What to address first in a redesign?
This can be tricky as it boils down to what degree of redesign you are talking about. A complete redo, ie: walls, flooring, fixtures, furnishings,appliances, etc require planning the budget first and foremost. Always figure on spending twice what estimate you come up with, especially for kitchens and bathrooms. There are a lot of unforeseen issues that can arise in those rooms in particular, so factor that in. Research online for all available sources of supplies and materials. Factor in where these stores are located as this is a real time drainer if out of town, however in some cases well worth it budget-wise.
What areas of a room redesign to address first?
Large surface areas should probably be first once your budget is in place. In this part of the redesign, you want to address all large surface areas, such as, ceilings, walls, countertops (if doing a kitchen remodel) and lastly floor. Bring home samples of paint, paired with carpet samples, fabric swatches, flooring samples etc. Just as designers do, you will want to assemble a portfolio of the room to be redone. Use pictures, samples, notes and measurements to keep yourself organized and on budget. Never head to the hardware store without measurements and never leave home without your measuring tape and preferrably a camera. Taking pics of flooring, carpets, paint colors is a good way to keep track of what you liked in the store. Especially when samples aren't available for the item you are interested in.
Do I need to use all neutrals?
If you keep the large surface areas of a room neutral, it will be far easier to pull the total rooms look together later on when you begin to build the room with the other components like the appliances, accessories, wall decor, fixtures, and finishes. If you got too bold and color specific in your large surface areas, you will be limited in your design aesthetics. Remember your personality and specific tastes can be added to the room manually with your accessories.
Remember that the little details matter.
Once you have chosen flooring, walls are painted, and anything involving your ceiling has been addressed, it is imperative that any metallic finishes in the room match up with each other. Do not mix brass and pewter. It will come off looking unpolished and not well put together.
What about accent colors?
Most rooms can accommodate a 3 color accent pallet. Especially if the primary large surfaces have been kept neutral. The secondary accent in most rooms is usually in the cabinetry and/or trim. Going extra bright white, or with a contrasting dark color is a good way to frame out the room. The third color introduction would be in all of your design elements, pillows, fabric, drapes etc. Here you can get color specific, just make sure colors work well together and aren't clashing with each other.