There are as many different ways to think about home remodeling as there are remodelers. Some people sit down with a pen and a notebook and begin to sketch out the design of their dreams. Other people get up and walk, marking off new rooms with their feet as they visualize them in their heads. Still others create three-dimensional models out of cardboard or clay, moving pieces into position as if they were playing with a child’s dollhouse.
Today, however, we’re going to look at virtual resources: the computer programs, photo software, and other resources that can help you design the remodel you’ve always wanted.
There are two primary methods of using virtual resources to remodel your home. The first way is to create an architectural-style blueprint. This gives you an overhead view of your current home layout as well as the changes you hope to create during the remodel. When you’re making a blueprint, you’re most focused on proportion and scale; you want to make sure the kitchen counters give you enough traffic space, or the planned bedroom addition does not encroach upon a neighbor’s property line.
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The second method of using virtual resources to remodel your home is what we’ll call the “magazine collage” technique. This is where you search for images of finished products — the marble countertop, the claw-foot bathtub, the four-poster bed — and arrange them together to make sure the elements all fit. With this type of virtual design, you’re worrying less about scale and size and more about harmony and cohesion. Does everything in this room look like it belongs together? Would you want to spend time in this space?
The best thing about both of these methods is that you already have the virtual software built into your computer. Just grab your Paint, Photoshop, or image software and start designing. (If you don’t have any image software currently installed on your computer or laptop, try one of these free options to get started.)
If you’re trying to create a top-down blueprint, start by putting a grid onto your background layer. This grid will help keep everything to scale. Decide, for example, that one square on the grid will equal one square foot.
Then make a new layer, and map out your current home and yard. If you do not know your home’s measurements, it’s time to get out the measuring tape and put things together.
Once this layer is complete, make a new layer and start drawing in the changes you hope to make. With your grid still in place, you can plan reasonably accurate measurements for your new remodel.
This type of blueprint is also a great tool for communicating with your professional remodeling or construction company. They can take your initial design and use it to build out a full design on their professional virtual software — as the team behind construction software Procore notes, “managing, sharing, and revising project drawings” is essential to a successful remodel project.
You can also show your construction team the other virtual images you’ve been making — the collages of floor treatments, tile textures, wall colors, and other rich images you’ve been collecting. By using your computer’s copy and paste function to collage together your “dream room” out of online photos, you can communicate much more than you ever could by saying “I’d like this space to have a warm, rich feel.” Don’t say — show.
Virtual design is a great way to figure out what you want out of your upcoming home remodel and communicate your desires to your construction and design team. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all — and with a few good pictures, you barely need to explain anything at all! Use these tips to get started on the initial stages of your virtual design; then work with a team to make your plans come true.