Creativity is often held up as the Holy Grail of interior design. Therefore, if you aren’t creative, your home won’t be pretty or well designed. The idea that creative people are just “born that way” and that if you don’t have the “gift”, you might as well give up is flawed. Creativity can be learned.
The other good news is that good design is based on some basic, tried and true principles and formulas. Anyone can learn them. Or, just learn the ones you need for the moment. Combine those two learned behaviors and you will certainly be on your way to expressing your own style in a creative, well designed room. Check back tomorrow to discover 3 simple formulas for decorating success.
What is Creativity?
Creativity is about letting your subconscious work with all the stimulating input you can provide. Creative people share some of these traits:
- Courage: they’re willing to try something new and risk failure
- Intuition: they rely on their instincts (usually honed over lots of reading and observing)
- Relaxed: they know that if they allow themselves time to enjoy life, play and relax they’ll be more likely to produce better ideas
- Expressive: whether verbally, by drawing or on the computer, creative people like to share – they communicate, they express what they’re thinking, what they like or don’t like
- Find or create order: they research, learn and then organize what they’ve learned in a way that allows them to produce an idea
- Motivated: rather than working toward external rewards, they love the challenge of expressing themselves for themselves (if someone else enjoys it too, that’s a bonus)
- Solution oriented: they are problem solvers and will try again and again (see #1) to find the best idea or result
- Adaptive: they are willing to try things in a new way, from a new perspective; they like to push the envelop, think outside the box. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t …. they’ll try again.
This room started out stark, white and …. boring. The owner decided it was time to liven things up so began her research. Magazines, books, friends, walks in the park to relax and absorb nature. Then came the questions. Should I paint a wall? What color? Should I get different chairs, add pillows, add a rug? All the research and questions percolated around her subconscious for awhile until ideas began to germinate.
As she looked around her home, she noticed she had a lot of yellow collectibles scattered here and there. That determined the color palette. She really loved the crispness and brightness of all the white, just wanted to soften it a bit, but how? Her walks in the park enjoying flowers and plants, the color yellow, the need to liven up the bookcase, a browse through the local home decor store – AHA! Wallpaper samples lining some of the bookcase cubes! Genius (This is a totally fabricated story to illustrate the concept of creativity and how it works and builds and strengthens. Practice, practice.)
How Do You Encourage Creativity?
Which of these traits are your strongest and which need a little development? Do you immerse yourself in design magazines and haunt the bookstore decorating section? Do the people at the paint counter know you by name? I’ve discovered that my creativity really flares when I spend a couple hours browsing through some of my books or magazines or even through photos online. Seeing how someone else used a color or mirror or fabric in an unusual way gets me thinking about how I could apply something similar in my home.
Put yourself in the position to develop your creative side. Whether you want to apply creativity to home decor or to cooking or child rearing, first you have to develop the knowledge base, observation skills and energy to put yourself in that creative ‘zone’.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Remember that saying? There’s a lot of truth to it when thinking about our homes. Cindy and I get questions all the time from people who have VERY unusual spaces to decorate and they are lost. Yes, they are often difficult spaces to apply the usual solutions to, but that’s the perfect time to let your inventive, creative side show.
Try this: express the need or dilemma you’re facing (to yourself or others), do some research and gain some knowledge of options, create order of all the information you gather, relax and let all that inspiration percolate and finally call upon your courage and try something new. See, you CAN be creative!
This is the perfect forum to share your creativity – where does your creativity show in your home? Is it in your color choices, your accessory placement or how about your room arrangement? Share a photo or comment and tell us about a place you’ve been creative in your home.