How Creating a Room Design is Like Planning a Vacation

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When starting a room design for someone first, we look at photos.

The more someone can show me exactly what they like, the better I'm able to create a room design they’ll love. If you've ever been curious about the interior design process it's a lot like planning a vacation. The more you know about the vacation experience you want to have, the better you can plan for a trip that's perfect for you.   

I’ve helped guide my happy clients through the process, and here's how it's just like planning a vacation...

Where do you want to go?

When planning a vacation, you need to have a clear idea of the experience you want to have. Why is it essential to have this in mind? If you say I want to see Canada, that’s not specific enough for the second largest county in the world. You’ll need to choose a particular place like Vancouver and the time of year you want to go, like Summer. Now we are getting somewhere.  

Like travel, when designing a room, it's about the experience. Ask yourself, how do you want to feel in the room? Is it warm and inviting or minimal and austere? Will it be rich and traditional or an artsy, eclectic mix?  Knowing what look and feel you're after helps me to choose the right colors, textures, and styles for your furniture and decor.

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How much does it cost?

You can ask your friends and relatives how much it will cost to travel to Canada, but some might say it’s cheap. Others might say it’s expensive. It’s all relative and can leave you feeling mislead when everyone has different feelings about money.

When budgeting for travel, it’s also important to include your additional activities. Maybe you’ll want to go on a Whale Watch in Vancouver, and it would be a shame to miss out if you didn’t calculate that into your budget.

Same goes for room design. You’ll need to have a realistic idea of what it will cost to achieve the look you want. Start with the essentials, like the cost of building a new addition. Or if you're redecorating a room, an essential might be a kid-friendly couch or motorized blackout blinds that will help you sleep better. 

Do your best to estimate the cost of key essentials and then add 20% for incidentals and unforeseen expenses. From there add on your nice-to-have add on's, like a cute ottoman, accessories, pillows, and art.

To give you a head start here are two articles I found on Houzz. 
One on the cost of remodeling and another on decorating.

Lastly, think about hiring an interior designer. I’m not just saying that because I am one, but because they ensure the best results. You'll get your free time back so that you can do the things you want to be doing rather than sitting on hold with the carpet guy or endlessly trolling the internet and local furniture stores all weekend. An Interior Designer will also save you from second-guessing yourself all the time and save you money by avoiding costly mistakes. Interior Designers can also help you plan ahead for your future needs. Not to mention give you direct access to better quality, unique pieces you can't find without a designers access. 

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Many countries require certain vaccinations before you enter the country. It can be costly and might not be covered by health insurance. The alternative is potentially becoming very sick and paying for your short-sightedness on the toilet or worse.

This is related to budgeting, but it’s also about covering your room design practical needs. Do you have children? Should stain resistant and well-built furniture be part of your thinking? If you cook a lot, perhaps we should consider flooring that will cushion your legs from fatigue and a pullout counter for extra prep space. What about the future? Will you be living in your home well into the future? We could renovate the bathroom to include a zero clearance shower and widen the narrow hallways to accommodate any assistance you may need down the road.

It’s the practical planning ahead that will save you tremendous headaches down the road. Building special features into your investment is wise and will yield returns you sometimes just can’t plan for until it’s too late and the couch is stained, or you’ve broken your leg and can’t get through the door in a wheelchair.

Book the flight

If you don’t want to be the person who paid the most for their flight you need to plan and consider your options. For example, consider choosing a layover or flying out of and returning to a different airport could save you a lot of money. 

Then imagine your on the plane and a storm causes a huge delay in your arrival. Now you've missed your connecting flight and your stuck in Chicago for the night. What do you do? Freak out on the staff or count your blessings, take a bath and cuddle up for that movie you've wanting to watch and just relax?
It's all about staying flexible and open-minded. When creating a room design know that it is a process. You don't just walk out of your front door and magically whisk yourself to Vancouver. Room design will require patience, and there are going to be bumps along the way. Your plane could be delayed, and your new sofa might be on back order for four weeks. The woman next to you spills her tomato juice on your jeans, and the handyman painted the wrong color on your accent wall. 

No tears, it will all work out in the end, and if I have anything to do with it, you won't have to stress at all. I'll take care of everything. All I ask is that you try to remain calm, keep perspective and an eye on the prize that is your perfect room destination. 

Book your Accommodation

Are you a hotel or hostel person? Maybe you enjoy the relaxed social aspect of hostels but love the buttoned-up service and facilities in hotels. There is something for everyone and considering who and how you'll be interacting with is important to ensure the amount of personal satisfaction you'll enjoy while on vacation. 

Like a vacation, when creating a room design or remodeling, you may hire and potentially interact with a few too a lot of different people along the way. Who you choose to work with has a significant effect on your overall happiness while the project is in progress and the end result. Doing a bit of research before hiring someone is an excellent idea. You may want to meet with them first to get a feel for how well they fit your personality and your expectations of service and quality. 

If you want more good advice on room design, like and follow me on my Facebook page 


Happy Travels and Design Love,



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Susan Rains

Susan Rains Design, 408 Spring Road, Havertown, PA, 19083