"I was wondering if you would do a blog post or if you have done a blog post regarding how you start your design process. Do you start with a piece of fabric, a pillow, etc? And do you pick out everything before you start the project or do you just decide on things as you go? As you can tell, I have no design training...I'm just a Mom trying to decorate her house so that it looks nice with things that I love. But I need to know how to start!!" ~ Myssie
If I had to answer in one sentence I'd say this: start by being absolutely Head-Over-Heels-In-Love with something for the new space, the rest will follow.
It could be a fabric, a rug, a wall color, a piece of furniture or even the new function the space will provide and how it will improve daily life in your home.
How I approach a new design varies, and I thought a great way to cover this subject would be to post a few of my past projects and share how the design concept began for each.
The design of Isabella's bedroom began with her request for bright colors, a desk and more storage. The first task was to sketch a floorplan, working out how two new side tables and a desk would fit in the room alongside the existing queen size bed. As we don't have a guest room in our home, when visitors come knocking she bunks in Max's room while her room becomes the temporary guest quarters. So, keeping the larger bed in the room was a must.
The second step was to shop for fabrics. Isabella was very involved, helping select several patterns from which we pulled our favorites. From these prints we drew color inspiration for the walls, agreeing on a beautiful shade of turquoise, SW Watery. We now had the furniture layout, fabrics and a wall color, providing the foundation on which to start building the room. Decisions on the details were then made along the way.
You can read about all the other decisions that went into its design unfold in these posts. When working on designs for my own home I typically begin by determining a furniture layout, general ideas for colors, fabrics and furniture, but to a large degree the room evolves as I work my way through it.
Before beginning work on Max's bedroom I got the idea to interview him about his wishes for the design. I do this with clients and thought it would be a fun exercise with him. Surprisingly, he had a lot to say! After learning he did not like plain walls and wanted a chalkboard, map and desk in his room, the design just fell into place. The furniture layout would stay the same, though a small desk would replace the nightstand between the two beds. And then the key idea for the design came to me, setting the tone for entire space. Why not paint a wide chalkboard stripe around the entire room? This would not only satisfy Max's requirement for a chalkboard, but would do so in a really fun, graphic way. From there the room was built one step at a time, each decision building on the previous ones. Again, you can read about the entire process in these posts.
The concept for the office began around a piece of furniture, an old cabinet that had once been in my grandfather's woodshop, and a collection of photographs and art belonging to my husband. The challenge was to have all these unique items look good together while creating a space that had enough storage, seating and light to become a spot to retreat to and catch up on a bit of work. Taking these existing pieces into consideration, the layout of the room was determined first and the next step was to select a paint. SW Griffin, a dark complex color, set the tone for a moody atmosphere to emerge and led to the decision to paint one wall with dark chalkboard paint. From here the room evolved, one step at a time.
The starting point for this bedroom was the upholstered bedframe and the concept to create a room of contrasts. The theme of contrasts begins with the colors but then extends to the styles of items placed in the room. This was an exercise to see if I could successfully mix very traditional elements with modern iconic pieces, and in the end have a space that still felt cohesive. The upholstered headboard and bedding lean toward the traditional while the George Nelson Criss Cross Pendant, Barcelona Chair and cow hide rug are very modern. I think the result is a room made up of pieces that really don't match, but one that blends together in a very dynamic way.
Now, when I work with a client a design board becomes a key component of how the design process begins. This shows concepts and items grouped together, helping the client visualize the options. This is really easy to do, and I highly recommend anyone putting together a design on their own start with an inspiration board. Gather images of everything you would love to see in the room, fabrics, furniture, accessories, art and colors. Also include any existing items that will stay in the room on the board, to allow you to see how they look alongside potential new selections.
Starting with a design board still leaves many decisions to be made along the way. I personally feel it is very hard to have a design "set in stone" prior to work beginning, as that approach doesn't take into account and use to one's advantage all the discoveries that occur along the creative process.
So, to begin the design process clearly determine what the objectives are and find something to be really excited about! The specifics can evolve as the room evolves.
I hope this post offers some ideas on how to approach the design of a room and answers your questions Myssie! And is there a topic you would like me to cover in a post? Please leave me a suggestion!