Where a Decorating Project Starts

When you are approaching a decorating project, it’s a lot like a writer or artist facing the blank page or canvas. Where do you start?  You need an idea – inspiration: something that excites you and makes want to look at it and live with it every day.

Decorating projects often begin because you see a trend that “inspires” you, but don’t just follow a trend; find your own, unique inspiration. The stores and internet are filled with trendy items, which they are hoping you will buy every couple of years as the trends change.  But trends are over-done, short-lived, and usually look “staged”.  True inspiration is an ethereal thing, triggered by an emotional response to a sight, sound, smell, even a flavor or word – so take note of it when it appears!  Finding YOUR decorating inspiration comes from being aware of what you are drawn to and responding to, and somehow keeping track of these.

decorating sampleboardThe inspiration for your room could begin with a color, object, era, place, piece of furniture, artwork, or even your profession or hobby. You may find it in a store display, museum, book, magazine, while on a trip, on the Internet, shopping, or watching a movie.  Even the grocery store, a community event, or a walk through your neighborhood can be a source of inspiration.  The opportunities are endless, and different for everyone.  You need to find YOUR inspiration.  That’s where your decorating project begins!

How do you capture the many sources of inspiration? Your Smartphone is great for keeping a photographic record of what inspires you, either random images that you love or items and rooms that grab your attention.  Collecting color samples, fabric swatches, brochures, and other representations of what you find appealing (make sure you keep track of where you found these) is important too.  When you can’t physically or visually capture ideas, a small notebook or a memo app on your Smartphone will allow you to jot down ideas on the run.  You will soon see a pattern develop in what you are drawn to, and that’s where your decorating plan should start.

Decorators and Designers use a “presentation board” to plan-out a project, and to present it to their client in a way that they can “see” how their room will look.  It brings together samples or photos of the paint, wood, flooring, fabrics, furniture, lighting, fixtures, cabinets, window treatments – all the elements they have chosen to decorate a room.  You can do the same on a bulletin board or piece of foam board. Pinterest is also a great tool, allowing you to create an “inspiration board” of images online.  This will be very helpful if you plan to use a decorator or designer for your project, as they will need a starting point from you; images that will guide them in what look you have in mind.

So, once you have your inspiration, where do you go from there? Base all your selections on your inspiration; it will guide the style of the room, and you can pull all your colors directly from that item.  Usually, the most expensive and long-lived items (furniture, carpet, wallpaper, cabinetry, and fixtures) are chosen first.  If you intend to use patterned wallpaper, drapes, or bedding, they should be chosen first, followed by those expensive and long-lived items that may remain the next time your room is re-decorated.  The final selections will include your paint, accessories, and solid-colored fabrics.  There are thousands of colors of paint and custom colors are now possible, so they are usually chosen last.

Whatever you choose for your inspiration – or if you need help finding that inspiration – working with an experienced Interior Decorator or Designer can help. Someone who is experienced in bringing personal inspirations to life can open your eyes to where your decorating project should start, and create a truly inspired room!