Getting Vision for a Room

One of the number one comments I get from people who walk through my home is:

"How did you find the vision for these spaces?"

It really made me think. Is it something that just "happens" to me or do I have a process?

Sometimes I feel like I have too much vision for spaces because it's a never ending flow of thought for me. I rarely get to a place where I'm "done" with how everything looks or is currently laid out (much to my poor husband's dismay...) and I continually enjoy imagining the possibilities. I don't look at my home as a finished work of art, I look at it as a canvas that can be painted over with new colors and direction.

And while getting a vision for a room or space comes easily for me now, I believe it is a skill that can be learned too.

Because let's face it: making a home can be super intimidating -- especially if you feel like every room in your home needs help and you have no idea where to begin. So I'm here today to discuss my thoughts about my process and how I gather both a vision for the space and begin executing the design.


Inspiration is a non-negotiable.

If you feel overwhelmed to begin with, put on the brakes. There should be absolutely no pressure to design a space out of duty or competition or obligation. Check your heart for reasons why it's overwhelming for you. Yes, home making is an outflow of our hearts and can be used to reveal, convict, and heal the soul. Here are a few of the lies that have held me back at times:

  • "Because it will never look as good as hers..."
  • "I'm no good at this..."
  • "There is no way I can get it all done with my budget..."
  • "It won't be perfect, so I guess it's not worth it to change anything..."
  • "What will other people think..."

That last one is KILLER. If you are constantly worried about what others are thinking about your home, your spaces will never relax enough to truly reflect your style or your heart. With all that said, you need to begin looking for things that inspire YOU. At first you may honestly have no idea what you like. That's totally okay! Get a journal or start a board on Pinterest or even keep screenshots on your phone of homes and spaces that really bring you joy.

I recently began redesigning our living room. I was bored with my current design/colors and wanted something that felt bright, alive, and inspiring. Sometimes there is nothing "wrong" with your current space, but it has stopped offering inspiration. This (unfortunately?) happens a lot for me. And honestly, I think sometimes it's a result of designing a space to please other people instead of choosing what would bring me the most joy -- even if it means painting the walls white!

Instead of picking apart everything I didn't like about my living room, I began asking myself what I did like or want for the space. I created a board on Pinterest just to get my gears turning and save those thoughts. It's easy to get distracted by other people's spaces too, so make sure you are picking out what you truly love and enjoy rather than trying to replicate someone else's design.

As you find inspiration, make a note of what you like. It's easy to be mesmerized by perfectly staged images. But zoom in closer. What do you really like about the space? What colors are you drawn to? How would you describe how the space feels? Do you currently have anything that would reflect what you see in the space? This part of the process might seem stupid, but the closer you can get to nailing down what you truly like and are aiming for, the easier it will be to make your space.

This was a couple of Christmas' ago. I just moved everything for the sake of it.

This was a couple of Christmas' ago. I just moved everything for the sake of it.

Rearrange. Repeat. Rearrange. Repeat.

So I am a little bit notorious for how often I rearrange my house. For the people that come to my house often, it's not unusual for their first words to be, "Did something change in this room? It looks different every time I come over!" :)

I find it to be incredibly therapeutic. This simple practice has also helped me develop courage and vision for spaces!

So my biggest and also easiest recommendation for people wanting new vision for their spaces is this: REARRANGE EVERYTHING. Throw caution to the wind! I mean, this isn't costing you anything!

Move that sofa. Bring in the nightstand from the guest room. Try laying the rug the other way. Take away all the knick-knacks and lamps and put them in the corner. Then one at a time, bring each piece back out asking yourself if it gives the space life or clutter. It doesn't really matter if it "make sense" at this point. Nothing has to stay this way.Your goal is to shake up the current footprint and let your mind have space to think of areas in a fresh way.

Depending on your personality, this exercise will either completely overwhelm and annoy you – or it will get those creative juices flowing and breathe some new vision into your space. My husband is the exact opposite when it comes to getting vision for a space. He'd probably be fine just seeing it on paper -- but I have to get hands on and actually visualize the space differently. Plus, it's a great way to deep clean the room. I never knew such things could exist under a couch.

Pay attention to what you like and don't like about the newly rearranged space.There have been times that I rearranged the entire room only to move everything back into its original spot because it just didn't work. And I didn't feel defeated about that. Now I knew that I actually did have everything is the best spot possible. But usually I might end up making one or two changes -- moving an end table or rearranging the stuff on top of the coffee table -- that make the space feel fresh to me.


Small Bites...

One of the easiest ways to get overwhelmed and drive your vision into the dirt is to bite off more than you can chew. Like I mentioned earlier, don't try to redesign your entire home in one sitting. Realistically, it can take years to get an entire home settled and decorated in a way that pleases you. So pace yourself.

Search Pinterest for "how to arrange the coffee table" or "what to put above the dresser" or "bathroom drawer organization" and see if you can work with what you have. Oftentimes it provides you with the courage you need to think "bigger."

I like to start in the spaces I live the most. For you, this might be your home office or kitchen or living room. Once you make your selection, try and stick with finishing the space until you move into other rooms to avoid running out of steam (or cash or inspiration). In fact, while I am working on a particular space, all other rooms exist to serve the mission. I will take mirrors and rugs and pillows and pictures out of other rooms and at least try them out in the new space.

Make sure the pieces inspire you and give joy to the space. If they don't, think about repainting or recovering and see if that would make you like it more. If it still totally distracts from the vision you have from the room, sell that baby or try it in another room.

Using my living room as an example, it was a sad day to realize that the piece that absolutely robbed the space of all joy for me was our couchI would rearrange and remove items and buy small new pieces only to step back and remain uninspired by the space. I figured out that it was the color of my couch that irked me the most (was it green? was it brown? was it moss? no one knew). I threw a white sheet over it one day and was amazed at how much better I liked the space! Sadly, couches cost a lot more than a new lamp or rug. But being the stubborn decorator that I am, I started selling furniture that I didn't need and started saving. It took me almost 6 months, but I finally sold the old couch and purchased my new deliciously gray sofa.

So even if your space ends up needing some more "expensive" upgrades, start small and start saving. This year I started selling or donating everything that either cluttered my home or offered no joy to the space. It was life-giving! Never underestimate the power of decluttering a space.

Remember: let yourself be free. It's only stuff. Enjoy each step of the process!