Design Dilemma Part 2

Last week we looked at a few questions from a stay-at-home mother of three in Indiana, who reached out to me with a design dilemma. Some questions are easy to answer, but over time, we often find a trend underlying what we want to know.

Design dilemma #3: How do I pick the right size rug for my living room? I thought I knew, but it’s off.

If you have multiple seating zones in your living room, the best way to determine the size of a rug is to measure the area such that either the furniture fits all its legs on the rug or each piece’s front legs on the carpet.

Another approach is to measure the square footage of the room and reduce it by a set border, say two feet from the wall. For an exceptionally large room, this may lead to a big cost jump and might end up with some awkward or unbalanced furniture placement.

They say you can layer a smaller rug over a larger one if the space you need to cover is so large that a decorative rug becomes cost-prohibitive. I understand the reasoning here, but the small rug still needs to be anchored somehow with a piece of furniture or a zone. In that case, I would rather skip the rug altogether and know it’s okay.

In contrast, I know someone who took out all her carpet and gradually placed small doormats every place she walks in her house. We need to be aware of why we want to do it before we do it and take the time to shop well and prudently with our and our family’s interests in mind rather than so-called design rules.

Wool rugs are the most expensive. Rugs can be purchased second-hand in-person or online from Etsy or new from companies like RugsUSA. It might surprise you how affordable a natural fiber like sisal, low-pile or indoor/outdoor rug is. Indoor/outdoor rugs have the added benefit of being easy to clean.

Design Dilemma #4: I’m the only one doing the work. Should I just hire someone? I save time if I do, and I save money if I do it myself. So it’s the time or money I’m stuck between.

Last week, I discussed these considerations in the cost-benefit analysis of any project’s time and financial demands. They bear repeating.

  • How much do you hate the way it looks now?
  • How much work does it take to achieve the desired outcome?
  • Can you do the work ourselves, or is it outside your skill set?
  • Do you have time to do what you know how to do or learn a new skill and complete the project?
  • How much does it cost to outsource labor? 
  • What materials are involved? Are they worth the effort of restoration?

Each project can be ranked based on the answers to these questions. Outside your skill set means it costs more in time. Depending on your circumstances, it may be worth it to pay someone to do it.

If you hate the way it is now and need it to change so you don’t groan every time you walk by, then a shortcut fix may be called for. So long as no safety questions are involved, it’s okay to plan on a shortcut while planning the whole and thorough project in the future.

The only right answer is the one that is based on the answers to the above questions and your stage of life. It doesn’t matter what so-and-so in your life says you should do. The only perfect way forward is the one that works for you/your household, your house, and the project itself.

And whether or not to hire out.

There are some jobs we can learn to do, there are some jobs that are going to be outside our skill set without extensive training or might be dangerous.

There are some jobs we’re perfectly capable of doing but don’t have the time for or that we are perfectly capable of doing but hate it to no end.

Then there are the jobs we love. For these, we don’t even ask ourselves. We know that we will do it ourselves.

Knowing that you’re the only one who will be able to do the work, it’s worth it to give all new projects to try or research the ones that would require considerable learning and see if you’re interested in learning more. We are usually capable of doing more than we realize. We only need the push to do it. 

Generational perspective

We live in a world where great-grandparents built their barns or tables, placed their plumbing, doing every scrap work themselves come hell or high water, while now many a millennial hire someone to change out a light fixture or hang a shelf.

When a person doesn’t grow up seeing their parents or grandparents that these projects or saw strict gender division in the jobs that were done, it can be hard to feel like the skills are accessible to us.

Consider the above questions. Do your research. Be prudent with the budget. And give it a go.

Leave a Reply