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But Where Do I Start? - Is money holding you back from creating a home you love?

*A note from the author: This podcast episode (as well as all future episodes) will be transcribed automatically. The author is currently aware of, and getting hives at the thought of, all of the grammatical errors she's finding as she proof reads her transcript. She recognizes that her former English teachers are likely rolling over in their graves, if that is where they currently reside, but also knows that some things just have to give. Please feel free to listen instead and be sure to read non-podcast posts so you can rest assured that she does, in fact, know how to compose written words into proper story telling.*

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Speaker 1: (00:00)

Today, we're concluding the series, but where do I start? In the first episode, we talked about making a plan. And part of that plan was understanding the purpose that you have for the room, understanding the anatomy of the room, and also creating that list of, um, needs versus wants. Once you start understanding the anatomy, we talked a little bit about, um, anchor pieces versus peripheral pieces. And if you're not sure what I'm talking about, I do want you to go back and listen to that. In episode six, in episode seven, we talked about using Pinterest as a successful tool in home design. Pinterest can be a rabbit hole that wastes time, and also creates a little bit of comparisonitis or maybe even envy. And we don't want that. Now, what we're going to talk about today is the purchasing part and not just the purchasing part, but being really realistic in the budget and the timeline.

Speaker 1: (00:53)

I'm going to challenge you to think about budget just a little bit differently. Think about budget with the lens of realistic expectations and also timeline. And we're going to break that all down so that you can start moving forward in your design today. And if you know that you would like to get started, but you would like a little bit of accountability or a little bit of help along the way. I want you to mark your calendar for the beginning of September, the first week of September after labor day, I'm guiding a group of you on a 10 week journey from beginning to end so that we can go through this design process so that you can start creating a home that you love with the room that you want. So if that's something that you would like to do, or you'd like to learn more about, I want you to email and now back to our series, but where do I start? Where we flipped budget right on its head, enjoy today's show.

Speaker 2: (01:44)

We grew up with the phrase. Home is where the heart is, but our culture has shifted. And now the messages home should be Pinterest. Perfect. I'm calling BS on that message home. It's not about the stuff it's about the story and whether you know it or not, your home is a reflection of you and is already saying something. So what is it that you want it to say, Hey, I'm Danny. A former first grade teacher turned home decorator going from a dual income to a single income. So I could stay home with my babies, meant budget, like ramen eating, Goodwill, shopping budget. And I learned a few things along the way, like how to bring big styles to your home without breaking the bank. And I'm sharing it all with you. Tips, tricks, decor, and design advice. So you can learn to tell your story with your style where you can start living free from the Pinterest perfect trap and start living a life of intention. Welcome to fig and farm at home where redesigned happy living and where it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Speaker 1: (02:45)

Generally, when you think about a budget, you think about the income that you have and the expenditure that you want. Sometimes you create a timeframe that goes along with it. Sometimes you set a goal for what you want that budget to be, and sometimes you meet that budget and sometimes you don't when it comes to home design, I think a lot of our hangup comes from the idea that we have to have a ginormous budget in order to create the room that we want to get the look and feel of the home that we're wanting. It's going to cost too much. So it's out of reach and if it costs too much, and if it's out of reach, then we might as well not start, raise your hand. If that's you raise your hand, if you want to make change, but you are stuck in the idea that the budget is not within reach.

Speaker 1: (03:27)

I see you over there. Now, the thing that makes me different from other designers is that I expect that actually I expect that the people I work with won't have the money right up front to make all of the changes that they want to make in order to have the home that they love. If you remember me talking a few episodes ago about being with some clients, and I've only had one client in my experience that has been able to create all of the changes within their home at one time only one, it's just not a realistic expectation. And so working with any of you, if I were to expect that I would have the unrealistic expectation, this is exactly why I developed this framework that allows us to make the biggest impact change first so that you can start with whatever budget you have.

