courtney warren country living fair atlanta ben erin napier courtney warren country living fair atlanta

Wow, no words for how great it was to be a featured presenter at the Country Living Fair in Atlanta this month! Well, I take that back: I ALWAYS have words! It was definitely a career highlight, and oh my goodness, the wonderful people, and the shopping and the inspiration and the feedback and the networking…it was just incredible.

Missed getting to Atlanta?.  Not to worry! Today I’ll share with you some thoughts from my presentation at the CLF about how a designer approaches a project differently than most homeowners do.

The first thing I told my audience: CHOOSE AN INSPIRATION PIECE.

motorcyle mural in loft

For example, in my single-guy client’s loft it was definitely the commissioned two-storey motorcycle mural that inspired the whole space, from the colorway to the manly vibe here.  For you, maybe it’s your must-have Moravian star pendant lights…

rustic ranch dining room

…but whatever it is (rug, headboard, chandelier, artwork, statement furniture), your inspiration piece will give you (and/or your designer) a common goal for your space and keep the design from being haphazard.  You will edit out the items that don’t fit with your inspiration.

The second thing designers do differently, I told my audience, is: THEY SHOP MULTIPLE SOURCES.

Exhibit A, what not to do:

boring brown bedroom

Brown and baronial.  This look is disappearing (and not fast enough). Keep away from matching pieces and go for a more curated, unique look.

brown bedroom after redesign

Same space. Much better!

So ask yourself: 1) did I buy all the pieces at the same retailer? 2) do I have too much of the same color or finish? 3) what can I do to bring variety into the room? These questions will help you achieve a more professionally-designed look.

Thirdly, I encouraged my audience to: GIVE IT SOME TIME.

When I went looking for the right table here, for instance, I knew it had to be just the right combination of vintage and airy so as not to cover the fine craftsmanship the carpenter achieved on my feature wall.  It took some time, but I finally found the right thing.

wood feature wall

  So be patient, I tell my clients (who sometimes, when they’ve finally pulled the trigger on new design, want it to come together at lightning speed.)  It CAN be quick, but often it’s not, if you want the RIGHT thing for the space. (Spoiler: that piece from your old house may not work, no matter how much you paid for it. Just sayin’.)

Finally, I asked that lovely group at the Country Living Fair, “When should you paint?” Most of them voted–“at the BEGINNING of the project”.

What does the designer do? PAINTS LAST!

grand stairway custom stairway alcove

Why? Because if you chose your anchor piece at the beginning and allowed it to inspire your design, you will have found pieces that NOW drive your room color.  What if you had painted first and the bedding or the sofa you LOVED and just HAD TO HAVE didn’t go with your paint? Case in point above: we labored forever over the choice of the wallpaper on the stairway. But once that was decided, BOOM! The blue paint in the alcoves was a given.

courtney warren dallas designer

I had a ball interacting with folks at the Country Living Fair, fielding questions and helping MAKE DESIGN FUN! What are YOUR questions?  Let’s talk!

I offer a complimentary, no-strings-attached phone call consultation.

Email me to book a call time!

AND just in time to save your sanity during the holidays…

I’m pleased to offer you my stress-saving HOLIDAY E-BOOK bundle. Check out the deal and download it here.