Monday, February 28, 2011

What Is Your Design Spring Board?

Since Spring is in the air and many of us will be starting some new projects in our homes I thought I would bring back one of my post that gives a few guidelines on where to begin.

 I  hope you enjoy reading it again! For those of you who missed it, I hope you get some new food for thought. KS

In my years of consulting there was one question that was asked by most, if not by all. Where do I begin? Which should I choose first? The sofa, rug,curtains etc? 

 I wish there was one pat answer but it truly will vary from project to project. I did offer a guideline that seemed to apply in the cases where the homeowner was doing an entire room with new purchases.

I would tell them to choose the least available element first. In other words, a rug or sofa will be much more limited on choices that you will like than maybe curtains or accessories.

 Paint is a bottomless pit, paint can always be customed mixed, so I never start with a paint unless the walls are going to be the statement and all other furniture pieces are going to be neutral.
In bedrooms I would have the bedding chosen before we would move onto other choices. 

 In living areas, such as living rooms or family rooms. it would be the sofa or an area rug.

There were the occasions where there was a fabric or an accessory that the homeowner absolutely loved and we would use that as a jumping off point, or what I like to call a spring board.

 On many blogs you see design boards and I love looking at those. Do you ever wonder which element they started with first, what was their spring board?

 In this post I thought it would be fun to look at some rooms that are well done and think about which of the elements the designer or homeowner would possibly have chosen first.

Here is a perfect example of a room with a lovely rug. I would venture to say the client wanted neutrals and some blue in her room so the shade of blue for the fabric was the first choice.

  The reason I think that is because there can be a multitude of different shades of blue in the rug and it will still work. The color of blue on the sofa and day bed are a very specific shade of blue and they are the statement piece in the room. What a gorgeous room done by none other than Candace Olsen.

This room is done in all neutrals with a pop of black and the only lively colors are in the artwork.
 I would imagine that the rug with its interesting border was chosen first for this room.

The right hue of neutrals could be taken out of the background of the rug. The fabrics on the sofa and chair were obviously chosen for their texture and for the fact that they match the rug quite nicely.

 What keeps this room so interesting is the colorful artwork and the use of black in all the right spots. What a warm and inviting room.

Here we have a very handsome bedroom. The back wall is covered in a unique patterned wallpaper. This would be my first choice. In this room I think the spring board is the wallpaper.

 There will not be that many wallpapers that will be pleasing to you so I would find the perfect paper and work off of that.  They kept all other pieces dark and sophisticated and then added this great pop of bright yellow to liven it up.

This keeps the room from not becoming  too serious and dark. The yellow also brings out the gold tones in the wallpaper back.

This room is a good example of one that could have started with several pieces such as the fabric on both chairs or the wonderful armoire.

 Since the armoire is a statement piece with an unusual color I will guess the armoire is the room's spring board or jumping off point.

 Because this room has a country feel and also looks like a home that is on the water, all the other choices were probably pretty easy to make according to color and theme.

I find this picture interesting. Since this is such a large statement piece of art I think the room started here.

 I am not one that matches art to a room, because that can look contrived and I find art to be such a personal statement.

  You will notice just washes of the green overlaying the beautiful lavender color. Using green in this room is fresh and a natural with this piece of art.

The room is kept interesting with the use of texture and pattern in the fabrics. I like these fabrics. These are what I call non-commital fabrics. They are fabrics that will go with just about anything.

I hope this gives you a few options of how to get a jumping off point or Spring board for your next room project.

 I gave you guidelines, but never be afraid to use an accessory that you love as your starting point.  If it inspires you, you can plan a room around it and you will love the process of planning and the end result of a room you love to live in.

For a great example of how a designer started a design plan for a room go over to Design Indulgence.  Sherry has a mood board of a room design. She tells her readers exactly which element she chose first, second and so on until the board was complete!!

"Enjoy the Process" Of:

 Finding your own Design Springboard for your next project.



Allie and Pattie said...

Kathysue, I once had a client ask me to design a room based on a beautiful antique dish that was a family heirloom- the dish wasn't even going to be IN the room, but she adored the colors and the "feel" of it. Great post
xoxo Pattie

kim said...

Kathysue, good lesson. I think most of my rooms I started with the furniture piece. Of course my whole house has changed in the past few years. Your advice about you can even design a room around an accessory or object reminds me of the Delta faucet commercial where the client tells the architect to design the house around a faucet!

Cashon&Co said...

I always start with fabric. Or an inspiration photo. Interesting post, is making me think! there's some rooms that I don't know how it started, they just seemed to develop on their own!

Tammy@InStitches said...

This is a fun game ! I've designed rooms around the rug and in others the rug was the last thing picked. No rhyme or reason......

Julienne said...

Well blew that, had a six page comment, went back to look more closely at image 3 and lost the lot. Aren't you lucky?! Just love the accessories in that photo, the girl on the piano, the lights (all of them) and the figure on the table. I think any one of those pieces could have started this room and the seating needed to be glamorously neutral to keep the balance. STOP! STOP! STOP! I will be 6 pages again in a minute. But I just love that room!

Anonymous said...

What pretty rooms you chose...

I once did a room based on a pillow...I just loved all the colors and built from there.

I so agree you must have a focal point...

Nice post,
Kathy :)

La Dolfina said...

