Undesign: Big Redesign Jobs Start Simply — Just Move Something


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By Barbara Kaplan –

Question: I am contemplating redecorating my home. I have some furnishings I still like, and other pieces I know I no longer want to live with. I have looked at magazines to figure out what I like now, but I’m confused. The thought of everything I have to consider overwhelms me. Would you please help me understand how to begin the process?

All beginnings are difficult, particularly when you are uncertain or attempting something you don’t have the experience to do. Add your emotions about the pieces you are making decisions about, and it can become paralyzing. This happens with many of my clients, so they ask me to help them. The first thing I do is reassure them that they really do have the answers. The answers are inside each of us and that’s why I call it Interior Design.

There are times my clients ask me to help rearrange their furnishings, de-clutter their homes or begin a complete design project — and they don’t know where to begin. Albert Einstein said, “Nothing happens until something moves,” so I suggest moving an object to another place in the room or house. Immediately, change has occurred. Space has been made and the balance of the room has been affected.

This concept is often addressed specifically with the philosophy of Feng Shui. Once I’ve addressed the issues of Feng Shui, which is the placement of pieces, I then use my method, The Bajaro Method to address how the person or persons feel in the room. The two philosophies work well together.

Now you have a decision to make as to how to proceed:

  • Shall the space remain empty?
  • Should it be filled again?
  • Does more need to be taken away?
  • How has the room changed?
  • How does it feel to you?
  • What more do you want to accomplish?

Think about it. Feel it. I like to call this “undesign” because until we move, make a space or clear a space, we cannot fill it. Artists call this negative space. Take away the current design, be it good or bad, and see the difference — feel the difference. Once you see what happens, you can proceed to the next step.

We take for granted the design around us. We don’t think about it. Everything in our environment has been designed. Have you ever looked at a room (or even an individual piece) and thought, “It is too much.”? It may be someone else’s design or someone else’s taste. The most difficult part is in the beginning. It’s when we have to decide what we like, what we want to live with, and what we don’t want to live with. This might mean having to release pieces we have either purchased or been given.

So, as we go through this process, we need some tools. You can go through magazines, visit furniture stores and showrooms. Becoming aware of all the things that are available and discover what your taste is by being exposed to new ideas and styles.

Another difficult thing is to stay open to design possibilities. Try a new color or style. Do the opposite. Mix some of the pieces you have with new pieces that don’t match but might look good together. If you’ve been eclectic in the past, now it might be time to match some things.

Step out of your box and see where those steps might lead you. You may be considering décor you never thought of before or you may even be back to the things you originally liked. If you are led back to your original ideas, you’ll know and not wonder if you are doing the right thing. Either way you’ll understand yourself and why you have chosen the things you have. This will become your signature design.

Your designs are yours — remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

Thanks for all your questions. If I use your question in this column, I will send you a free, autographed copy of my book The Bajaro Method: Rooms Have No Feelings, YOU Do!


Photo by H is for Home on Foter.com / CC BY-NC
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