This was a fun reader request post asking, “When is a room finished?” How do you tell? Is it ever really finished? Is the goal to create a finished space you won’t touch again for years to come? I’m diving into this question and am sharing my personal opinion. Click through if you’re interested to hear my thoughts on when a room is finished, my goals for finishing spaces, what that in-between phase is like, and how to determine when a space is actually done.
If you would’ve asked me this question a few years ago, I would’ve quickly answered, “A room is never finished!” While I still halfway believe that to be true, I’ve kind of changed my tune… it’s not so black and white in my brain anymore. I think the answer to this question is situational, dependent on your personality, home, and probably looks a little different for all of us.
Our previous home was small, ever changing, and I was constantly restyling things in an effort to scratch my creative itch. I only had so many spaces to play with because of our limited square footage. That’s exactly why I would’ve answered the question in that way- stating passionately that a room is never really finished because I was living in an ever-changing and multi-functioning environment. Sometimes rooms had two or three purposes. That house had to work REALLY hard for our needs at any given time and we were making the most of every square inch of our home. That was a good thing!
I think my goal is always to renovate a space with timeless architectural features, fixtures, and finishes in mind, knowing you can always make small updates as you see fit. In my previous home office, I actually designed the built-ins to ensure either a desk or a full sized bed could fit in the center space, already anticipating that room to someday change or multitask for us. Swap out accessories, update furniture as your style evolves or years pass, and change the paint the color if you get the itch to dramatically change a room you’ve previously renovated. As long as the “bones” are good, I feel comfortable and happy making easy adjustments and updates as needed.
Our current home is fun in an entirely different way, and my vision of “finished” isn’t quite the same. I can go weeks without venturing into a specific room (like a guest room) because our house is pretty large. Therefore my goal is to create spaces that feel more finalized and have longevity. In regards to spaces that we don’t use often (like guest bedrooms), I’d like those to be more permanent post renovation.
I don’t want to swap furniture multiple times in spaces we don’t use often, like a guest room. My mentality has shifted to planning and designing for the long haul in those type of spaces, hopefully saving us time and money. Therefore, these rooms feel more finished in my mind, and are less likely to change. Does that mean I won’t get the itch to swap furniture, restyle something, trade out some textiles, or find a vintage piece I can’t live without that causes me to shift things around? Of course not! You know me better than that, at this point.
In rooms we do use often- like our formal living room, for example, I swapped out three large pieces of furniture and an area rug. It’s already looking quite different and is a project I just “finished” only a year ago. Our house evolves with us- we needed to shuffle some furniture to our office building (because we’re finally adding a team member!), and setting up a creative work environment there has affected some of our main living spaces at home. My point? Circumstances change, your style evolves, and your home can be whatever you need it to be.
Some rooms in our home are “finished for now”, based on future plans, our savings account, and budgeting for long-term home goals. Take our basement media room for example, someday we’re planning to rework the entire floor plan to make better use of the space. I’m talking close in and move windows, relocate the basement kitchen to make room for a game table, and to better position our utility closet. It’s going to require a lot of planning, time, and money. It’s not something we’ll be tackling anytime soon. When that days comes, it’s going to be really amazing, but in the meantime- we gave the space a little makeover with paint, textiles, and styling. It’s “finished for now”, works for our current needs, but isn’t our longterm vision for this space.
I suppose my final answer is this… a space is as finished as you’d like it to be.
If crossing off your to-do list and ending with a room that is totally “finished” makes you happy, then consider it done. The only thing I’ve switched in our guest bathroom is the towels, and that was the very first space we renovated in our home. If ending a project bums you out, or you enjoy experimenting, being creative in your home, or your style or circumstances change- maybe you consider it “finished for now.” Maybe we don’t even need to label it? I call it done after we’ve renovated, but I also give myself the freedom to change it however I like, whenever I like. I guess in my mind, “finished” means the major renovation and construction components of a room are completed (the millwork, architectural elements, the flooring, the lighting, etc).
I’ve shared plenty of room reveals over the years that have changed multiple times since posting that “finished” version of the space. That feels natural to me because I believe that our home grows and changes with us. I also currently live in a larger house where I’m more apt to restyle spaces we use frequently and leave spaces alone that aren’t as important (like guest rooms). Perhaps that is because I get bored and styling is a bit of a therapy for me? The spaces I see and use often are more fun to switch up and restyle from time-to-time because I like that creative change and challenge. Regardless.. what I’m trying to say here is: you decide when a space is finished in your home, and what that definition means to you.
I think a lot of people fixate on renovating a space and put unnecessary pressure on themselves to “get it right” the first time around because once it’s done- it’s done. The big elements definitely matter and it isn’t always ideal, easy, or within the budget to change those right away- but it can be done. Give yourself a little wiggle room for the space to evolve and change as you need it to- especially in small ways. That’s my philosophy anyway!
Ok- you know I want to hear your thoughts on when a room is finished in the comment section below! Are you the type of person that likes to switch things up? Or do you prefer to make updates or renovate with the intent to leave that room as is for years to come?
I was on a phone call with my mother last week and she said a crazy thing (well- I guess it sounded crazy to me). We were talking about window treatments, as I had just blogged about the ones in my home office. She wants to get new window treatments for her living room and said, “These window treatments have to be right, and if I’m going to spend money on them- they better last and look nice until I die.” I thought she was joking so I laughed, but she was serious! I was thinking, “WHOA… pump the brakes, lady.” That is a lot of pressure and kind of a bleak outlook, but everybody has different preferences and goals for their home. It’s your home to “finish” as you see fit. Interesting topic, right?! All of the reader requests and posts submissions have been really fun so far! I can’t wait to chat further and tackle more of your burning design and interior questions. What are your thoughts?