With the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge quickly approaching, I thought I’d put together a post of tips I learned from my first challenge last fall. If you’re not familiar with the One Room Challenge, it is a bi-annual design event that takes place every April + October. Over the course of six weeks, 20 featured designers along with a ton of guest participants work to makeover one room in their home. Every Thursday, everyone involved posts an update of any progress that’s been made. The last day is the big reveal. One of my favorite aspects of this event is that it’s not looked at as a competition- it’s definitely a supportive community where everyone cheers each other on!
I participated for the first time last Fall, and it was a lot of fun. Before starting, I was worried that the restrictions on my budget, time, and resources would prevent me from creating a design that people would find interesting enough to post about. I decided to just go for it anyway, and I’m so glad I did! I made over our master bedroom, and it didn’t take me long to realize that you don’t need a ton of money to create something beautiful! As long you as you plan ahead and get creative - you can totally do this challenge! Keep reading for some tips I put together!
TIPS + ADVICE FOR YOUR FIRST ONE ROOM CHALLENGE:
1. PLAN AHEAD. If you’re anything like me and like to change up your design about 10 times before you actually settle on it, then definitely start planning this ahead of time. Start putting your design boards together at least a month before the challenge actually starts. The One Room Challenge website also lists out the dates of when each blog post is due (here). I really recommend jotting those dates down and thinking about the possible blog post topic you can cover on those days.
WEEK 1: APRIL 4th - Post before photos + design plans
WEEK 2: APRIL 11th - Post any progress photos (paint? furniture moved out?)
WEEK 3: APRIL 18th - Post any products I’ve bought + any DIY projects
WEEK 4: APRIL 25th - Post any progress shots, possible styling ideas
WEEK 5: MAY 2nd - Post about differences between original design plan + actual design/ unexpected problems
WEEK 6: MAY 9th - REVEAL POST! Post after shots + sources
Obviously you won’t stick to what you plan exactly because you can’t predict the future, but it definitely helps to have some sort of an idea of what you can write about. Also remember that not every post has to be a novel- if not a lot has changed from one week to the next, then write that! You can add in what you hope to accomplish by the following week.
2. SCHEDULE YOUR BLOG POSTS. I usually scheduled my blog posts a few days in advance, even if I didn’t have all the photos taken yet- I’d still save the written portion as a draft and go back to add photos later. This makes life a lot easier. I also recommend having the post go live on your personal blog on the Wednesday before (link up to the ORC site is every Thursday). When you link up to the ORC site, you need to have the URL ready… you also need to think of a title/caption for when you upload to the ORC site. I suggest putting your blog/Instagram name in every title so it’s easy for people to follow along with you. Also make sure you select a good photo for your thumbnail (it will automatically default to the first photo that appears in your blog post). I know that when I’m scrolling through the hundreds of guest participants, the ones with good quality photos always make me click first!
3. ALWAYS HAVE BACK UP OPTIONS FOR PRODUCTS. This sort of goes hand in hand with the planning ahead point - when you’re putting your design board together, have back up options in mind just in case something sells out, or ends up not looking right in your room, etc. You don’t want to have your heart set on something that doesn’t end up working out and then have to scramble to think of a replacement!
4. TAKE BEFORE PHOTOS FROM EVERY ANGLE. This is something I didn’t do and wish I did! Having the exact same view in a before and an after will help people see the extent of your transformation. You don’t have to use all your before photos in your first post, save some for the reveal.
5. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE QUALITY AFTER SHOTS. In my opinion, the reveal photos of your room are incredibly important! It would be such a shame to spend so much time creating a beautiful design, only to have the photos not do it justice. Allow yourself enough time to get the right shots- and definitely plan for a couple of days just in case one of the days doesn’t have sufficient natural light.
6. HAVE FUN + SUPPORT THE OTHER GUESTS AND DESIGNERS. I discovered so many amazing people throughout my first season! I tried to spend an hour on Sunday or Monday going through the other guest participant posts and commenting on their blogs or Instagram. It’s great having a little “tribe” of people who understand you and have the same interests!