I’m going to start this off in the worst way possible, but it’s the God’s honest truth so here goes…There is no right way to design a space. It makes this whole post seem a little unfruitful but I need to be straight with you. We look at homes that we like and think, man, if only I knew how to but something together that looked that good but when you look at the hundreds of design books that I do or study the home decor lines of too many brands to count, you start to see a theme–there is no theme.
There is no right way to design because it’s an art form and therefor will differ based on your style, your childhood, and how you choose to see the world. With that being said, that doesn’t mean I can’t guide you in places to start to create your own creative space, or to create a space that looks and feels like the rooms I love to help make. But please remember, there are no rules here. Just one recipe on how to create something peaceful and inspiring. Feel free to take what serves you and throw the rest away.
It starts with a color palette
When I design, whether a product line, a website, a painting, or a room I think about the colors. What do I want the main color to be? What are accent colors that will be present? And what are the neutral tones that will hold this all in place? Any color palette often has at least 5 main colors to it (again that’s a number pulled out of the air, but an easy place to start). When we think of creativity color is often involved and this can be done in a few different ways.
Color on your walls
If you aren’t afraid of color then adding it to your walls is often your favorite place to add it. This can be with a bold color that floods the entire room, an accent wall, or even a colorful wallpaper that speaks to you and easily adds a creative spark to the space. When choosing a color for a room I tape paint swatches to a wall and look at them at different times of the day. Then I move them to different walls as the light changes from wall to wall at different times of day. Overall, which color spoke to you the most?
The great thing about paint is if you decide you hate the color you can always paint over it. So, often paint is a pretty safe choice when wanting to explore some new color options. Wallpaper on the other hand is much more expensive and hard to replace to get samples of anything you think you might like and make sure it brings you joy when you see it taped up to the wall.
Color in your Textiles
Curtains, furniture, pillows, and rugs are all easy places to add colors and patterns without having to worry about making a labor intensive investment. I suggest stick to solids when it comes to your largest furniture but that doesn’t mean you can add a bold blue couch like we did or a velvet green couch like I dream of adding.
When it comes to your curtains, pillows and rugs these are easy places to add patterns with lots of colors. Just make sure that a few of your base colors (those 5 colors we talked about at the beginning) are featured in your textiles so that everything feels cohesive. Again, this doesn’t mean you can’t mix and match but you want a few colors that pull everything together. That’s the trick to making a room look designed and not just thrown together.
Reupholstering a chair or smaller piece of furniture in something bold, like a bright color or fun pattern, will add an extra creative spark to your home. Smaller furniture feels safer because it’s not the statement piece of the room, it can be hidden away, and the cost of reupholstering it is a whole lot less than an entire couch.
Color in your art
I’m an artist so I love to have lots of art on my walls. I’m actually running out of wall space I have so much art. If you want to feel creative in your space then painting the walls a nice clean warm white (I love Night Blossoming Jasmine by Behr) will give you the blank canvas to cover the walls in colorful works of art. You can rearrange art or add new pieces when things start to feel stale so that your space is ever evolving and never at a loss for inspiration.
Color in your plants
If the idea of adding a bunch of color to your home feels completely overwhelming start by adding some house plants to different rooms. You’ll have to research which plants will do best in each room based on how much light you have but the pops of green, white, and maybe even pinks and reds is a fun an natural way to add color to your home. Plus you get the added benefit of clear air and living things in your home which is grounding and definitely inspires rest.
Adding Creative Elements
Color is just one way to make a space feel creative. Maybe you love a neutral home with whites and beiges (that’s what I grew up with) in which case, you want to limit how many bold and bright colors you add to your space. So instead of color I focus on shape and texture.
Whether it’s baskets that have a handmade feel to them, natural woods, or a wallpaper that is neutral in color but covered in detail and illustrative design, all these elements will add a creative pop to your space. You know what inspires you best, is it handmade products that you find at the farmer’s market or artwork that takes your breath away. Tune-in to what brings you joy and makes you day dream and add more of those elements to your home.
Design Your Own Creative Space
Color, texture, patterns, they all add up to a space all your own. Start with what you want your color palette to be–is it neutral? bold? colorful? Then find the elements that have those colors. This could be textiles, artwork, wallpapers, baskets, or even knick-knacks you put on your book shelves (even the books themselves can have the colors in you palette and emphasize them on your bookcase).
The most important thing to remember is that design is a process. This isn’t Fixer Upper, as much as I love that show. Just like your closet, the design of your home changes of time. The goal would be to only have to change the small design pieces so that you create something that’s timeless and lasting. We’re not here for the trends that change year to year but to create a space the inspires rest and creativity for as long as you live there (and maybe even for the next person too!)
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