Designer Trick : Examine a Room in 2D

Designer Trick : Examine a Room in 2D - roomfortuesday.comI 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?!

Designer Trick : Examine a Room in 2D - roomfortuesday.comOne 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.

Designer Trick : Examine a Room in 2D - roomfortuesday.comIt’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.

Designer Trick : Examine a Room in 2D - roomfortuesday.comSometimes 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.

Designer Trick : Examine a Room in 2D - roomfortuesday.comIt 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.

Designer Trick : Examine a Room in 2D - roomfortuesday.comNow… 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.

Designer Trick : Examine a Room in 2D - roomfortuesday.comIf 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Hmmm. (Fun idea for a new series.) You’ve got me thinking this morning. I have heard of the idea that photographing your space could help you get a new perspective, but I feel like you might have clarified a point for me. I’ve tried to take photos of my whole room, and my limited camera skills/equipment made that impossible. Maybe this trick is most effective for vignettes? Or maybe I’m just a terrible photographer.😬 Imagine me taking pictures of various spots in my house all weekend… (Also, the pic above has me wondering where that desk area is in relation to the whole kitchen reno.)

    1. Most of the time my camera skills aren’t blog worthy or great… I just snap a quick shot with my phone, print it on regular paper, and roll with it. Haha! For the purposes of this blog post, I pulled out my Instax cam because it’s fun and cute, but in real life- I just use my phone. The key for me is PRINTING it. It’s better than looking at a screen. As for the desk in relation to the kitchen… it’s on the back dining room wall. Eventually it will get demoed.

  2. This is a great idea for a new series! I’m looking forward to learning some tricks of the trade. I will definitely be trying this one out. I can see how helpful this would be. I will often look at a space in my home and think something is missing, I think seeing the space from a different perspective may help me figure it out!

    1. So happy you like it, Anne! Seeing a space in a different form is a game changer, in my opinion. Let me know what you think :)

  3. I’m so excited for this series and will happily take all of the tricks you want to share! I love this idea, too. I do a poor man’s version of this and take phone pictures of the room I’m working on to get an idea of what the room still needs, items that are somehow missing the mark, etc. I also split-screen the photo while I’m shopping online, so I can see how pieces I’m considering look in context. It’s also nice to have the photos to reference if I’m out shopping in person. I love the idea of upping my game and taking nicer photos, and then printing them for analysis. I think it would definitely be helpful to see things in a new light!

    1. I love hearing that, Julie!! Thank you. For some reason, I don’t love looking at the space on my phone- I think because I’m normally viewing things on screen and I’m just too accustomed to that with social media (so my brain says “skim”)… but printing it out is what really helps me. That’s a great idea though if that’s easier and your preference for visualizing- it’s the same concept :)

  4. Lauren Horton says:

    Love this new series idea!!! I always take photos to help me get a different perspective of a room!

    1. Yay!! It really is a helpful tool :)

  5. I’m so excited for this new series! I would have never thought to do this but it makes total sense! Might be nice to actually print some photos for once anyway, :) Thanks so much for the tip!

    1. I’m so excited to hear that Brooke! Give it a try and let me know what you think :) Happy Friday! xo

  6. I love the idea of this series! Thank you for always sharing with us!!

    1. Of course- that’s why I do what I do :) I always want to be helpful. Thank YOU for following along and for reading. xox

  7. I use this trick all the time. It can be even more helpful for me if I flip the photo from left to right, making a mirrored image. It helps me see the room completely differently. I’m looking forward to more tips amd tricks.

    1. So happy to hear that Kelly! And such a great tip on flipping the photo- I’ll have to give that one a try :) xo