Speaker 1: (04:13)

So that's what we're going to walk through today. But before we do that, we're going to break through some of the assumptions we might have regarding budget and going to share with you the formula I create when I'm working with a budget and we're going to talk about making and setting realistic expectations. So let's start there. Realistically speaking, we all come to the table with different income levels. And that means that we all have a different amount of money that we can set aside to make any changes that we need or want to make. Right. That's just the reality. And I think if we can remove ourselves from this idea that we are going to make all of the changes right now, and if we can't make all the changes right now, we're not going to do anything. I think if we could remove ourselves from that idea, we're going to be able to move forward in this process.

Speaker 1: (05:00)

That's one of the reasons why in our first part of our series, but where do I start? I had you identify the room that you wanted to begin in. And I had, you also understand the anatomy of the room in terms of anchor pieces and peripheral pieces, where we created that, that shopping list, that glorified shopping list that segregated the needs from the wants and even made it into a graduating scale, right? The higher need, the higher priority of the item that you need in order to meet the purpose of your room, working down the list to the, not as important need and doing the same thing for your wants, where you have a graduating scale of the things that you want more to, the things that you want, not as much. And this is all basic economy, right? Basic economics that we even teach our kiddos between wants versus needs.

Speaker 1: (05:52)

But this is really important to remember. It helps us remember the reality of our and to understand that, yes, although we want change, that that change needs to happen over a period of time, not just right now. And if you're sitting there scratching your head. Yes, I am very well aware that I cannot have all the changes I want to make right now. That's super frustrating if you're, yes, we are very well aware of our situation. We are very well aware of it, but creating that list of anchor pieces and the peripheral pieces and the, the needs versus wants is not, was not just an exercise for exercise sake. It was an exercise. It was an exercise so that we could take those elements and plug them into this timeline, into this formula that I have created. And we don't just want to plug that into the formula Willy nilly, because then you would just go out and spend the money on the things that you need and want without having any idea of what your aesthetic is and doing that means wasting money doing that means wasting time because you get at home and you realize, oh crap, I made a mistake.

Speaker 1: (07:03)

That's not what I want. And you either forget to return it or you return it. And then you end up in that same holding pattern of not starting correctly. So what about this idea of just saving all of your pennies until you can make all of the changes all at one time? Well, let's talk about that for a minute, because that is for sure an option, but I'm going to play devil's advocate for a minute, because what I know already is that we've been stuck in a holding pattern of not starting. And when we get stuck in a holding pattern of not starting, what that indicates is that it's not nearly as much of a priority as it could be, even though you have the desire to make changes. And so when it's not a priority, the allowance for other things to take precedents first happens and the nest egg that you've been saving for that one day, when you have it all together in order to make all those changes all at once that dissipates, because other things in life have taken priority as they should, right?

Speaker 1: (07:57)

Like the braces or the new car or whatever other things take precedence and so saving to make all the changes at one time or waiting for that windfall so that you can make all the changes at one time can actually end up making it so that you are still stuck in that holding pattern of inaction. And now what I want you to hear me say is that I am not advocating for you to open up your credit card in order to make all the changes all at once today. That's, that is absolutely not what I'm wanting to encourage anyone to do. But I want you to think about this idea in the same likeness as you would with a diet, right? Like if you are wanting to lose 20 pounds, you can expect that it's all going to happen all at once. You can't expect that you're going to, you're going to do all the exercise today.

Speaker 1: (08:43)

You're going to go jogging. You're going to go swimming. You're going to lift weights. You're going to do yoga. You're going to do all the things. And then tomorrow you're going to lose 20 pounds. That's not how it works. And, and I think if we expected that to happen, we all know that we would probably Peter out at the second mile and maybe not even make it to the swim and heck no to the yoga afterwards. And it's just going to be too much. And that too muchness is going to make it so that we actually lose traction. And we might not meet that goal in the first place. And so that's kind of what I'm getting at here is if we think that we're going to wait until we have all of the money to make all of the change, whether it's from saving or a windfall or whatever, sometimes waiting all of that time can make it so that we actually lose traction.

