Today I’m talking about how to rev up your creative juices; how to get inspired. Be it for a room redo, a party theme, or a fresh paint job on a tired piece of furniture, there are many different approaches to get inspired.
Being a very visual person, naturally I am inspired by things that I see. It may be something on tv, in a magazine, on Pinterest, or even something in a model home that inspires me to recreate, or to take to the next level. Another one of my traits is that I get overwhelmed with endless possibilities. I work better when I narrow my focus. Here are a few tried and true strategies that work for me to get focused and get moving:
- Focus on a color palette
- Focus on a theme
- Use what you have – no new purchases (Seen this before, have ya? See my “Creativity” blog post from 5/14/17.)
Let’s start with color palette. This one sounds easy for some, but you may not think you have one. That’s where I started a few years ago. I simply decorated each room in my house without giving much thought to how one room related to another. Then one day, I landed a super cute shower curtain on Overstock.com (see below). It was a fun Waverly print called Pom Pom Play – Confetti. I was so excited when I got it and immediately hung it in one of my upstairs bathrooms. (It’s the little things.) Every day when I would walk by that bathroom, I would stop and appreciate my new find. I LOVED it! It was so cheerful and it just made me happy to see it each and every time.
On one of these occasions that I was “appreciating” my shower curtain (lame, I know, don’t hate), I started thinking…hey, that print would match the décor in my dining room…um, that would go great in my kitchen…wow, that would look awesome in my son’s room…my daughter’s room…… I was stunned and shocked. I had a color palette. I HAD A COLOR PALETTE!!!!!!!
All of a sudden the décor in my house had a harmony that I had never recognized before. It always felt good to me, but I wasn’t conscious of why. It was a glorious discovery that has aided me in all of my purchases for our home since.
When it came time to trick out my new mudroom, it was an obvious choice to start with my newly discovered, or should I say, UNcovered, color palette. I used the same Waverly print to make custom curtains (with a nod to one of my favorite designers, Mackenzie-Childs). And to make things easier (and portable!), I uploaded a picture of my fabric (you can use any picture) into Sherwin-Williams’ app, ColorSnap. The app pulls up all of the corresponding paint colors, complete with id numbers and names, for all of the colors in the photo. (See photo 2) You can name it and save it as a color palette. Awesome!
Ok, theme. This one can be tricky. Themes are especially great for party planning, but not always great for room décor, especially if you get too literal (except kids rooms and I’ll talk about that in a minute). If using a theme for a room, touches are the way to go. For example, if you love the beach and you’d like to introduce a nautical “theme” to your bedroom, try using a nautical color palette like crisp white, a rich navy and a spice of coral or red. Stay heaviest with one color and use the other two as accents. If you must add themed artwork, one or two pieces are max. Themed tchotchkes should be used sparingly. You don’t need to kill the theme to get the idea across.
HOWEVER, in a kid’s room, throw all that away and go for it. The commitment to a theme in a child’s room is totally fun, décor is usually less expensive and, let’s face it, not long term. By the time little Johnny gets to 5th grade, that space themed bedroom is gonna be played out or he will move out. Right? If your child can handle the stimuli, a tricked out room can be great inspiration for a budding imagination.
As for parties, themes work great to help frame color scheme, food choices and favor ideas. More is more for a party. A theme doesn’t have to be a specific character or genre, but could even be based on a single color. We’ve all heard of P Diddy’s White Party, right? (Does he still have those? Is he still called P Diddy?) Keeping with a theme focuses your choices, which can be very helpful if you are short on time for planning and execution.
Lastly, use what you have. This strategy really activates creativity. Say you’re trying to recreate a Pinterest idea, or something you saw at a store, shop your home to see if you can make something else work that is similar to save yourself a trip and some cash.
I recently was in need of goodie bags for a camping themed birthday party that I was throwing for my daughter. I had purchased small red pails to use instead of paper bags. (Let me just interject that I hate goodie bags from kid’s parties. They usually contain cheap trinkets that end up in the trash. I like to give eatable, or reusable gifts.) I searched high and low for red and white gingham napkins or tissue paper to line the pails before filling them with the fixin’s for smores and mini flashlights (I said “fixin’s” ’cause it’s campin’). I could not find gingham anywhere. Ugh. It was time to work with what I had. I raided my fabric stash, found an adorable red plaid fabric, cut it into small squares, and voila, perfect presentation for our guests and I didn’t spend a dime (at least not an additional dime).
These are my go to strategies for addressing creative opportunities and challenges in my life. Use them individually or combine them! I hope they help you with new ideas, or even get you thinking about your own creative launching points. I’m looking forward to sharing other artists’ approaches with you in future posts. Stay tuned for my upcoming “Guest” page. Coming soon!
1 Inspiration picture from Country Living Magazine
2 Example of a color palette created on Sherwin-Williams Colorsnap App.
3 Photo taken at the Spring show from Beyond the Barn Doors Vintage Home Furnishings.
4 All fabrics from Joann.com: Waverly Print Fabric – Pom Pom Play/Confetti, Keepsake Calico Cotton Fabric – Large Dots on Black, Keepsake Colico Cotton Fabric – Black & White Diamond
5 Photo from www.houzz.com, Barclay Butera Interiors
6 Photo from www.HGTV.com, Designer Glinda Hobus of Hubus Homes & Mark Bebermeyer of Gallery B Designs
7 Photo from www.complex.com – Image via Jon Furniss/WireImage for MAC International
8 Masks and “?” Boxes: give aways that I made for a Super Mario themed birthday party (WAY before Super Mario was mainstream in the party supply stores, of course…eye roll, heavy sigh). Runts bananas and chocolate gold coins were purchased from a local candy store. Sunglasses and toy cars from Oriental Trading.
9 Mini bucket from Michaels