It's great how you make us think!
I'm with Kellie on this one... I can never remember where the initial inspiration came from. My spaces evolve over time. I try and stay open to inspiration and follow it where it leads me :)
Thanks for another wonderfully thought provoking post. I'm thinking you might want to consider teaching a course in interior design!!!

xinex said...

I can understand how a room decor starts with a certain thing. Great post! I love that blue daybed...Chistine

The Goods Design said...

Great advice!

Anita @ Far Above Rubies said...

Beautiful post!!! I tend to start with something I have collected like my rugs from Turkey then build around that over time. I recently purchased an antique Persian with similar colors but found I had to seriously do some tweaking with accessories.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I once bought a rug...a small rug. That rug ended up with us tearing out an entire bathroom, putting up new drywall and everything else. My husband still tells the story of the rug I bought on sale.

aneyefordetail said...

I do trend boards...see "Trendy Monday"...each Monday, so now I am going to have to analyze exactly where I start from! Oh no, more to do!
But really, this is good and maybe I'll walk you through my thought process in the near future! thanks...

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Looove that turquoise armoire. :) Thanks for the visit...I thought Valentine's Day was a good choice for girls' night out!

Fifi Flowers said...

LOVELY rooms! Love the colur combo of the light green and purple!

Marija said...

Love this analogy! I often start with a rug but my favorite thing to do is start with something the client never expected to use in the space or an heirloom piece. Ideally something meaningful. No better inspiration than memories or things we love love love! Marija

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Rarely do I get the chance to do a empty room and I end up starting with what I have to work with... but I think the rug is a excellent starting place other wise. Great post.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

You find the best pictures, and I love the way you point out things I probably wouldn't have noticed. My jumping off point is anything that I find a great deal on!! I really do love a deal. laurie

DesignTies said...

Interesting post :-) I tried guessing what the starting point in each room was -- we agreed on most of them :-)

I've been known to do rooms completely opposite of the way they *should* be designed -- it really can be tough to start with the wall colour, but it's worked for me so far :-)

My latest project was inspired by a fabulous faux ostrich leather in lavender :-)

Just want to mention that the room in the first picture is actually by another great Canadian designer, Candice Olson (not Sarah Richardson). Isn't it a gorgeous room?? :-)


Anonymous said...

hi Kathysue,
The photo with the blue daybed in it,is a renovation by Candace Olsen,called Carl and Tony's livingroom/diningroom.

Candace Olsen and Sarah Richardson are my favorite decorators!

Kathysue said...

Anon, thank you for the correction, they are two of my favorites also. I also love Phoebe Howard. Thank you for the visit!!Kathysue

designchic said...

What an interesting subject. It seems there is always some statement piece that starts a room, whether fabric, rug, painting, etc. Great post!!

Saffronia Baldwin said...

I could not agree more. So many people want to start with paint color and yet....that should be the very last thing. Thanks for the great post! Saffronia

pretty pink tulips said...

Since i'm not a professional, I go about it instinctively. It could be a painting or a rug. Sometimes with the fabrics. But, never with the paint. That's an easy thing to change.

It's all about enjoying the process!!
xo elizabeth

Hamptontoes said...

It's true, there are various elements that come into play when designing a space. I will say that rarely is it the same thing for each space I work on. Great post!

Linda in AZ * said...

* Hi, KS~ This is a great, fun n' interesting blog today!

We've lived just about "everywhere", including 18 years in Europe & 2 in Vienna, AU, & have moved 28 TIMES in 38 YEARS (no, that's not a typo... that's correct! But NOW we're done n' STAYING PUT, thank heavens!).

ANYHOOOO, I set up a complete home each time, whether is was a small or big place (they got bigger & bigger over the years, of course, as my husband got promoted)~ THAT's HOW I got interested/started in reading & studying decorating/design... I was hooked from Day 1, too!

My very first decorating book was BILLY BALDWIN DECORATES, which has now basically/practically "worn out" (& I wouldn't have it any other way!). He was my "idol"... I think I could/can actually QUOTE 1/2 of this book by now (!)... & I read (& highlighted) his book soooo many times it's unreal... I just adored it! (And for sentimental reasons, it's in the FIRST BOOK SPOT in my new study, next to MY side of the desk & floor to ceiling bookcases... it brings back so many memories!

Soooo ANYWAY (sorry!), each moved presented new challenges or, as I came to think of it, new "opportunities". Placement of the bigger pieces, and which room they would go in, was ALWAYS my #1 thought from the moment I'd walk into our new "home" for a few years... Then the "FUN" began... playing/putting together each space!

Your posting today has encouraged me to just sit back, relax and SMILE thinking about how wonderfully blessed we've been... So I thank you!!! (And I apologise for "rambling"... my mind is just sooo filled with delightful memories right now, thanks to you!)

Warmest wishes & happy Monday,
Linda in AZ *

Mona thompson said...

Great post Kathysue. It's crazy how many clients want to start with the paint color. the first question they ask before you talk about anything is what color do you think I should paint? My first thought is I hope we get to help with more than that, because we have a whole lot of decisions to make before we get to paint.

Rhônya Holman said...

Wow! I really enjoyed reading your columns. By way all the photos are beautiful especially the first one.
Cheers! (-:

Mandi Smith T said...

Great post! Such a great lesson in design. I totally agree with your points on where to start. M.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Wonderful post. I never start with the paint because that is easy to change. I think it's instinct and elements. Seldom is it the same for each place. Each is a new challenge and adventure. I love how you make us think.