Commissioned painting closeup by Judy Schaffer

Commissioned painting closeup
by Judy Schaffer
(Click on for larger version)

If you’ve been putting off starting a remodel or redecorating project because you have no idea where to begin, I’d be willing to bet a little inspiration would get your creative juices flowing. At a recent design industry event, I met Deanna Kienast, a Southlake, Texas artist. Deanna suggested we “start with art” when designing a room. Not just any art will do the trick, however. It should be a piece that is personally significant to you and your family.

As an example, the painting that you fell in love with on vacation is a perfect candidate to provide inspiration for updating a space. Just that one piece can improve your mood by bringing back wonderful memories of your summer escape. Allowing the rest of the decorating decisions to be built around your inspiration piece gives the room warmth and depth. On the other hand, if you leave art to the end of the design, finding that one special piece becomes a chore and more often than not you’ll end up compromising.

The key to finding that perfect inspiration piece is to have an emotional connection with it. For instance, during a recent visit to a stone yard, my client and I walked aisle after aisle looking at slabs for her kitchen. It wasn’t until we turned a corner and I heard, “Oooh, look at that!” A gorgeous piece of green marble literally took her breath away and she knew it was the one. She examined it closely and fell more in love with it the longer she stared at it. The green, gold, cream, and brown in the stone gave us the inspiration and guidance to select the finishes for the rest of the kitchen.

On a larger scale, this approach is also useful when working with an architect on a home or office remodel or addition. We often work with clients who will bring their favorite photos from magazines and websites. Occasionally they already have a piece of furniture or art that they love so we will use that as inspiration for the design. If you haven’t found your inspiration piece yet, just keep your eyes open. You’ll know it when you see it.