Speaker 1: (09:30)

And if you are stuck in a place of you hate your home today, think about what's going to happen. If you have to wait four years to make those changes. If you have a visceral reaction to the way that your home looks and feels and functions waiting four years might not be the best idea. That's what I'm getting at. So as we walk forward with our formula, we want to be thinking about realistically, setting a budget with money and a budget with timeline. How are those two going to interact together in order to create a home that feels right for us that serves us and serves our family. Well, that's what we're going to dive into next. So let's think about timeline. You know, usually when we think about timeline, we think, okay, I have six months, I have a year, I have two weeks, whatever that timeline is.

Speaker 1: (10:16)

And sometimes that can be really motivating, but timelines like that, don't always pair well with a budget, a realistic budget. So what I want you to think about is timelines in terms of changes made with the biggest impact. So if we change the word from timeline to impact, here's what it might look like. What change could you make first that would make the biggest impact? What change could you make? Second that would make the biggest impact? What change can you make? Third that would make the next biggest impact you see where I'm going here. So the idea that timeline is just a measurement of time in, in the sense of one week, two days, three months, whatever. We're going to flip that a little bit, and we're going to say first, second, third, that is how we're going to think of timeline. First biggest change, second biggest change, third biggest change and so forth.

Speaker 1: (11:10)

And the impact that each of those changes is leaving in its week. Now the trick here is understanding that sometimes those changes made don't necessarily align with your biggest need. Did you hear that? But it is super important that you always understand the purpose of your room, the purpose that you want your room to have so that you can understand what those needs are. And then we plugged them in to make the biggest impact. Let me give you an example of how that has played out for us. So when we moved into our home, 10 years ago, we moved into a community with a bunch of other homes that looked a lot like ours. And if you can imagine these homes have builder grade materials from lighting to mirrors to flooring, and the most generic room in the home was the boys' bathroom. It had sheep, brown laminate, flooring, brown cabinet, a ginormous mirror, generic lighting.

Speaker 1: (12:04)

You're getting the picture, right? Nothing was fancy within the room. And so when we moved in 10 years ago, we decided with the preschooler, a toddler and an infant let's do something fun. So we painted it a fun pop of green, like a, like a granny Smith green, and it served its purpose, but it overstate as welcome. And as the years went on and as I started understanding my aesthetic and starting putting words to my aesthetic, that room became tiresome to me, not just tiresome, but it turned into a room that I hated walking into. And that wasn't just because I have three boys. And as you can imagine, there might be a little bit more splatter hanging out in that room than otherwise. That was one reason why I didn't like it, but that's not, that's not the point. The point is it just didn't look and feel good.

Speaker 1: (12:53)

It, it felt not, it felt blah. It felt like it was tired and outdated and worn, and like it needed a facelift. And as, as I'm explaining to you that we need to understand the purpose of our room, the purpose of this room with being met, you could go potty in there. You could shower in there. You could wash your hands. Everything was functioning as it should. So the purpose was being met. We didn't really need any anchor pieces. We didn't really need anything big. We didn't need furniture pieces, right? What we needed was a facelift and those were all peripheral pieces. And so, as I'm thinking, what changes could be made, I started making a plan and I decided that I was going to change the flooring and I was going to do it myself to keep costs down. I was thinking about seeing how much it would cost to replace the laminate countertop.

Speaker 1: (13:44)

I was going to paint the cabinets, myself, remove the mirror, changed the lighting, do all those things in order to create change that would feel, make the room feel just more vibrant, more lively, more up-to-date more happy. And as I started making that plan and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, I was shocked at the amount of cost it was going to take in order to make those changes too much. It was just too much and too much for a room that was still going to be splattered on too much for a room that was still going to be not taken care of as well as I'd like it to buy three growing boys, maybe someday we'll invest a little bit more in better materials and better change. But right now we didn't need to do that. We needed just a facelift. And so I decided I was going to start with just painting the walls and do an experiment and see how that worked and what happened when I painted the walls, I actually painted them white.

