Sometimes, I get the design equivalent of writer’s block. I’ve got a case of it now, in fact, with our guest room design.
I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it – and specifically the back wall – since we moved in.
The room, as you can see, is beige. I tried to – again – make over this headboard, but I finally decided that I’m just never going to like it, so I gave up. I’ve had it for more than 20 years, and it doesn’t owe me anything. I donated it to Second Life Thrift and I believe it’s already been sold (score one for the pups benefitted by Second Life!).
So now I’m left with this blank slate. And my blank mind.
Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve had plenty of ideas float through the transoms of my mind. But I haven’t glommed onto one yet, the way I usually do with the design I run with.
What happens when I have “design block” like this?
I plan. I’m a planner.
I sit down with my trusty spiral notebook and try to free-write answers to the following questions (I’m going to answer each question below with guest room-related answers to both show you how it works and to maybe figure out what in the world to do with the guest room):
(1) What am I going to do with this space?
It’s a guest room, so it has to have a bed and night table. It’s also Dear Husband’s music room, so it needs some rug or floor covering in there that will absorb sound.
The guest room has always been the room that I am more adventurous with, design-wise. I might try a bold patterned fabric headboard or a purple duvet, just because I want to make it fun and different.
(2) What size is it? What am I working with here?
The guest room is long and narrow with high ceilings.
I didn’t bother measuring the length of the room (it’s 13 ft., by the way) because the other side of the room is the music room side, and I’m mainly concerned with the design on the bed/guest room side.
(3) What do I NOT want?
Sometimes the easier question to answer is what I DON’T want, rather than what I DO want. The key is that it has to reflect my style and be consistent with the look in my home.
I know I do not want:
(1) Plank walls. I’m over this as a design trend, I think. I like the idea of using reclaimed wood in projects (see headboard, above), but a whole wall of it has been done. And done. And done.
(2) I don’t want to make the room feel smaller than it is. Thus, I don’t want to paint the whole room charcoal gray or something like that. In fact, I bought a deep blue paint for the back wall and have already stuck it in the shed because I’ve already decided it wasn’t the right choice. Drat.
(4) What color should it be?
This has stumped me for this room. I’m faced with two challenges here when choosing color: (1) the room is small; and (2) there isn’t much natural light.
I think that’s partly why I’m thinking about doing something only on the wall behind the bed. I like the airiness of the light paint in the room, but it needs a pop of color.
(5) What do I want to include in this room?
As I always say, to thine own self be true…or in this case, to thine own style be true. For me, that means:
(1) something vintage;
(2) a pop of red;
(3) it must be comfortable;
(4) including something repurposed.
Also, ideally, I’d like to use power tools. That’s how I roll.
(6) What are my inspirations?
I often cut pictures out of magazines or pin things on Pinterest that inspire me for particular projects.
For the guest room, I pulled this picture from a magazine:
I loved how the trim at the top of the room made the room feel cozy, bringing the ceiling down a bit. I love the rustic, vintage-y touches, like the ladder and the lamp.
The other thing I have been thinking of as inspiration is this quilt:
Dear Husband’s aunt made it. It’s gorgeous. Right now, it’s hanging on the old ladder in our living room, but I’m thinking it needs a new home in the guest room, maybe on the wall (it’s a twin-size and the bed in there is queen-size).
So, that’s my brainstorming/design brain un-freezing process. I hope this helps you plan out your next design project.
In the course of writing this post, I think I broke through my design block for the guest room.
The only thing I haven’t resolved is the wall color. I wrote “LILAC (very light)” on the sketch, but I think I have to paint the entire room that color, because one lilac wall with gloss white woodwork would look weird with the rest of the room being beige. Still noodling on that one. Stay tuned!
How do you think through design dilemmas or projects? I’d love for you to share your approach in the comments.
Thank you for stopping by!