a house, pay close attention to the placements of all your electrical outlets and switches.  

The same goes for HVAC vents and ceiling fixtures.  How many dining areas have you seen with “swags” repositioning the table light.  Pay attention to all the little details; they will make your life much better for years to come.

Work Schedule / Action Plan

I’ve laid out all the details of the design plan.  I know what I want to get and how to get there.  Now I can develop a schedule to get it done efficiently and effectively.    

By carefully evaluating all the components of this project, I can schedule a thoughtful action plan.  I am on a tight budget that will limit the resources, which may be my biggest challenge, so I start there.  

What do I have to purchase for the room to achieve the design look I want?

  • curtains
  • ceiling fan
  • bedding

What items do I have that I can repurpose?

  • bed
  • washstand (side table)
  • gentleman’s wardrobe (chest)
  • available items in the house 
  • general items for repurposed from barns

What are my sources?

  • craigslist
  • eBay
  • HomeGoods
  • friend donations

Taking all these into account, I know I first need to find a solution for the curtains.  It will be challenging to find six curtain panels that fit my budget in the color I want.  The curtains will also have to coordinate closely with the walls so that the wall color will depend on the curtains.  This means painting can’t be done until the curtains are finalized.

I also know I’m using the three-piece bedroom set, but I want to update it, so I’m going to paint it.  I’m unsure about how they will turn out, so I want to start immediately to get that to a final version.  I could run into unexpected problems there.   I will coordinate other furnishings and accessories back to these.

I know I must replace the traditional white dated ceiling fan, and it will take a large portion of my budget.  It must have a specific look for the room as it’s a dominant feature.  I also may be challenged with delivery lead times.

And so on it goes until I’ve put the action plan on paper:

Action plan

 WEEK ONE  -paint bedroom furniture, shop curtains, shop ceiling fan

 WEEK TWO – shop lighting, shop barns, and house finalize painted furniture

 WEEK THREE – finalize curtains, finalize wall color

 WEEK FOUR – paint walls, finalize furnishings

 WEEK FIVE – finalize artwork and accessories

 WEEK SIX – final touches and reveal

Next week, You'll see the results of the painted furniture, so check back to see if you like it.

Are you struggling with your Action Plan?

                              Leave a comment and I’ll help!

Check out content from other participants here:

2 thoughts on “One Room Challenge WEEK TWO”

  1. I am really loving watching how you approach things. LOVE the drawings that show the outlets! LOVE the way you make your “list”.

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