How to Build a Design Plan from Sheer Inspiration

By
Home Stager with FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor

I don't know how other Stagers go about their creative processes when deciding what color direction to go when designing, but I have a definite method that I use to find a direction to build a color scheme and choose the right items the first time.

I always start with an inspiration item, which is usually something that trips my trigger in a big way. A piece of art, a photograph, heck, I have even found my inspiration on a sweater I saw a friend wearing once. My criteria is that it has to make me want to look at it again and again.

For instance, I saw an ad in a design magazine that depicted a certain type of finch a few weeks ago.

Although the mag had lots of fabulous rooms full of ideas, that little bird just struck my fancy more than anything else I saw.

So, I picked the image apart and pulled four paint colors out of it for the walls of the house.

Then I found a sofa that reminded me of the texture of the bird and a couple of side chairs that helped to set the a natural scene.

Art came next.

Then accessories.

And we carry a picture of the inspiration item with us whenever choosing anything, so we stay focused on the inspiration and don't spend money where it won't lead us toward the goal.

I have seen shows where other designers wait on wall color. I always think those people are kinda crazy! A painter always starts a new piece by painting the background first. What colors decide on in the beginning determines how all the other color intensities will play out. I am dead in the water without a wall color. It is the very first item on the list to decide.

Then I find the most difficult and cost-worthy things first. There may be 2000 sofas to be had in my area, but I am only going to find only 1 or two that are: 

A.) the right style

B. ) the right color

 

C.) the right dimensions

and

D.) the right price

 

Same thing goes for the rugs,  art and lighting. Lots of choices, but only a tiny handful that will work toward my ultimate goals. So, they also get priority, and I need to find them as soon as possible in the design time line.

Things like accessories are last, because they are generally fairly plentiful and have the most flexibility. I'm kinda funny about it when we do shop for accessories. We shop for criteria, not for specifics.

I'll tell my team to find a target shape, texture, size, and vibe:

 

 

 

The reason for this method of tchotchkie shopping is that when all criteria are met, we can quickly go on to the finding our next item. That way we don't spend valuable time shopping for the "perfect" thing" that we have "pictured" in our mind's eye.

It all comes together in the end because we know what we are looking for, straight out the gate, and we are flexible and we don't sweat the small stuff.

 

~Michelle Molinari

Certified Staging Professional, Feature This... Real Estate Staging, www.FeatureThisDotDotDot.com

SAR Staging Instructor, Staging and Redesign. www.StagingAndRedesign.com

Lead Conceptual Designer, www.CurbAppealConcepts.com   

Vice-President of Acadiana Real Estate Staging Association, www.AcadianaRESA.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
140,804
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

I LOVE your inspiration artwork and the colors you pulled out of it.  I would love to see the finished product!

My biggest frustration is that I'm usually called in right after the painting is finished - a nice, bright white!

Feb 11, 2011 03:24 PM #1
Rainer
133,256
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Well, Beth, at least you know what you are dealing with...it's when they are planning to paint and won't pick the paint that drives me coo-coo.

I'll post a pick of the livingroom when it's done!

~Michelle

 

Feb 11, 2011 03:37 PM #2
Rainmaker
2,946,909
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Michelle - Thank you for sharing very good information on how t build a design plan from sheer inspiration

Feb 11, 2011 04:14 PM #3
Rainmaker
271,173
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA
ASP, IAHSP, RESA Danville, CA

You are just like me-I am a painter, artist too and I have to start with wall color too once I have the inspiration. I love your post Michelle-it is quite beautiful and I suggested it.

Feb 11, 2011 05:45 PM #4
Rainmaker
146,276
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Love your inspiration piece Michelle and how you've pulled everything from it.  Can't wait to see the finished room!

Feb 12, 2011 12:26 AM #6
Rainmaker
821,368
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

The finch is a great inspiration piece.  But what I really want to know is ... where is that armless chair from?  I LOVE it!!

Feb 12, 2011 03:15 AM #7
Rainer
133,256
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

John - you are most welcome!

Feb 12, 2011 03:19 AM #8
Rainer
133,256
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Carthy - Thank you very much!

Feb 12, 2011 03:20 AM #9
Rainer
133,256
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Valerie - I appreciate the compliment - technology is my thing when it comes to staging!

Feb 12, 2011 03:21 AM #10
Rainer
133,256
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Charlene - Me too! It will be a while - the house is presently in the process of being gutted  and raised two feet and leveled... but the paint colors are magnificent!

 

Feb 12, 2011 03:22 AM #11
Rainer
133,256
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Maureen - IKEA BABY! $299 per chair. I think they are smashing!

 

Feb 12, 2011 03:23 AM #12
Rainmaker
342,759
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

Great essay, Michelle - I love birds, and I love your inspiration story.  When something like that truly  strikes a chord within you, things DO just come together beautifully!  Julie

Feb 12, 2011 03:54 AM #13
Rainer
100,180
Donna Ross
Room Remedy Interiors, Sydney, Australia - Salton City, CA
Home Decorating, House Staging, Sydney

Michelle,

Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us. Your words and pictures have told us the perfect decorating story. I can see why the bird caught your attention.  

I'm with Maureen. I love the Ikea chair. I think Ikea is one of my best weapons. I'm sitting on an Ikea chair as I type.

Thanks a bunch.

Feb 12, 2011 10:42 AM #14
Rainer
133,256
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Thanks Julie - yes they sure do!

 

Feb 12, 2011 01:45 PM #15
Rainer
133,256
Michelle Molinari
FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor - Lafayette, LA
Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts

Hey Donna,

I have to drive 8 hours round trip to get to the nearest Ikea, and it's still worth it! It's like Disneyland for Stagers!

 

~Michelle

 

Feb 12, 2011 01:46 PM #16
Rainmaker
492,030
Kathy Nielsen
http://atlantahomestaging.net - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Love this post, Michelle.  I too love that chair.  I'll have to make a point to get out to an Ikea soon.  

Kathy

P.S. Love the choice on the accessory for that shelf.

Feb 13, 2011 01:21 AM #17
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Feature This Real, Estate Staging & Curb Appeal Concepts
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