One of the biggest challenges homeowners have when they decorate a room is that they don’t start with a plan. They buy a stunning piece of artwork they see on their travels and put it up on their wall. They like a beautiful wool rug they find for a steal at Home Sense so they lay it on the floor underneath Aunt Mary’s oversized hand-me-down couch that is a little frayed on the arms. Furniture and accessories accumulate overtime as they add item they they like and purchase, or add gifts from well meaning family & friends. It becomes a bit of this and a bit of that. You see rooms in Architecutral Digest that have a “bit of this and a bit of that” but for most people, this method does not work. The challenge for most of us though, this method ends up being a hodge podge and when you step back and look at the room, it doesn’t look Instagram worthy. It feels off. It doesn’t flow. It just doesn’t look great.
Don’t get me wrong, everything doesn’t have to be “matchy matchy” in a room. In fact, all the furniture and accessories should NOT “match” or your room will end up looking like a big box store ad with NO personality. But on the other hand, too much of “this and that” can make a room feel in-cohesive and disjointed.
Start with an “inspiration piece” to design your room
So where do you start you ask? To start decorating a room, you need an inspiration piece. It can be an element of the room like a fireplace or stunning light fixture.
In a kitchen or bathroom, it can be a tile, a countertop or existing cabinet piece.
It can be a stunning picture, a family heirloom, or a drop dead antique that you’re going to refinish perhaps. Mementos from your travels like a high-end Moroccan carpet, a sculpture or memorable artwork could be your starting inspiration. When choosing your inspiration, be sure that your piece will be around for years to come.
You don’t want to base your entire room design on a fabric cushion that could get easily stained and destroyed a couple of years down the road. If your inspiration piece gets destroyed, the reason that your room is pulled together will be gone. It’s difficult to replace an inspiration piece with the exact style and colors you need years down the road.
Now that you have your “inspiration” piece, you can pull your room together using a mood board.
Have a Plan: Create a Design Board
You don’t necessarily need a mood board that you would create in a software such as Canva or PowerPoint. But you do need to gather your pieces and inspiration together. The next time you’re watching an HGTV show, see how the designers “casually” pull together a design board at a store. For a kitchen renovation for example, they’ll bring the kitchen cabinet and paint colors for the kitchen they’re designing. At the store, they’ll add the counter top, floor tiles, backsplash, cabinet pulls, lighting, and voila, they’ve created a mood board on the spot. Yes its a TV show and a bit staged, but you get the point.
Most designers do what they call a design board, or often called in the industry, a mood board. A design board plans the look and feel of the room. That doesn’t mean there may not be surprises or changes as you go along. But its a good idea to have a mood board so you know what look you’re achieving, what you need to do to get there, and that you can budget accordingly and monitor your budget as you go.
With this design board, I started with my client’s rug that they purchased in Morocco while on vacation. They wanted to keep their sofa so that was included in the design. The couch was neutral so it could be “dressed” appropriately with the right accessories. Picking up the cream, copper and navy tones in the carpet, I searched fun and inviting accent chairs that would give the room a bit of pop since the couch was quite neutral. Using blue and orange (or copper) is a popular complimentary color scheme that is easy to use and gives the room a vibrant look.
The accent wall design came next to create a focal point in the room. The paint colors were pulled from the carpet. The painting in blue, orange and pink pulls from the same colors of the carpet. Blonde wide plank floor is recommended as it blends in with the style and accessories and is currently the leading trend in hardwood and vinyl flooring right now. With the mood board, it gives you a good idea of how your living room is going to look.
Let’s say you’re thinking of keeping your own coffee table. You can replace it with this cooper one to see what it looks like. You want a different picture? Search for different pictures and swap it out. You get the idea.
Simple? or Overwhelming? If that is simple for you? Great! You’re off to the races for designing your own space.
Overwhelming? I can help you with this.
Check out my Online Living Room or Family Room Makeover here
You know that your living room or family room needs a makeover. You’re tired of the way it looks. You want new furniture, new paint, fresh ideas but YOU’RE OVERWHELMED!!!
Taking into consideration your life style, your family needs, what you want to keep if anything, after receiving your questionnaire and photos of your room, I will work with you to give you furniture & accessories ideas and recommendations within your budget, paint color and trim choices, and any repairs or small renovations such as flooring etc. This package will help you with ALL of those issues!
I’m Debi Collinson. Designer. Stager. Real Estate Investor. In 2006, at the request of a realtor, I staged my very first home. Staging houses was just starting to become popular. I was very nervous staging my first house, but the sellers liked their newly redesigned home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price. I went back to design school and have never looked back. Since 2006, I have been staging & styling spaces to make them look like they belong in a magazine page, and buying “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent them out. I’m currently living in my 8th “fixer upper.” Sign up to receive my e-mails of how to make your home stunning, how to sell your house for top dollar AND how to become financially independent one fixer upper at a time!