Design paralysis is real. And when it sets in, it can make finding clarity in your design tough.
We are surrounded these days by so.much.inspiration. Between perfectly styled photos on Instagram and unlimited resources on Pinterest and Google, finding inspiration isn’t the problem. Finding clarity is.
With so many resources, it can be hard to decipher between what you truly love vs. something fleeting and trendy.
If you’re like me, you have a love and appreciation for all different types of aesthetics, which makes defining your style even harder.
You can come across an image or an idea that you like or find interesting, but you may not necessarily want it for your own home. Because of this, designing a space can become difficult.
Today I am sharing my process for how to find clarity in design when design paralysis has set in.
HOW TO SORT THROUGH ALL THE inspiration in your head and CLARiFY your design.
When design paralysis sets in and all clarity is lost
When starting a new project, it is easy to get excited about what the finished product could be. I often find myself jumping WAY ahead of myself and forgetting the fundamental steps I’ve learned to tackle any and all design projects.
I tend to jump straight into Pinterest or Instagram looking at ALL THE THINGS. Or picking up a handful of magazines and searching for the perfect
While this is part of the process, it isn’t the best place to start. It usually ends up sending your head spinning and wasting time on things that may not work for the particular space you’re working on.
When I start to become paralyzed by the design process or overwhelmed by all the various ways I could design a space, I step back and follow the below tips to find clarity in all the noise.
Set your intentions for the space
When feeling overwhelmed by all the different paths your design could take, stop and take a step back. Start from the very beginning with your intentions for the space.
Ask yourself the following:
- How do you want the space to feel? Cozy and warm? Light and airy? Welcoming? Get clear on this and write it down so you can remind yourself during the process.
- How does the space need to function for you and your family? Will this be an office for work or a library for reading? Do you need tons of storage or a place to relax and hang out together?
Gather the necessary information
Once you have set your intentions, next you will need to gather some info.
Make a list of what you need. Below are some things to think about:
- What furniture pieces do you need? Sofa? Tables? Chairs?
- Is there enough lighting? Overhead/general, task and accent?
- Do you need a rug?
- What accessories do you need to complete the space? Art, mirrors, storage, etc
Next, jot down measurements of the space? Measure the length and width of the room and any furniture pieces you are keeping in there.
Also, make note of the min and max measurements of the pieces of furniture you need for
Sketch potential layouts for the space.
Grab some paper and a pencil and start to play around with different layouts. This will help you to get an idea of what you may want in the space and what will fit.
Make sure to include the measurements of the space and any pieces that are staying on your sketch of the layout. Even if it is very rough at this time. Having it for reference to help visualize the space when shopping will be helpful.
Keep this list and your layout handy when shopping. Snap a pic or keep them in your purse for easy reference. This will help you stay on track and focused when shopping.
Gathering DESIGN inspiration
I am a super visual person, so images are a great way for my head to start to wrap my brain around a look. I usually have an idea or thought that starts the process and then I start to search for images that help support my vision.
Before Pinterest days, magazines were my go-to for all things design. I used to have stacks of torn out pages of anything and everything that inspired me. I kept all of these organized in binders.
Pinterest is now my number one source for taking an idea in my head and giving it legs. It’s a great tool for gathering, storing, and organizing inspiration. Anything and everything that I am drawn to gets added to the board created for that particular space I am working on.
Even if I am not sure about an idea or image, it gets added at this point. The idea is to collect all the options into one central place
clarifying THE DESIGN
When starting the design process I usually pull together images of anything and everything that grabs my attention and I will save them to a Pinterest board. Once I have pulled together a good amount of images, I will take a step back and start to analyze and look for overall trends.
When trying to find clarity, I like to think through some of the following questions:
- What am I being drawn to? The colors? Style? Layout?
- How do the images make me feel? Am I gravitating towards spaces that are energizing, cozy and welcoming, or more relaxed?
- Are the spaces light and airy or dark and moody?
- What colors seem to be repeating throughout the images?
- Is there a particular style that seems to be a common thread? Traditional? Modern? French country? A mix?
Once I have identified some common themes I try to then hone in on the specific images that are truly favorites and a reflection of what is in my head. I will create a separate board and move these images that support the vision to help narrow down the scope.
OVERCOMING DESIGN PARALYSIS
After zeroing in on a collection of images that have captured my vision, I like to keep these handy for reference.
Creating boards on Pinterest makes it super easy to do this. When I am out and about shopping for a space I can easily pull up the app and access my images at any time.
I also save ideas to my camera roll on my phone.
If I find an item while out shopping that I think may work for the space, I will snap a photo to reference later.
This is also how I store magazine images. Snapping a quick photo is much easier nowadays to carry around than a big, fat binder.
Having easy and quick access to my sources of inspiration, have been critical in helping to keep my design on track. They act as a filter through which any pieces that I find
Moving forward with clarity in Your Design
Taking the time to pause, set your intentions for the space, and gather the dimensions and needs of the room, will help you to clarify what is important and create the requirements.
After you work through this process, it is much easier to move forward with the clarity you gained and work through the plan you developed.
As you begin to gather inspiration, remember to pay attention to what it is that’s drawing you to that particular image or thing. Take note of the colors, styles, and feelings evoked by each that you are most drawn to. These are the things that will help you to pinpoint your design direction.
Once you have honed in on the plan and have identified the style and colors that most speak to you, create your mood board. I recommend doing so through Pinterest or via your photo album on your phone. This will allow you to organize your thoughts and have your resources readily available for reference when shopping.
Following the process outlined in this post will help put you on track to finding clarity in your design and creating a space you love!
What are some of the tricks you use to help keep your design on track and realize your vision?