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PostHeaderIcon Get Moving. - March Designers Log

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Maybe it's the weather, but I had a huge writer's block about this months Designers Log. 

Then two things happened this week that got me thinking.

The first is the realization my creative block is the same thing many people feel when facing their interiors.  They know they have to do something, but can't figure out what to do or where to start.  They just can't take that first step.

The second was that I went to a new stylist for a haircut.  While sitting there listening to her comments on my hair, I realized she was looking at me with an unbiased eye.  Having never met before, she was seeing me for the first time.  Unlike my usual guy who has cut my hair for three years, she was able to look at it objectively.

It's the same way we sometimes have to look at our rooms: like we have never met before.  We live in our homes every day and often need to step away to get a fresh perspective - the way we see placement of furniture, the color on the walls, carpet on the floor.  Could this be holding us back from creating the rooms we really want?

Clients often tell me that they haven't made the effort to redecorate because the idea alone exhausts them.  They just give up before they even begin.  This is sad as our environment should stimulate us and provide us with enjoyment and not be a burden or drag us down.

Look at these 5 easy ways to get yourself out of a funk and get your design mojo on.

Take a break - When I go on vacation, I love the feeling of coming back home and walking into the house.  I see the rooms and the furnishings differently after a short absence.  Sometimes I look around and am pleased, but often I see things that I didn't notice before; like how a chair fabric takes on a different hue or how the sunlight is washing a wall.  Not everyone can take a holiday, but even a small time away, even a work day, can give you the break you need.  Play a game with your family.  Ask them to turn away and describe the room.  Then have them turn back.  What they see when really looking can be very revealing.

A little color wouldn't hurt - Although the choices of paint colors can be intimidating, it's a great opportunity to see what's new and what the trends are.  Be a kid in the candy store.  Pull color swatches you secretly love but haven't tried.  Take home bright colors, even different hues of the same color, but go outside of your comfort zone.  Take advantage of the paint store experts.  They can give you a good lesson in Paint 101.  For about $10 you can buy a quart to bring home and try out on your wall before committing to that bold new palette.

Stow it away - There is an old rule that applies to fashion and travel.  When you dress in the morning, look in the mirror and take one accessory off.  When you pack, take one thing out of the suitcase.  In both cases, that extra item wasn't needed at all.  The same thing applies to interior design.  Clutter is the enemy.  Over time, you may have collected one too many vases/pictures/plants.  Just by removing that one thing, you have changed the dynamics of the room.  One less pillow, one less gift from your mother in law, and eventually you will see the space and shape of the room, not just what's in it.  This is a big move to understand the potential for creating a fresh new space.

Forget the rules - No where is it carved in stone that the bed has to be on the bed wall or the cocktail table in front of the sofa.  Play with your space, move things around, try seeing your rooms as more than you think they are.  Recently a friend brought a small condo with an alcove for the bed, but no real place for a dining table.  We removed the bed, got him a sofa sleeper and made the alcove into a dining area.  Suddenly, he was utilizing the whole space.  When he entertained, he could easily accomodate more people.  By letting the sofa do double duty, he made three usable areas out of two.  Consider your rooms and what they could be if there weren't labels attached.  You may not really change their purpose, but it will open your mind to what could be.  And how fun is that?

Designer for a day - Not every change has to involve all new furniture and cost more than you can afford.  Often what you already have can be repurposed.  Hire a professional interior designer for an hour or two of consultation.  Explain your needs and your budget and ask them how to use what you already own.  A designer can help you re-arrange your room to its best advantage.  They can suggest easy, inexpensive ways to freshen a tired chair or sad window treatments.  Often simple things such as re-framing artwork or re-grouping accessories can help those items feel new again.  Designers love a challenge.  Give us your dilemma and watch us go to work.

I guarantee that by doing these few things, you will be on your way to exciting new rooms and be ready for your best summer ever.  Any journey begins with the first step.  But don't just take a step... make the leap. - SEW

Steve Wallace lives in Danville, Californnia.  An Interior Designer for 25 years, his work has appeard in Palm Springs Life and he is the author of a soon to be published book about design and the way we live.  You can reach him at Design and Interiors in Lafayette, California or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated (Thursday, 24 March 2011 23:17)



0 #2 2011-05-29 04:26
I think I just may have met my designer soul mate earlier!! I live by the "take one thing off or out" rule & it never fails!! xox -mac
0 #1 2011-04-09 05:24
Thanks for the good advice. "Clutter is the enemy." I'll remember that and you are so right.

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