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Managing Expectations: When the ‘Big Reveal’ Isn’t Feasible in Interior Design


I love a big reveal as much as the next designer. But let’s be real, this isn’t HGTV. Life has a way of throwing curveballs. Sometimes, a 95% finished home is the practical choice — especially when deadlines are looming and you’re ready to reclaim your space.

I’m speaking from experience.

On move-in day, my home still needed wall art, accessories, wallpaper, and window treatments. A tight schedule led to skipping the traditional “big reveal day” for the comfort of my own bed. Here’s the truth: the last 5-10% of a project — the accessories, art, and small but essential finishing touches — elevates a home from beautiful to magazine-worthy. And who doesn’t want that?

But the truth is, it’s not always a bad thing to postpone the grand reveal. Beyond project timelines, there are other valid reasons to hold off on that final 5%…


1. You’ll understand how you’ll live in your newly renovated home.

Ever moved into a newly renovated space and realized you have no idea how to actually live there? It’s like trying on a pair of shoes — you need to walk around a bit before you get comfy. Will you gravitate toward that cozy reading nook by the window, or will the kitchen island become the unofficial gathering spot? Sometimes, you have to live and learn to find out.

Moving into your home before finalizing the finishing touches allows the freedom to make adjustments as you discover how the space fits into your daily routines.

Photography by David Duncan Livingston

2. You’ll have the option to spread out your investment.

Shopping can be fun, so why rush? Think of it like savoring your finest bottle of Pinot. You wouldn’t want to down the entire thing in one go. (No judgment.) Your home’s aesthetic is similar. It deserves a measured, unhurried approach.

Spreading out your investment over time not only gives your bank account a little break but also allows you to curate your space intentionally. It’s about giving yourself the luxury of time to collect items that tell your story. Which brings me to…

Photography by Vivian Johnson

3. You’ll have the time to create a home that feels intentional and collected.

In the words of the late John Wheatman, “A good house is never done.” Now, for our full-service clients, we go all out and leave no detail untouched — wastebaskets, towels, and perfectly styled coffee tables — it’s a comprehensive experience. When all goes as planned, they have the experience of the final grand reveal. But maybe you’d rather have a home that feels collected over time.

The truth is, your home is your story, not a checklist. There’s no right or wrong way, but it’s completely valid to allow your home to reveal itself to you gradually as you settle into the space. The best part? We can do both. With Designer on Demand, you’re in charge.

Photography by David Duncan Livingston

We have your back.

A good home is a story unfolding, not a rigid script with a predetermined schedule. At Coddington Design, we give you the freedom to design your way. Whether you’re itching to add those final touches now or prefer a slow dance to completion, we’ve got your back.



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