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The process of Changing Rooms part one


Who remembers the TV programme ‘Changing Rooms’ from the late 90s early two thousand? Or rather – who’s willing to admit they remember it?! It was hugely popular back then and partly responsible for a big increase in upcycling and renovating.

Now, I’m no Laurence Llewellyn Bowen, but I love interior design. And I’m lucky I get to indulge that passion often as clients will usually ask for my help and advice when choosing fabrics. And I love it! I can spend hours coming up with creative ideas. I guess the line of work I’m in means I’m more creative than not and that I have that kind of brain. I thought it was the left side when I first started writing this but to be sure I Googled it. Here’s what Google said…

The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body. It also performs tasks that have to do with logic, such as in science and mathematics. On the other hand, the right hemisphere coordinates the left side of the body and performs tasks that have to do with creativity and the arts.

Unleash your creative potential…

The info I found on which side of our brains we use (above) had me scratching my head (both sides!). Am I more creative than logical? Who knows? I just know I love helping clients choose fabrics and I love coming up with ideas with them – it doesn’t matter which part of my brain I’m using. Or, as this read before I put spellcheck on, which side of brian I’m using…

As with everything in life – even the extraordinary times we’re in right now – ideas are there to have fun with. I know that sometimes my plans and colour schemes won’t fit the bill and that other times they will. A bit like a game of tennis popping ideas back and forth till the right one hits the sweet spot.

Decorating can be fun even when challenging.

We all have very different ideas about décor and quite often it’s the first steps that are crucial for achieving the home of your dreams. And in my experience, the most common problem is choosing a fabric that fits your room as it is. Because when your choice is limited to an existing scheme it can become an interesting challenge. But even when your room is being completely re-decorated and you have a blank canvas you can have the same issue of indecision. Some people love the freedom of ‘going for it’ and playing with colours, fabric and wallpapers – I know I do. I can’t wait till we’re at that stage for our house in France but at the moment it’s a case of “we need to build the walls before we can decorate them!” Let’s just say it’s a work in progress and leave it at that…

Others though can be stuck for a theme or an inspiring thought. But inspiration can be all around you. The trick, I think, is not to look too hard. You can spend a lot of time looking at interior design magazines which may help inspire you. And there’s an incredible amount of interesting, mad and crazy ideas out there. I love that. But just take your time and be aware of everything around you.

Get inspired by something you already own.

Sounds simple right!

But there are some easy steps to take. It might sound like an odd thing to say but most people I meet are good at telling me what they don’t like. For most of us, knowing what we don’t like is easy – but for some, defining what they do like, can be much tougher.

So, start with your strength. Chuck out the things you don’t like. You’ll start to get a picture of what you do like. It is amazing how often this happens with clients who are stuck and find the final decision hard to make. I had one client, a few years ago, now, who took two years to decide! At some point, she knew she had to make a decision. She had to be brave. But it didn’t matter how long it took as long as she was then happy with that decision. And when she did finally choose she was pleased with the result. So my point is, take the time you need, be patient, inspiration will come.

What’s your one thing?

I have a beautiful sofa that’s been in my possession for around 12 years. I can see a perfect fit for this in my home – so this has become my inspiration. Around this, Nik has an idea for fabrics, colour and curtains. So our home has the beginnings of a theme – a sofa, a fabric, and colour. We have a picture in our minds, and from there, our dream room will evolve. So decide what will be your ONE thing. You’ll quickly see how ideas will build around that. You’ll start to notice things in shops and magazines, in fact, all around you, that will contrast to or compliment that one thing. Slowly but slowly you’re building a theme, and creating a scheme.

See, I said it was simple!