Listen to Your Intuition When Designing a Room…or a Brand

Listen to Your Intuition When Designing a Room…or a Brand

Let’s visit intuition today.

This is a picture of a dining area from when the house was on the market, the previous owner’s decor. So, this is what I started with, minus the furniture.

before pic office

Being that I work out of my house a majority of the time, at first I decided to turn the room into my home office. We have another room in the house that can serve as a dining space, so I did it. I spent over a month going to antique stores, checking out Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores. The lawyer’s bookcase cabinet came from my mom, it has been in the family for over 100 years. I sanded and re-stained it (bottom right corner of office photo).

When I started to design my office, I had to stop and really look at each piece that I chose. I asked myself why I was pulled to it, what it meant to me and/or what it reminded me of. If I couldn’t answer these questions with happy thoughts, I would put the item back.

Throughout my marketing career, I have designed what seems like thousands of brands. One thing that has served me well in creating a brand image and story has been intuition. I don’t know how I came into really knowing and trusting my gut, but I did. It started when I was around 20 years old. My intuition has guided my career and it serves me well when designing a space as well.

How do I tap into my intuition? It’s simple really I step out of a situation or an object and ask myself to answer questions.

  1. How do I want to feel after the design is done (or in marketing, how do I want the target audience to feel)
  2. How will I know I something isn’t right or doesn’t look or feel right?
  3. What is the most important aspect of designing this space (or brand?)

These 3 questions are the basics. I start here and if more questions come up, I listen to the answers. After all is said and done, I look at the space (or brand) for a few days. I make sure it feels right, looks right, the messaging is spot on and most importantly, I wouldn’t change a thing, I can say out loud… “nailed it”. That’s when I know.

There have been times, many times that I have not listened to a feeling or what I call an Inkling. Whether it was bringing on a new marketing client, design client or placing an item in a space, a direction for a marketing approach etc… I have to say, every. single. time. it never worked out. My voice and gut is probably the most powerful characteristic I have. I’m grateful. It has served me well as a risk taker and guided me to many successes throughout my life and probably even more failures than I’d like to visit.

Okay, let’s talk about costs/budget. I budgeted $750 for my office decor. In all, the room makeover (not including new flooring and fresh paint) cost me approx. $550 in decor and statement items. The statement piece in my office is definitely my desk and the peacock picture.

  • Desk- $20
  • Furry desk chair- thrift shop $30
  • Fixture from World Market- $79
  • 10 wall hangings – all were between $2.00 up to $45, the brass peacock was the most expensive find at a local antique store but I couldn’t pass it up .

  • Lawyer cabinet- free (odds and ends in the cabinet are all rom my childhood and were free, 200 year old glass slippers, a marble statue with a little girl and her dog and a silver toy car).  I played in this cabinet for most of my childhood, the little pieces of glass art and trinkets always fascinated me and calmed me. Memories.


  • Buddha from Pier One- on sale $30
  • Floor lamp from a consignment store- $35
  • Striped lamp (Kate Spade)- Home Goods- $32.00
  • Leather foot stool (found on FB Marketplace)- $20 (excellent find!)
  • Plant (fern) in a basket- $50 total

I reference a faux cowhide chair and a rug that didn’t make it in to this picture. They ended up in another room, the cocktail room, I’m working on designing that room now and will share it soon.

After I was finished putting this room together, something happened. I realized that the other dining room wasn’t going to work as a dining room because we added in a custom bar and the space just didn’t feel right with a table and chairs in it. We needed a dining room, a place to gather with friends and family and to enjoy my husband’s cooking. My gut told me to move it to my office space (well that and my daughter and mother were over for dinner one night and had the same suggestion). Here is the initial layout, the room doesn’t feel done yet. I’m not sure if it needs a larger table, a different table and maybe a rug. Things to ponder- the idea of adding a floor lamp and a buffet and maybe a hanging plant, I will report back.

I can tell you that it feels right as a dining area. My office desk and items have temporarily moved into our guest bedroom. I’m working on finishing the guest bedroom in the next week or two as well so they will probably move to another space, I’m not sure where yet. Questions I ask myself– where I want to work, where it feels right in the house etc… and my gut is telling me…the cocktail room. lol, not kidding. We will see if I end up having an office space in the bar.


The dining space budget was $1,500. I spent, to date- $1,400, getting close. That means if I add a rug and other misc items I have $100 left. Hmmm….I think it can be done.

  • Winslow Homer canvas painting- Wayfair, $200. I saw this piece on Pinterest, it made me smile, a gathering at sea, good times with friends. Although it is men in this painting, I’m searching for something to represent women as well.
  • Small natural wood chevron pattern cabinet- $349 Pier One, clearance
  • Two Pier One club chairs, fabric, black and white print, on clearance at $99ea.
  • Antique Table (we might be turning it into our kitchen island when we remodel kitchen in the next month or two- consignment store- $340
  • Two metal chairs, Target $39 each
  • Fluffy arm chair- $30 from a thrift store
  • Plant on table- $35
  • Gold Mirror $20
  • Wall clock- thrift store $20
  • Weather thingy- antique store- $30
  • Mirror and picture frame- $25 total
  • Plant in basket- $50 total
  • Ivy plant in gold vintage pot- $25

In closing, the end result I’m looking for in any project is the feeling of happiness, contentment, peace, sanctuary. I know my work is done when I get there. Some times months later I move a piece or add a new piece in because the “feeling” changes, I change therefor the space must change around me. Such is life. The person that doesn’t change, dies. I want to live, live fully. In my career, in my home, with my family and in travel. I shall live.

Until next time, listen to you.

Starr out


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