Have you been looking for interior design consultations online?

I normally do 2-hour onsite design consultations, and just recently started offering 1-hour interior design consultations online—both for a fee. I charge for my consults because I know I give so much value to my clients—we often discuss furniture layouts, renovation ideas, paint palettes—the works.

But because I know many people are figuring out how to improve their home spaces these days, when we are all quarantined, I decided to offer interior design consultations online.

My very first interior design consultation online was with Amanda, a yoga practitioner who also works as a content specialist for a yoga website.

I’ll be sharing with you below each step of the consultation process, to give you an idea of how I conduct these consults, and what you may take away from them.

laptop on side table with flowers

Part 1: Introduce yourself and your lifestyle.

We first started our consult by getting to know Amanda, what she does, and how she uses her space.

As I said above, Amanda is a yoga practitioner.

She currently lives in her childhood bedroom, which she previously shared with her sister. Their house is a few decades old and hasn’t been renovated in quite a while.

She has removed all major pieces of furniture (such as a bed and freestanding cabinets) because she needs to use the small space to practice yoga. She is also quite comfortable sleeping on the floor, and only lays down a yoga mat when she goes to sleep.

Part 2: Outline your dilemmas.

Because Amanda is normally on the floor, she is used to having her often-used items on the floor next to her.

When she is working, she sits on the floor but uses a stool or chair as a laptop table. This clearly poses posture problems for her.

She also just hangs up clothes she wants to wear on the wall-hung shelves that she used to share with her sister. Most of the items on this high shelf aren’t used at all, so she is wondering if she can do without them.

Because their home hasn’t been renovated in quite a while, her wallpapered walls are showing obvious signs of wear and tear. Her cabinets need to be replaced too, because she is unable to maximize their use.

The bedroom floor requires replacement, as there are obvious damages from water leaks.

Lastly, her ceiling still carries an old, ’70s construction feature: a spackled “popcorn” ceiling that was mainly used for acoustical purposes.

Now Amanda mentioned that she didn’t have that big a budget for a home remodel, so if she were to update her room, it has to be as low-cost as possible.

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Part 3: Brainstorm solutions for your dilemmas.

For the remaining part of my interior design consultations online, I try to come up with solutions to solve my client’s home dilemmas. Below are the ideas I gave to Amanda to consider.

1. Address structural issues

There were obviously some structural issues she needed to look into further First, I asked her to investigate the cause of the water leaks, and as soon as quarantine is lifted, that she have it addressed immediately.

things on damaged floor

Second, she has the option to replace the singular overhead tube light with recessed downlights. If budget permits, she may also replace the ceiling completely with flat gypsum-board ceiling, for a cleaner, and easier-to-maintain surface.

singular tube light on popcorn ceiling

Third, removing the old and damaged wallpaper would greatly improve the look of her bedroom. I suggested—after quarantine is lifted of course—that she hold a painting party with friends.

damaged wallpaper in old bedroom

She just needs to remove the wallpaper with a few tools, prep the walls for painting, and repaint the walls in one day. She can pick an uncomplicated, neutral wall color, in keeping with the minimalist, “Zen” look that her work (and hobby) requires.

2. Add lighting sources

Because she is always on the floor—sleeping on the floor wasn’t something she was looking to change anytime soon—she needs lighting that is much lower and closer to the floor as well.

A floor lamp that may be adjustable could be a good option for her, so that she has adequate lighting below. Layering lighting in any space is also one way of making a room feel warmer, more welcoming, and homey.

chrome floor lamp with black marble base
Floor lamp from Home Cartel

3. Put her “main” piece of furniture centered.

I normally advise against pushing all big pieces of furniture against the wall, but because Amanda’s lifestyle (and profession) requires her to practice yoga often, I said her yoga mat needs to be dead-smack in the center of the room.

woman on yoga mat in center of room
Photo from Pexels

This means that all other furniture pieces—I knew she needed storage, and a desk—had to be pushed back against the room’s four walls.

I explained further below what she can do on each wall.

4. Remove the blue shelf and replace with wall-hung coat hooks.

Amanda didn’t need a wall shelf for books or other displays (she preferred having her books and small items not so high up on the wall). So it makes sense to simply just do away with the shelves.

blue cluttered shelves with clothes on hangers

But because she was so used to hanging up clothes on hangers, I suggested using wall-hung coat hooks instead.

two pairs of jeans on clothes hangers, hung on wall
Photo by Mica Asato from Pexels

She can even install the hooks in an up-and-down pattern (forming two-layered Vs on the wall, for example), to give the clothes hooks a “wall art” look.

wall-mounted hooks
Wall-mounted wooden hooks from Shopee

5. Have a long sideboard custom-made to populate one wall.

To keep her small items, books, and even a hamper for used clothes, I told Amanda she can have a long sideboard (a freestanding low cabinet) fabricated.

I suggested a custom-made piece so that she can determine what items to put in each module of the cabinet—including a clothes hamper.

This way, the items that normally clutter her floor are all hidden away behind closed cabinet doors.

If having such a furniture piece is too costly for her, she can purchase an inexpensive cabinet with adjustable interior shelves.

buffet cabinet
Cabinet from Mandaue Foam

6. Remove her wardrobe’s doors and its interior shelves.

old bedroom wardrobe and dresser

Amanda prefers being able to see most of her clothes, and hanging them up. So the interior shelves of her wardrobe weren’t being utilized as much as she thought she should.

open wardrobe
Photo by Victoria Borodinova from Pexels

Removing the doors not only fulfills her preference, but also gets rid of the faulty doors that she cannot even fully close.

Another option is to remove the wardrobe and dresser entirely, and simply replace it with a clothes rack with shoe shelves underneath. This is because open storage for clothes forces one to keep one’s belongings always organized—perfect for someone wanting to live a minimalist lifestyle.

7. Install a wall-mounted dropleaf table as a desk.

Amanda mentioned that instead of sitting, she wants to explore the use of a standing desk. However, buying an actual standing desk is out of her budget.

I recommended a dropleaf table instead, which she could install at bar height. This would give her the option of either working on her laptop while standing, or while seated on a barstool (or an adjustable office chair that she can extend to full height).

wall-mounted white dropleaf table with chairs
Dropleaf table from Ikea

The ability to fold it down when not being used is also ideal, especially for very tight spaces.

Definite plan = design confidence

At the end of our interior design consultation online, I asked Amanda what she thought of my ideas. With a definite plan in place, Amanda felt more confident about what to do to give her bedroom its much-needed upgrade.

“I feel secure and reassured talking to Camyl, she’s such a versatile pro and an endlessly creative spirit.

She understood off the bat the unique design problem my bedroom presented, plus my individual needs and wants out of this particular space. Her construction and style suggestions were extremely on point and suited to my aesthetic.”

Amanda, Quezon City

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