3 tips for giving imagination a space in your home

We are running some favorite newsletter tips from the last few years on the BLOG this month. Enjoy!

Environments stimulate our imagination, but it works the other way around too. We need to imagine a beautiful place before we can create it. Read my tips below for letting imagination rule more of the roost in your home.

3 tips for giving space to imagination in your home

Create an inspiration board and a file of images: If you do not have a file folder of images that inspire you, please start today. Get a stack of magazines. Include some travel and lifestyle glossies in addition to design magazines for best results. You can even go to the library and make color photocopies of pictures in back issues if you like. Stretch yourself and pull non-decor images too. I love tearing out beautiful photos of fruit and flowers to inspire color palette ideas. Paste or tack 10 to 15 favorites on a board that you can look at every day. Keep the rest in a file folder and every month review and update. As you go about your days you will notice patterns in what inspires you. Incorporate into your home at your own pace. Or when you are ready have a designer help sort through the images and make a plan. A good designer will be very skilled at sensing the patterns in your file.

Create displays of beautiful objects at key focal points: Sit in your favorite chair at the dining table, your favorite spot on the couch, or where you sit in bed, and notice where your gaze falls. Find a few key places in your direct line of sight where you can create a grouping of beautiful objects, or objects that resonate with one another in an interesting way. Maybe it is a mirror over a painted chest topped with a footed bowl, or a side table with a great lamp and a fantastic photograph hanging on the wall just behind. A strong grouping will hold your eye’s interest for years and stimulate your imagination about other possibilities, but you can also change it up when you think you need fresh perspective.

Fill your home with art and books: Reading stimulates our thinking in a very direct way, and having books you love where you can see them will serve as a reminder of the ideas, information, or experiences contained in those books. This starts young. If I recite a line from a favorite book to Aadi while getting him dressed in the morning, he will wriggle away from me and point to the shelf where the book is. The books are part of our everyday life and we refer to the stories in them and things in our immediate environment interchangeably. Art on the other hand, often bypasses language and speaks to our subconscious mind directly, which can be a nice change of pace. Find some pieces you love and let them be windows into other worlds as you go about your everyday life.

the MAGIC is in the plan

Do you know that feeling of entering a beautiful or interesting space, and wondering at the magic of the environment created? I can tell you without a doubt that the MAGIC is always in a carefully considered plan.

Similarly, whenever I see a room gone wrong it always seems it can be attributed to one of two things:

1) No one had ever developed a plan for doing the room.

2) There was a plan but somewhere in the execution the plan was wantonly abandoned.

That is it. There is no in between. People may think that designers are people who sashay into spaces and say, “Oh you must do this, that, and the other thing,” on first sight. Or that a designer will see a room and head straight out shopping to find must have pieces. Here is a BIG secret. No no no!

A designer will see your space and head straight to their drawing board and materials library and spend considerable time and resources to devise a plan. And then he/she will sashay back into your space and say, “Oh you must do this, that, and the other thing, and I know it will work because I can see it in the plan.”

I recently read that Sister Parish, the mother of American decorators, spent hours daily in her studio considering how to marry fabrics with trim and all such other details. I also recently read on celebrity designer Vicente Wolf’s blog that he would never even consider what he should do with a space until he had measured it and could see what was what. The expertise comes in knowing the plan is sound and will create the desired effect, but there is always a plan.

The MAGIC is in the plan. Whether it is a showroom vignette that looks casually brought together, or a major renovation project, I live by my plan. It is a major part of my job to keep clients from getting distracted by all the bright, shiny objects that will lead us astray along the path to executing a plan, because we live in a world of options and ideas. This abundance can invite distraction and the desire to try this or that. But you sacrifice results when you approach design this way.

That doesn’t mean you can never allow yourself to stumble upon a great find again. There are times when I or one of my clients will find the exact, perfect piece or finish or color very serendipitously. And we will dance with joy over it. But there is a reason why we both know the piece is perfect and will work without a doubt. And that is because we can clearly see where it fits in our overall plan. Here are my tips for getting MAGIC:

Catch yourself on dangerous turf: If you ever find yourself out in a store going crazy over a find that you have to have, ask yourself if you have ever considered having a piece of the scale, style, or size before in your space. If you are telling your significant other, “I know we said we would do green, but we could just do purple instead,” STOP! You will likely need an entirely new plan to make your fabulous find work, and that could cost you.

Steel yourself for some discomfort: If you are doing your room in stages, there is a chance that somewhere along the way you are going to feel your space doesn’t look or feel quite right, and you will be very tempted to abandon your plan. Don’t do it! I can tell you from experience, that a partially completed room can feel random even if it has been done according to plan. And you may be tempted to try something very off plan to compensate for that. Trust the plan even when — no, make that ESPECIALLY when — you are only half way through.

Get some graph paper: Use the grid to make a scale drawing of your room and draw furniture in to scale as well. One foot equals 1/4″. Keep working on placement until you find a good layout. Draw in elements like floor covering and occasional furnishings to get a clear sense of how the space will work. A good layout will be apparent when you see it on paper. The floor plan itself should have a certain beauty to it, with a level of attention to geometry.

If you feel you need help with that magic plan call us at 973.761.0311 to learn about our design services.