Speaker 1: (14:37)

And some of you might be thinking, oh, blah, and boring. But what happened when those walls went from green to white was that I didn't actually hate the floors anymore. In fact, I, didn't not just hate them. I liked them. The white made the muddled brown and the kind of the cheap laminate flooring look good. And I accentuated that by adding a jute rug on top. And it just popped in a way that could not have with the color of the walls. I did end up painting the cabinets. I painted them kind of a grayish color. And I haven't gotten around to the laminate countertop. Maybe I'll do that. Maybe I'll do that. Soon. I took out the mirror, I put up two small round circular mirrors. It had some wood accents on it. So it complimented the jute rug. I added a bamboo shade and I changed that the lighting, all of those changes were facelift changes.

Speaker 1: (15:29)

All of those changes made a dramatic impact, but the white walls was mindblowing for me. And it wasn't just white. It was that the change of the color of the wall made the floor not look so hideous. It made the floor look more bearable. It made the floor feel like what was going to be a right now, Dyer. I need to change, make that change right now, decision into one that I don't think I need to change until my kids are grown, gone, or aim the better the point here isn't that you need to paint everything in your home. White. That would be beside the point. The point is that there are changes that you can make that make a dramatic impact, a ginormous impact that make an impact so big that sometimes the other items on your list don't need to be done. So how do you know what changes need to be made first?

Speaker 1: (16:23)

What changes need to be made next? And after that, okay, if you were with me on episode six, I want you to get up that piece of paper, that paper that identified what the purpose of your room is, but not only that, the anchor pieces within that room, the anchor pieces that you need and the anchor pieces that you want, the peripheral pieces that you need, and the proofer pieces that you want. Now, at this point, we are picking a monetary value and that monetary value is going to be our starting point. That's going to look very different for each person based on what we think we can allot right now at this moment to update some changes. Maybe that for you is $300. Maybe it is a thousand dollars, whatever it is for you. I want you to have that, that number in mind, and that's where we're going to start.

Speaker 1: (17:13)

And I don't want you to be discouraged if you know that the changes that you need to make within your room are going to exceed that initial starting point. It is just a starting point. So for the sake of today, in this example, I'm choosing a starting point of $500. So with that number, whatever that is for you, the first thing that you can do to make the biggest dramatic change within your home is to think about the walls. When we think about our home, in terms of anatomy, we can think about our walls and our flooring being the foundations and flooring of course, is going to sometimes break the bank. So going to focus our energy on updating the walls. So the least expensive change that you can make is paint. And that has been proven time and time again, for me, not only in that example of the home remodel, but with staging clients and home decorating clients that paint can dramatically impact your room so much that you might not need any other changes.

Speaker 1: (18:08)

You might be tickled pink with the changes that are made just for the coat of paint. So please don't underestimate that power. Now you might be happy with your paint, but you might still feel like your room is feeling a little bit tired. What about thinking about the foundation of your walls differently? What about updating it with some texture treatment while treatment like shiplap, like board and Batten, like wainscoting, like the geometric wall treatments that you see examples of on Pinterest. That's another example of, uh, of something that you can do to the walls in order to make dramatic impact. Of course, painting that on top of it is going to make extra impact. What if you didn't want to do that? Could you all paper? Absolutely. Um, because you are, are working on the foundation of your room, your wall or your floor in his case, your wall wallpaper would be a great start.

