Have you ever wondered where the ideas come from for good design? Or maybe you have struggled with getting a decorating project up and running. My industry has a saying – “function before form” – which means the way you want to use a space is the real starting point. I think you’ll agree that a gorgeous room which is poorly suited to its intended function is not a success.
First decide what you will use the space for, then get to the fun (or challenge, depending on your perspective) and start choosing the décor. Here are some tips on where to get your ideas.
- Many great styled rooms have resulted from seeing other decorated spaces and building on components from them. Browse pictures of rooms which offer the same functions as you want to achieve. When you see something you like, pick it apart a bit in your mind as to what it is you like. It may be the feeling of the room, or the colours, or the flow, for example. It may be more specific, such as materials or furniture used. Also pay attention to anything you don’t like. A truly great room will be somewhat unique to you so beware of copying every detail of a room.
- Visit furniture stores to do some preliminary planning. These stores place their furniture in groupings, often with coordinating accessories, which can help you visualize your own room. Be cognizant that your space is likely much smaller than the furniture store and be aware that the store lights can greatly distort colours. You may find from this exercise that a particular style appeals to you, or you may discover a great way to arrange your room. If you are on a mission for materials selection, visiting showrooms will show you the choices that are out there and possible ways to put them together, such as tiles, hardwood and countertop. For those that get overwhelmed by all the choices in a big store, try forgetting about making a choice and instead just take in what you see. If something appeals to you, try to break it down as to what it is that you like about it, and that may become your starting point.
- Create a file of what you like. Store pictures you find or shoot yourself with measurements and colours when possible (always shop with a camera and a measuring tape). When you are planning a new project these pictures may be a source of inspiration for you, and can be a huge help if you work with a decorator to express what you like to her or him. I’ve had 10’ measuring tapes made which are perfect for carrying in a purse or pocket and I’ll be happy to gift one to you if you call or email me.
- Take your inspiration from something you love, such as a fabric, rug or piece of art, to choose your colours. These items have been created by designers who know how to combine colours. The piece you love may be the focal point of your new room, or may just be the inspiration and not even end up in the room. There are rules of thumb which may be helpful to know, such as how many colours and how much of any colour is appropriate, so ask your decorator for a little guidance.
- A place you have visited can be a great inspiration. Perhaps you have stayed in a quaint bed and breakfast or enjoyed the tiled walk-in shower of a luxury hotel and would like to recreate that look in your own home. Climate and available resources have greatly affected design around the world. Today’s global market, with everything being fairly readily available, allows us to create a space that brings to mind places like Greece, or Africa, or Scotland.
- Interior decorators are a great resource for you. We will encourage you to ask the right questions, such as how you want the room to feel, what you want to achieve, and if your choices will stand the test of time. We will take away the stress and uncertainty. I offer the choice of a little or a lot of help, and will teach you along the way so that the next time you will be much more prepared to take on a new room design.