You and I are a lot alike.  If you’re not outright addicted to watching home improvement shows, you’re likely a closet fan to some degree.  God forbid there’s a Fixer Upper marathon on a sunny Saturday – I’m done.  Good luck peeling me off the couch.  It’s the only show on HGTV the hubs will watch with me when he’s not on the road.  He works for professional musicians as part of their traveling road crew for about 50%-75% of the year.  You don’t see him often enough on my show because I save the projects that require heavy lifting and sawing for him.  The majority of my projects are creations that keep me busy while he’s away and I prefer lighter weight projects that we can all do whether we have tools or not.  Oh, but to see his reaction when he returns home is priceless regardless of the level of difficulty.  You’ve never seen someone go from freezer to table so fast.

Some people have asked me where I come up with all my ideas.  Most of my projects stem from the pure need of resolution to a problem.  For example, my first project in my current home was to add window film to our master bathroom clear pane window for privacy from the neighbor’s back deck twelve feet away.  Just about the best $50 I ever spent which is what I call a ‘smart spend’ when you’re low on cash instead of simply feeding my bottomless hobby.

I get inspiration from watching DIY shows of course, but I also pay attention to movie sets as they’ve always fascinated me.  Those are the true pioneers of design.  I think to be a set designer means you’ve reached the top rung of design in my book.  Do you ever spot items of décor on TV shows or movies that you have in your home and feel like you’ve won at life?  I feel the same too when I go to model homes and open houses at high end homes.  That’s my best recommendation if you’re looking for inspiration and ideas.  It’s that simple!  Take mental notes on the trendy paint colors and furniture staging in model homes.  Notice how less is more as well.  If you have to ask yourself if rooms look cluttered in your home then you know they are.  The key is to mimic the things that inspire you and take the challenge to do it cheaper.  Imitation Is the highest form of flattery.

Purple is my favorite color of all time and I blame Donny Osmond if you have a problem with it.  I cherish the color in all hues but I don’t want to overdo it and become the cat lady of purple.  Rather, I find one inspiration item whether it be a throw pillow, rug, curtain, vase, etc. and start by pulling various things together I already own to create a vibe.  This is design on a budget.  I like to make micro goals and replace or add new coordinating items of the like as I want to afford them.

You’d be very surprised as to what you can find at Goodwill, antique stores, and flea markets.  One of my most favorite easy and interesting decorating ideas has been the use of old looking doors you can buy at places like that or Hobby Lobby and Old Time Pottery.  Just hang some doors on the wall and it instantly gives a unique impression while becoming a cool conversation piece.  It’s just like hanging a picture – hammer and a few nails.  Done!

Finally, I’ll leave you with a few tips to get you started to reveal your inner Survivor Designer.  Definitely visit model homes.  You don’t have to be qualified for a loan to see an open house either. Take pics of rooms that you like. If there’s no staging furniture to see, notice paint colors, lighting fixtures, flooring, kitchen backsplash, countertops, and even landscaping.  Decorating in an apartment or rental home can be challenging, so I recommend using 3M Command Hooks whenever possible.  They can hold the weight of curtains and rods plus a zillion other things like large art and are easily removed with no damage to walls let alone your deposit.  Three-panel room dividers are another great way to decorate no matter where you dwell.  I learned that trick by noticing how furniture stores set up their showrooms to divide spaces without building walls.  It’s a no brainer – inspiration plus motivation equals gratification.