Planning a Room Makeover – start with a list


bookcases built in around a door

{House Beautiful}

When I’m getting ready to tackle a room makeover, I start with a list of things I want to accomplish, big and small. I like to put mine in a casual outline format in a notebook. No special order, just a collection of ideas, inspiration, design and plan.



Here is the one I started for our family room renovation in progress:

Room:  Family Room (before)

Comfort Works slipcover, living room, beach theme

Function:  Watching tv/movies, entertaining, family game night, kids’ hang out, studying, crafts, puzzles, reading, etc. 


  • Empty the room
  • Patch and sand walls
  • Vacuum
  • Wipe down walls
  • Clean windows

Color scheme/ideas (even just words help develop a direction for your design)

  • Vacation photos
  • Comfortable farmhouse, eclectic
  • Neutrals with navy and turquoise accents
  • Subtle beach cottage feel


  • remove baseboards
  • bamboo – distressed, wide plank, antique java (
  • new area rug 

bamboo floor

  • paint
  • board and batten or plank wall feature
  • framed windows
  • built in bookcases
bookcases built in around a door

{House Beautiful}

  • replace
  • prime and paint
  • frame windows
  • board and batten
board and batten at Pretty Handy Girl

board and batten tutorial at Pretty Handy Girl


  • flat finish, paint
  • Lamps from master bedroom
  • New ceiling fan/light fixture (palm leaf blades) or love this one: 

ceiling fan

Wouldn’t it be super cool to swap out/choose a fun fabric?
I’d love a design your own option! A DIY Show Off original. 😛
  • Slip covered sofa 

Comfort Works slip cover detailing, ruffle

  • Find end tables (thrift store)
  • Paint console table/plant stand
  • Build console table for behind sofa
  • Paint/repurpose table in basement for work space/game area
  • Buy bar stools for work space area
  • Spools – DIY coffee table project
do it yourself spool side table

{Ballard Designs}

  • Paint thrift store found school desks?
  • New tv – hang on wall
  • Frame
  • Keep existing wood blinds (stain?)
  • Drapes – DIY?
drop cloth curtains

{No sew drop cloth curtains}

  • Curtain rods
French doors: 
  • paint
  • frosted glass panels 
  • new door knobs/pulls
  • Curtains
  • Accent Pillows
  • Area rug 
Furniture Layout: I roughly sketch ideas in my notebook and have an eye for judging size, but you can be more specific using measurements and graph paper. 
Measurements: I measure areas I plan on working on. For example: baseboards, windows for drapes, square footage for flooring and paint, etc. 
  • Gets a TON of light – take our plants into consideration.
  • Gather paint swatches and fabric samples or magazine pages.
family room inspiration

{source unknown}

  • Write down website urls, blogs, Pinboard or design board ( to refer to.
  • Keep receipts filed with notes.  

I prioritize from my to-do list. I knew I wanted to paint the ceiling first, before the floor installation. Floor installation was next and this week, I’ll be painting. Until I decide for sure what I’m doing with the walls, I will paint all of the wall. Then I’ll move onto baseboard and window trim and plans for plank walls (Mr. DIY’s vote) or a board and batten treatment. (Then more painting!)

Not every item on the list makes it to completion as I often change my mind due to budget or style but dream big. It’s easier to have the ideas listed and cross off what won’t make the do-it-yourself project list than it is to remember what you had planned. 

I keep my notebook within easy reach so that when an idea comes to me, I can jot down a note. I also grab it on the go. Having measurements and swatches on hand is helpful for last minute detours and shopping.

Do you have any additional tips for starting with a list?

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