Q&A: How to Budget for a Renovation + More of Your Interior Design Questions

Wow, it’s been so long since I did a Q&A post! My last one was about our chickens, but usually I like to keep them decor-related. Today’s series of questions were submitted via Instagram Stories, but you can always send me an email or DM on any social platform. I love sharing answers to your decor questions because it really just makes my job easier. AND you get information that you actually need and want. So let’s dig into today’s Q&A post!

You Asked, I Answered: Your Questions about Decor, Home Renovation Budgets, Lighting & More!

Which floor lamps are stylish and useful?

I absolutely LOVE floor lamps, especially arc lamps. I’ve shared a ton of resources for lighting, so check out these posts:

I’ll work on a few more posts specifically about lighting, too, since I got a lot of questions about that topic!

What is the best way to pick out standalone lighting (floor lamps, table lamps) for a room?

I typically select my lighting toward the end of the design process because I want to get my anchor pieces in first (i.e. sofa, dining table, bed, etc). I also consider the finishes in the room on the furniture and hardware, then pick either a complementary or matching finish. Next, I evaluate my lighting needs by asking a few questions:

  • Do I need a flush mount or do I have room for a pendant or chandelier?
  • If there is no overhead lighting, do I want to add some with a floor lamp or arc lamp?
  • Where does it make the most sense to put table lamps?
  • Can I use a floor lamp to fill in an awkward corner?

From there, I’ll know what my shopping list for lighting is and can go from there.

Shutters vs blinds vs curtains. When, how and why!

Personally, I am a curtains person 100% of the time. I love the way they can visually lengthen a room and make it feel taller. I also just find them to be the easiest way to open/close whenever I feel like it.

We have Roman shades in our bedroom because we needed something less obtrusive since it’s such a small space. There literally wasn’t room for curtains! We also wanted to have blackout functionality, so the shades were a good fit here.

I usually don’t love blinds because they are just annoying. I always get them tangled, they always break, etc. The only time I had some that I liked were the ones in my loft because they were remote controlled!

Lastly, don’t be afraid to mix your blinds/shades with curtains for a curated, layered look that is great for blocking light pollution at night.

How do you approach a room design?

When designing a space, I always start with Pinterest, of course! Typically, I start a secret pinboard that is dedicated to each project, then add whatever inspiration feels right for the space. From there, I can usually see similarities and themes that help to further define the design plan.

I also use a tool called Homestyler to actually plan where furniture and decor will go. Not only is it free, but it comes pre-loaded with items that you can drop into the floor plan and adjust the dimensions. I’ve used this to plan our bedroom, living room, dining room, and even our backyard! Also, any time I think about bringing in a new piece of furniture or simply moving furniture around in the bungalow, I pull up my old design plans in Homestyler and use it to virtually assess if I should put the effort in or not. It’s such a HUGE timesaver!

How deep would you recommend floating shelves be in a kitchen?

Typically, floating shelves in a kitchen should be 10-12″ because you may want to store dinner plates on them. Ours are actually quite shallow, measuring 6″ because we didn’t want them to be obtrusive and too large for the space. I also knew that they’d be for display purposes mostly, so shallower shelves was fine with me. Plus, they align perfectly with our hood, so I love them! See our full kitchen renovation reveal to check out the floating shelves more.

I’m buying a new house. How do I pick wall colors that will be cohesive?

One of my biggest regrets when I bought #mytinybungalow was not painting it before I moved in. Not only was it a pain in the butt to move furniture after the fact so I could paint, but the walls were just gross. Also, if you’re buying an old house, chances are there is a weird, old house smell. A fresh coat of paint on all of the walls will help get rid of that!

In terms of wall colors, I highly suggest going with a clean white paint to start (here are tips for picking a white paint!). It took me a while to really feel out the vibe of the house and what was right for the space, so starting with white was a great place to start. I know it’s boring, but I’ve found that starting with a blank slate meant that I didn’t make a decision I regretted later.

How do you budget for a home renovation and decor?

When it comes to our home renovation budget, being organized and a Type A planner is key. I typically plan my bigger renovation projects wayyy in advance and found that this helps us to save money in the long run. For example, our kitchen was in the planning stages for about 2 years before I even shared before photos here on the blog! I spent a lot of time considering materials, product selections, and finishes to make sure that my design plan is feasible. A lot of the time, it’s a trade-off of compromising on something more affordable so that we can get the one thing that is more of a splurge.

Additionally, for your reference I broke down the budget for our entire kitchen renovation. It’s also worth noting that I am incredibly lucky to be an influencer and be in a position to receive gifted

Ceiling lighting that’s not the living worst?

HA. Ok, this cracked me up. Ceiling lighting is SO tricky, especially because we all want to avoid the dreaded boob lamp! I’m going to do a dedicated blog post about this because I don’t know you and your home’s style, so I want to offer lots of options. Keep an eye out for that!

How to decorate a space above a steam system radiator? I’m lost, have 500 of them in my house.

I don’t have any of these style radiators in our home, but I immediately thought of House of Brinson. They have tons of old school radiators and have seamlessly blended them into their decor. It seems like they have 2 strategies: place a shelf slightly above the radiator, thus creating a surface to style OR painting the radiator to match the wall color so it blends in. The living room is a great example.

Hinges that aren’t cheap?

We use these matte black hinges and I love the quality!

BTW don’t miss my other Q&A posts… there are quite a few:

To submit more questions about keeping and taking care of backyard chickens, leave them in a comment on this post, shoot me an email, or DM me on Instagram!

Photography by Danfredo Photos + Films.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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