One of the issues in Design and Decorating I hear about a lot from people is that they don’t know where to start. They may have an idea of what they want from a room but they can’t figure out how to get there or pull it together. This is the Creative Process. It’s a weird, organic thing that kinda springs from within that can seem foreign to the average person but Designers get really comfortable with the uncomfortableness of it. So this post I thought I’d take you through how I start a decorating a room all the way to the final product for a traditional looking living room.
The Starting Point
For this living room project, we’re going to use a wall colour as our starting point. Your starting point can be anything. A fabric you love. A sofa you just had to have. The trophy home Diane Keaton lives in in every movie. Paint is often a good place to start if you like colour and want to use it. For this, we’ll use Sherwin Williams Colour of the Month for June, “Cerebral”:
Cerebral is a very calming, soft French Blue. Since I’ve decided this room will be traditional in style, I start by thinking what traditional things I might equate with this colour. When I look at this colour, it reminds me of the Wedgewood China my Mother collects. This is good because Wedgewood China is also traditional so that will become my inspiration for our room.
So here’s a piece of Wedgewood to give you an idea of what’s inspring me. I know I’ll use the blue on the walls and I’ll incorporate white to mimic the crisp feeling it has. The China isn’t overly ornate so I’ll keep the room a similarly clean space. I know I’ll be using traditional furniture and I’ll be sure to use lots of curved and round items to relate back to the curves of this ashtray and I’ll look to incorporate some kind of floral or curvy patterns somewhere to nod to the patterns on the piece. Then I start selecting the pieces and items I think will work.
Once I’ve selected my furniture and other items, I’ll collect images of them with fabric and paint samples into a collage to see how they work together (using a collage app makes it easy). I add, remove or replace items until I get a collection that evokes a room that “feels” like my inspiration. There’s no linear way to this point and I can’t quite explain it, but it just kind of develops. I just keep thinking about my inspiration and what I’m trying to achieve with the room and it happens. I often use the analogy of a rehearsal. In rehearsal you try the set elements in different ways, keeping what’s working and throwing out what isn’t until you reach what you’re trying to say overall. It’s that same fearlessness/willing to fail/eye on the prize combination that performers use in rehearsal that gets you your greatest reward.
The Final Room
And here we are. You can see I’ve used our Celestial paint on the walls with white trims and ceilings like our Wedgewood inspiration piece. I’ve used patterns in the rug reminiscent of the detailing on the inspiration piece. The furniture is traditional (tighter, feminine, more leg, curvy, caning, etc) to fit in with our goal of a traditional looking space. I literally sourced out items and combined them until I got just the right fit. That was the Creative Process at work.
I hope this gives you some confidence in finding you way through the Creative Process. It can feel like a bit of a mine field but it’s really not that scary as long as you pay attention to where you’re stepping.
Until next time, thanks for reading and striving to live The Well Designed Life.