The Starting Point Of Design–Revisited

The Starting Point Of Design by ConfettiStyle

Happy Monday!  We made it through another weekend which included a hodge podge of tasks and projects. Most of our weekend was spent at the new house cleaning the kitchen, bathrooms and floors. We also moved all of my Christmas decor into the garage storage unit.  Yesterday we spent some time shopping for sofas and also swung by At Home to pick up a few things.  If you haven’t been to an At Home store, I highly recommend you do.  The store is massive and there are lots of basic decorative items and stylish decor and super affordable prices.

This week is going to be extra busy with client meetings, more packing and shopping for a new dishwasher.  When we were cleaning the kitchen we noticed that the dishwasher had some mold build-up which made me cringe.  So, a new dishwasher just made it to the top of the ‘must-buy’ list.

Since I’m in the beginning stages of creating a design plan for our new house, I thought I’d share a post I wrote back in 2011.  The post, entitled The Starting Point Of Design outlines things to consider when beginning to develop a design plan for a room or a whole house.  I hope you’ll find these tips valuable no matter what stage of decorating you are in.


One of the questions I know every designer gets asked is,“where do I start when designing a room?”  Put five designers in a room and you’ll probably get five different answers to that question.  Some would say wall color, others would say artwork, and yet someone else might say the rug.  While there may not be a right or wrong answer to this question,  there are some pros and cons to the most common answers that you might hear.


Encompassing the largest visual area within a room, the walls definitely influence the overall look and feel of a space.  If the artwork you’re placing in a room is oversized or unique, you can use this as the starting point of your design plan.  As a general rule of thumb, I like to interpret the lightest colors within the art onto the main pieces of furniture, and keep the bolder tones for the accent pieces and accessories.

In the living room below, the bolder colors in the artwork are represented in the pillows and garden stool. The lightest colors are represented in the sofa, rug and coffee table.  All of the colors (or tones and shades of) in the artwork are pulled into the decor so there is an overall theme to the rooms design statement.

Studio McGee

Wallpaper with a defined pattern and theme can definitely serve as the jumping off point for your room design.  The accessories are a direct interpretation of the wallpaper and the white table, lamp and garden seat relate to the background color of the wallpaper.  The red mirrors adds a pop of color that enhances the overall vignette.

tip:Whenever I add an accent color into a space, I always try to use it, or a version of it in three places within the room.  This way the color addition looks intentional.  Can you spy the three “red” accents?   (mirror, apple arrangement, terracotta pot)



Just like wall decor, bold patterned rugs can and are often the starting point for a room design. To create a design plan around a rug you’ll want to pull key colors from the rug pattern and use that as the foundation for your furnishings and accessories.

If your rug is a combination of soft and saturated colors you can pull which ever hues you want to create the mood you desire for your space.  The softer blue tones of this rug are represented through the wallpaper and chair fabric keeping the space soft and soothing.

Better Homes & Gardens

Using the darker tones of a rug as the wall color or furnishings can create a room that is more dramatic and moody.

Apartment Therapy

The blue and white striped rug not only defines the color palette of this room, but the vertical stripes visually enlarge the space and create movement for the eye.  The deepest shade of blue from the rug is the color used throughout the room, creating a very seamless and cohesive design statement.  White keeps the space light, airy and modern.

House Beautiful


Is your furniture retro, contemporary, antique, cottage or maybe some other distinct style?  Whatever style of furniture you have, it can definitely define how your room is decorated.  The goal is to create a space that feels unified and communicates a clear message.

A retro styled sofa and coffee table call for vintage modern wall decor and sleek flooring.  The room has a focused point of view and design style.

99 Architecture

Shabby, worn and rustic furnishings in white call for walls and floors in white.  Bolder colors mixed with the white furniture would look harsh and forced.  Using subtle, washed out tones keep the space soothing and calm.

Better Home & Gardens


Today, many people are building distinct architectural elements into the design of their rooms.  Arches, beams and mill work give the space character and define the rooms’ style.

Brooks and Hill

The archway in this bathroom forms the perfect nook for the tub and built-in storage and creates a little separation within a large open floor plan bathroom.

Architectural Digest



For many people, a dominant color is what they base their design plan on.  If you are using a strong, bold color, don’t be shy.  Make a statement with it and make it intentional.


Hot pink on the walls shows up again in the window treatments, throw and within the art and accessories.  Again, white is used to keep the space from being too jarring.

Adorable Home

A bold color plays pops against a wall of black shelves. And using black in several places within the room creates a visual connection with all the decorative elements.

Apartment Therapy


If I’m designing a room from scratch, fabrics typically serve as my starting point.  The sofa fabric dictates the fabrics for the window treatments, accent chairs, rugs, pillows, accessories, and paint color.  Once I pick my fabrics, I then select the wall color and go from there.

The Starting Point Of Design by ConfettiStyle

fabric collections via Calico Corners

The patterned drapes in this dining space serve as the inspiration for the other textiles and the accessories within the room. All of the colors in the drapes are represented  so the space connects the design dots beautifully.

The Starting Point Of Design by ConfettiStyle

House Beautiful



The bottom line on finding the starting point for a room design is to pick the most dominant visual statement and use that as the launching pad for the decor.  Tie your colors, accessories, furnishings and wall decor back to that dominate element and you’ll create a design plan that is cohesive and beautiful.



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