Speaker 1: (18:59)

Now I do want to caution you that wallpaper is not going to be as friendly on the wallet as paint would be. So keep that in mind. Now you may spend your entire, a lot of starting point budget right there, right on that first, most dramatic change. And if you do that's okay, this is a good place to pause. Rest, take a break, see the impact of that change and then start saving for the next bit. But what happens if you didn't need to make any changes in that first spot? That's okay. You've skipped to the next thing. So when you have either the budget for the next most dramatic impact change, or you have a little bit remaining, you're ready to move on to the next piece. And that next piece is going to be window treatments. What do I mean by window treatments, window treatments or anything that dresser windows.

Speaker 1: (19:47)

Sometimes it is as simple as having a wood wrapped window. Sometimes it is a shade or a blind, a Roman shade, a curtain, a valance, something along those lines. Now I do want to mention two examples of window treatments that have stayed in the nineties. And that is the valance and the vertical blinds. Now, if you are listening to this and you think, oh crap, I have a valance or a vertical blind or both. I don't want you to worry about it. But what I do want you to think about is one, two things. One, do you like them? And if you do great, keep them, but the other is, if you are walking into that room and you think, gosh, something feels off, it might be those things because stylistically speaking, we've moved beyond those two window treatments. So why are window treatments so important?

Speaker 1: (20:38)

That's a really good question. And I'm so glad you asked window treatments, add depth, layers, texture, color, contrast. They add so much extra finishing details to a space that having them, them being the windows left empty are kind of like getting ready for a date and being naked. Of course, sometimes those dates are fun, but when you're going out to a restaurant, you are not going to want to be naked, right? You are going to, maybe you're going to pick out your nice dress and you're not going to put your nice dress with tennis shoes. You're not going to put your nice dress and put all the effort into your outfit and the pretty little bracelet and the heels now. And you're not going to put all of that effort and then leave your hair undone, right? You're going to do your hair too. And you might even throw on some makeup and if not, makeup, at least look gloss.

Speaker 1: (21:31)

So all of those are adding the complete date night, look, package right there, making it so that you have that little oomph that completed look, window treatments can be the same way they add that. Completed touch, that signup piece that make the room feel layered and textural. I'm not going to get into the idea of what window treatments are right for you. Um, that's a topic for discussion and a lengthy one at that. But if you are interested, I will put in the show notes, a link to how to choose the right curtains for you. And you can watch that, or you can read that blog. Okay. So the first thing, the first dramatic impact change is, is the wall. The foundation of the wall. The second is window treatments. What happens after that? Let's say you don't have to do any of those two things.

Speaker 1: (22:23)

Awesome. You're just skipping anything within that framework that doesn't fit your plan, your needs, your anchor pieces, your peripherals, that you have laid out that you need happening in your room. And same thing with the budget. If you've met that budget, if you have exceeded that budget, okay, now we're taking a break and we're going to sit with the changes that we've made. Sometimes sitting with those changes is enough. And I can't stress that enough. Sometimes you're going to make those two changes and you're going to think, great. I can be done and great if you think that you can be done, but sometimes making those changes can motivate you to save a little bit more for the next impact change within the framework. And that would be lighting. Think about the home that you moved into. Think about the lighting that it came with.

Speaker 1: (23:09)

And when I'm talking about lighting, I am talking about the anchored lighting. I'm talking about the overhead lighting. How does that work for you? Is it something that was builder grade hasn't been changed out? Is it your style? Is it your aesthetic changing of the light fixture can have a dramatic impact. One that doesn't necessarily, or always have to have a direct correlation to a large dent in your pocket book, but it also can create ambient lighting, which is wonderful. Now your table lamps and your floor lamps, those are more of the peripheral item. What I want you to think about now for that dramatic change is just the overhead lighting. Can you do this yourself? It depends. Should you hire out? It depends. Think about realistically, what is your skill level? What is your skill set? How well you follow the directions and the propensity for accidents you have.

