I decided to start a new series sharing “tricks of the trade”. Over the years, I’ve picked up a bunch of designer “tricks” that may not be common knowledge, but might be really helpful for those of you designing or styling your home. I’ll try to keep these posts short, to the point, and informative. I’m honestly pretty excited about this new series and hopefully you’ll enjoy it too! Click through for the very first one- I’m sharing an easy way to remove yourself from the design equation to better visualize a room or vignette… I try to examine a space in 2D, as I’m finishing things up.
For example, the guest room window nook was honestly a super rushed project. My family was coming into town and I didn’t have much time to flesh out details and perfect the vignette. It wasn’t until after checking the space in 2D, that I had a “duh” moment. Because of that, the little accent table made its way into the room- and aren’t we glad it did?!
One question or comment I constantly get is, “I just need help with the styling- you know, pulling it all together and making it feel homey!” This trick can really help with arranging and pulling together a room.
Here’s the thing… it’s VERY easy to get sucked into a vignette or room you’ve poured your heart and soul into. Sometimes we can be too subjective when we’re close or emotionally attached to a design. A great way to remove yourself from the situation, and better analyze (from an unbiased perspective) what the room or design might need, is to take a photograph.
It’s much easier to see what might need adjusted when looking at a two dimensional photo. That’s right- here is designer hack #1… take a photo and print that baby out! Analyze the 2D piece and determine what might make it better. For some reason, photographic representative of the room or vignette forces us to critique the space as an outsider would.
It wasn’t until I started seeing photos of the built-ins in my previous living room, that I decided I was a maximalist when it comes to shelf styling. I like the “more is more” mantra, and it took looking at photographs to realize that about myself.
Sometimes I pick up on details I normally wouldn’t (and I’m a detail oriented person), other times something obvious slaps me in the face after looking at a photograph, and every once in awhile- I think “I’m pretty happy with that”.
In our previous bedroom, pictured below, it wasn’t until after seeing a printout that I knew the bed needed more texture. Now, having the coverlet positioned at the foot of the bed seems like second nature, and when it comes time to wash bedding, the bed feels naked without it.
It honestly took me a few years of blogging to figure this one out because I was constantly photographing my work. I would shoot the same room multiple times with different styling, then take bits & pieces from each image and implement them until I had a better composition, something more functional, or an aesthetic that worked better or seemed more balanced than it did before.
Now… I’ll be the first to admit, things work differently in real life (3D) than they do in a photo. That seems obvious, right? A printout can’t help you read how comfortable a sofa might be, the way something will function, or give you the best traffic path or floor plan, BUT- it definitely helps with composition, texture, styling, scale, color, pattern, etc. It’s just another tool to help you analyze the vignette in a different way.
If you think this theory sounds crazy (or even if you don’t), I’m going to challenge you to try it sometime this week. Snap a quick photo of a room in your home, print it out, and see if anything jumps out at you. It’s difficult to separate ourselves from the space we inhabit when we grow used to seeing something on a daily basis. I will warn you- this also brings out imperfections that might need corrected. For me, it’s always brings up an obvious nail hole I forgot to fill (or have grown used to living with), paint that didn’t evenly cover the wall, crooked art, or something like that. I also fall prey to things I’m constantly missing for photoshoots…. I’ll be 20 minutes into photographing and see my cell phone or my lens cap sitting in the shot, once I print the image. Haha! It’s the face / palm or duh moment. Ready to give it a go? Please let me know if you try this!
I’d also love to hear from you in the comments below! Does anyone else use this trick? Are you into the idea of this new “tricks of the trade” series? Are there specific designer hacks you’d like me to cover? I have a running list, but I’m happy to add to it.