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Design by Inspiration

January 23, 2012

by Julie Nolta
Julie Nolta Design

If you’re like a lot of people, you have a room in your home that could really use a makeover, but you haven’t done anything about it because you don’t know WHAT to do about it. You need direction, but don’t know how to find it.

The simplest way to set things in motion is to use something you absolutely love as your inspiration. This could, literally, be anything at all. Maybe you have an area rug with some great style.  Maybe you have a souvenir from an unforgettable vacation. It could be that flirty, floral party dress in the closet.  (One of my favorite commercials featured a woman who loved her cat so much, she took some fur to the paint store to have it matched!)

Let’s say your inspiration piece is a painting you could stare at all day.  Analyze what you like about it and base your room on this. Is it the subject matter that you love? Is it a color that you can get lost in?  Does it put you in a specific mood when you look at it?

Now take your answers to these questions and work them into your room.

First, what are the colors you like best in the painting?  Pick two or three of those colors and use them in different intensities and textures all around the room – – maybe one color for your walls and upholstered furniture, another color for your throw pillows, your carpet, curtains, etc.

Back to that painting. What color is the picture frame? If it’s a wood-tone, use that same wood for an end table or cabinetry.  If it’s a metal, use that metal in a lamp base, drawer pulls or plumbing fixtures.

What is the painting’s subject matter and how does it make you feel? If it’s a beach scene for example, pull in a couple of beach-y accessories like a bowl of sea shells or an arrangement of grasses.  Just know your intentions for the room.  If you want a serene getaway, don’t go overboard with the props (oops, sorry about the pun!).  Keep it subtle to keep it classy.  However, if you’re going for an adventurous, tropical island kids playroom, go for the gusto!

Find your inspiration and use its color, subject, and mood in your room to express who you are.

If  I can help with your design question or project, contact me via my website (  I also offer free design classes.  Invite a few friends over to learn how to use color and get your design questions answered.  I’ll bring dessert!

Find me on Facebook:

(Photo via Architectural Digest)

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Discuss this article

Mindy Feller January 23, 2012

I like it that what we love best should be our inspiration. What I do feel, and feel on many occassions is that we are expected to make the most expensive one our inpsiration or design focus. A very spedny way and faulty way to go.

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