Speaker 1: (24:02)

So I'm not going to recommend that you do it yourself. I'm not going to recommend that you shouldn't do it yourself, but it can be, if you have the skill, if you have the talent, if you have someone walking you through, it can be something that you try on your own being sure. Of course, to follow all of the safety guidelines. Okay. So recap really quickly. Biggest impact change. First is the foundation of your walls. The next biggest impact change are the window treatments. After that, the lighting, and here we go here are where the anchor pieces come into play again, like, like I've already said before, some of these are going to apply to you and some of them aren't your biggest anchor pieces might be perfect in your room. You might not need to make any changes. Some of you might need to change those anchor pieces.

Speaker 1: (24:50)

But what I want you to prioritize is the largest anchor piece to the smallest. For example, in my living room, I might have a couch that is my largest anchor piece. I might have my side chairs. I might have my coffee table. I might have my side tables. And that is me arranging my anchor pieces from largest to smallest. The largest anchor piece down to the smallest anchor piece is going to make the largest impact down to the smallest impact. When you make those changes, after you do the anchor pieces, you're going to do the textiles and you're going to actually start with your smallest textiles, like your pillows, your throw blankets, you're then going to move to your largest textiles, which might be your area rug. Making those changes are going to soften the room. They're going to add layers to the room and depth to the room.

Speaker 1: (25:42)

After that, you're going to do your peripherals and you're going to do, and these peripherals are the holes within the space. So maybe you need table lamps, floor, lamps, wall, hangings, artwork, books, chotchkies plants, baskets, whatever those peripherals are for you, filling in those holes where you think those holes need to be filled in, are going to make the biggest impact first. So there you have it. There's the format, the sequence of biggest impact change to lowest impact change that you can be making when you create that timeline. When you think about the timeline in terms of dramatic change and what should happen first, second, third, instead of timeline, like I need a deadline within the next six months when he pair that new phrase timeline with the purpose of your room, you have the makings for a budget. That's my formula purpose. Plus timeline equals budget.

Speaker 1: (26:36)

I want you guys to make sure you ask me questions. I know that felt like a lot. I know that it felt like there's so much more that you can unpack. So I want to invite you to my Facebook community, where you can ask those questions where we can continue the conversation so that you have your questions answered so that you can dive a little bit deeper and you can have the accountability that moves you forward into creating a home that you love. And if you are at all interested in joining the group of women in September, where we walk through 10 weeks of handholding and guidance in order to get you from start to finish working through all of this together, creating your list of highest impact, because your list of highest impact is going to be different than my list. Then Susie's list, then Janet's list.

Speaker 1: (27:23)

It's going to be different for everyone. And so if you would like my eyes on that list for you, if you would like my eyes, helping you, guiding you every step along the way from start to finish, creating the room that you love. I want you to email me Fagin so that you can get on the list today. And I'll send you all the information you need so that we can get started the first week of September after labor day, when my kiddos are back in school. And one more thing before we go today, we talked about the biggest impact change you could make in your room. The thing that could elevate the room, the thing that is going to make the most dramatic change, and that is paint. I stand by that, but I also have four other secrets. And those secrets, if you want those, you can find them at bit dot L Y forward slash five.

Speaker 1: (28:09)

The number five home secrets, I have five. So the first one is paint. And then there are four more. And I want you to think about making, if you are ready to make some changes, but you're not quite ready to do some of these things we talked about today because it is a lot. I understand it is a lot. If you are ready to make some change, go check out those other four. I think you'll be glad that you did and tag me at fig and farm on Instagram so that I can see what some of those changes are that you made, because I'm rooting for you. I'm in your corner. And I want nothing more than for you to create a home that you love coming home to. All right, I'll see you soon. Hey,

Speaker 2: (28:50)

Real quick, before you go, if you learned something new or found value in today's podcast, would you head over to iTunes, to fig and farm at home and leave a review and subscribe to the show? That would be awesome. And if you'd like to connect with my community of mamas who are learning to be intentional storytellers within their own homes, join us at bit dot L Y forward slash design 1 0 1 group. There's always more room at the table. See you soon.

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