Finding inspiration for your DIY project....

One of my favorite blogs is It is a great "one stop shop" for anyone wanting to do a DIY project, whether it be decorate a room or paint a piece of furniture!

It is one of the few sites I have on my Facebook feed. Don't ask me how it got there...somehow I "follow" it so all the post and questions show up on my Facebook feed. 

Time and again, people ask "What color do I paint it, how do I lighten this room, how should I redecorate my room?" And I could answer almost every question with a simple answer...find your "inspiration" and "make a plan."

But that is easier said than done and that is exactly why people are asking complete strangers for help! Unfortunately, we all have different tastes and we all have different ideas of how we want a room to function or how we want a piece of furniture to everyone has a different opinion. And if you ask me, that just makes it that much harder to decided what to do!

Deciding what color to paint a piece of furniture or a wall or what fabric to use to reupholster a chair or how to arrange a room are ALL things I struggle with. It took my 13 years to figure out what to do with my master bath and 15 years to do my master bedroom

Now, I absolutely love those rooms! Love them! There are a few little things I still want to do...and I will in time. But I found my inspiration, made a plan and worked the plan.

And THAT is the key....find your inspiration, make a plan and work that plan. It doesn't matter if you are painting an old dresser or reupholstering a chair or remodeling an entire room! If you start making changes without knowing what you want the end result to be and a start to finish plan, you WILL be disappointed. 

Think of it this way...when you build a house, you start by finding a plan....well, first you have to figure out WHERE you want to build and how much you can spend, but after that, you have to find a plan. Before you pick colors, cabinets, have a "plan."  

It makes no difference if it is a big project or a little have to have a clear "vision" (the plan) and you have to work that plan. Yes, you may make a few changes along the way, but you still have to work the basic plan!

I am currently "itching" to change my den. I need new flooring and after 15 years it's time to do a few little updates. Truth be told, I still love this is my "fall" room.  Burnt oranges, black and golds....

I absolutely love this room, especially during the holidays.

But lately I have really found myself drawn to the lighter spaces..teals, whites, creams...and I have decided it is time for a change!

So, here is the process....and keep in mind, it doesn't matter whether you are making over an entire room or painting a dresser. Smaller scale, but same process!

1) Find your inspiration. By that, I mean find what you REALLY love. I do this by looking at pictures on the internet...blogs, Pinterest, magazine sites. I look at TONS of pictures...if ANYTHING in a picture "trips my trigger" I immediately put it in a "file." 

For me, it is a computer file...but if you aren't real computer "savvy" you can always keep a real "paper" file with magazine clippings and pictures printed from the internet. (I just started this process...when I get done, there will probably be over one hundred photos in this file!)

I may not like EVERYTHING about the space, but if there is one element I really like...the color, the style, the arrangement, the hardware.... I file it away.

I don't "dwell" on the picture...I don't nit-pick it. If I think "Oooh, that's kind of pretty" or "I really like that color/style/accent/whatever"...I file it. I ignore the "negatives" and see the "positives." If I like ONE little element in the photo, I file it! 

Here you can see some photos I used as inspiration for my master bath! No, I don't have a million dollar space...but I was able to go back and look at all the pictures that I liked and find common elements that I was able to incorporate into my design.

For example, I want to "lighten" my fireplace by replacing the black marble surround with light tile. Here are some of my inspirations (I am SO sorry but I don't have "links" to the sources...these are pictures I have been "plucking" off Pinterest and putting in my inspiration file!)


My fireplace has a completely different trim surround. I don't have a hearth and I know I want the wall to be an accent color. I like the color of the herringbone tile on the left, but I prefer the subway tile on the right. Both give me an idea of what my fireplace would look like with a lighter tile surround! They help me visualize the it is just a matter of going to the tile store and picking out the tile I want to use.

What about a simple piece of furniture? You see a picture of a dresser and you LOVE the hardware...not the color, not the style...just the hardware. File it! You see a dresser that is a completely different "style" than what you have, but you LOVE the color...file it!

If I see a picture of a room and I like the couch, but NOTHING else in the room, I file it. 

Here are a few pictures that are currently in my "inspiration file" for my den....

The couch....

A club chair I LOVE.....

Note I don't have a "geo" mirror and my mantel is too high for a mirror. But I have a wood finish round mirror on one wall and this gives me an idea of how it will look painted. This picture also has a light fireplace surround. The chairs are not "my style" and I don't want white wainscoting...but I "plucked" the photo because of the tile surround and the mirror! 

There are a few pieces in my den I will keep. I will take pictures of those items and put them in file. do you actually identify your "inspiration." Easy...after weeks or months or even years of "plucking", look at ALL your pictures and identify what element in each you love. Maybe you find yourself drawn to the same wall color...or the same style couch...or a specific cabinet hardware. There was something about each picture you loved. Find it....

Once you have found your "inspiration"...what you REALLY love in a space,... it is time to make a plan.

So the next post will be about "making a plan." Some people are able to "make a plan" on a fancy computer program or a "design board." And if you need that "visualization" that is great.

But first you need to create your space on paper by taking measurements and drawing it out.

So here is how you design a room...

1) Inspiration...covered that here so get busy "plucking" pictures. Again, don't dwell on EVERYTHING in the photo...if something in the photo grabs your attention, file it. 

2) Measure and draw your space. You don't have to be an architect to do me!

3) Make a detailed list of EVERYTHING you want to do in the space.

4) Assign a budget to EVERYTHING you want to do in the space...every dime!

5) Start eating this elephant, one bite at a time (basically, working the plan!) 

So stay tuned...I am going to cover each step of this process, one post at a time. While you are waiting, start "finding your inspiration" for the space or piece you want to change. Because until you know what you love, you can not move on to the next step!!!