'We're at a fascinating point in the evolution of the interior design process. Interior design professionals once ruled the roost, but that's all changed with design TV, blogs and the Internet,' says Elaine Griffin, New York interior designer and author of 'Design Rules.' 'Clients today are well educated and have taken back the power. They're so knowledgeable that they're doing it themselves.'
Assuming the role of designer doesn't have to be intimidating. Griffin offers a few expert tips for taking your home design into your own hands and creating a custom space that's perfectly personalized:
* Research and check twice
Taking the time to properly research and educate yourself is important so you get beautiful results without unwanted surprises. 'You want to know what your options are in terms of price, value, quality, design and style,' says Griffin. 'What's returnable? What's not? Sometimes custom means you buy it, you own it. Do your research.' Griffin also suggests being cautious when measuring. 'Always measure twice, buy once,' she says. 'That's the first place where DIYers fall short. You only have one option when you're going custom - just right. Scaled drawings should be involved.'
* Customize visible features
Griffin suggests investing in highly visible features of your home. 'Like in the bathroom, you can focus on something that's focal-point-worthy, like the KOHLER Artifacts faucet collection. It's a piece that just belongs to you,' she says. Artifacts collection allows you to create a custom faucet by choosing from a variety of spouts, handles and finishes for a look that's all your own.
Window treatments and lamp shades are other highly visible features of the home that are too often ignored. Updating these features can instantly breathe new personality into a room. 'Lamp shades deliver great bang for the buck; remember you always want to take the lamp with you when shopping,' Griffin suggests.
* Customize color
'It's all about the customization of color,' says Griffin. 'It's not just about a color palette for personality, it's about having that shade that no one else has.' Numerous paint manufacturers offer technology that allows you to provide a fabric swatch or other color sample and they'll recommend a custom hue for you.
* Salvage and tell
Using salvaged materials in a renovation isn't only green, it's also a chance to incorporate your family's history. 'When you're remodeling, always look for pieces to salvage: timbers from old floors, side tables, etc,' says Griffin. 'We've always loved our heirlooms, but now we're looking at recycled and salvaged stuff in a different light. We have a green eco-conscious, so we want to save what we can.'
* Don't overlook the ceiling
'The ceiling is the second biggest real estate after the floor - don't neglect it!' stresses Griffin. 'Especially in small or awkward spaces - like the foyer, powder room, stair hall - do something sexy with your ceiling. Add a striking color, install wallpaper, add beams.'
When it comes to customized design, the sky is the limit. Expect 2014 to be the year when homeowners take charge and create spaces that truly speak to them from a functional and design perspective. With these expert tips, the one-of-a-kind results will be nothing short of magazine-worthy.