putting a room together: day 2 {copy, copy, copy}

26 April 2011

You don’t know what you’re doing?
I’ll let you in on a little secret: neither do I!
I’ve never been to design school. I have no credentials, except that I love seeing potential in spaces and all things “home.” When people ask what I “do,” I always say mom and if my husband is there he may chime in that I have a blog. And then the questions come:
“Oh, what kind of blog?”
It’s a home decor, kind of design on a dime type blog with some other randomness.
“Oh, is that what your degree is in?”
No, my degree is in elementary ed.
Oh….that’s interesting.
I usually go on to say it began in Texas when we had a really ugly house, blah, blah, blah, but it really makes no sense.
I guess my point here is:
fake it until you make it aka copy, copy, copy!

This is a distinct copy experience I can remember:
It was 2002 and we were living in Logan, Utah with our 2 little girls. My husband was in his last year at Utah State and working as an intern at an accounting firm downtown. We didn’t live far, so I would push Lauren and Hailey in the double stroller down to meet him on some days for a picnic lunch. While I was waiting for him in the lobby, I noticed an arrangement the secretary had made at the front desk. It looked almost identical to this:
greenery and I thought it was the most lovely thing EVER.
And I wanted to copy it…exactly.
So I grabbed a piece of paper and started madly sketching it out and then stuffed it into my purse. I saved up my money I made helping to watch a little baby in the afternoon for a few hours for a couple that went to our church and went down to a store called A Little Something on Main Street in Logan. (Is it still there Logan girls? I loved that shop…) I bought an $8 candlestick and a $10 candlestick and it felt like I was spending sooo much. (I actually was~I knew the wonderfulness of yard sales back then, but I hadn’t discovered spray paint yet…) I completed the ensemble with a couple of dollar tree candles and some yard sale ivy in a dollar tree tin, and a picture in a frame.  and I thought it looked like a designer had created that space on our $5 particle board yard sale bookshelf.
greenery candle 2002 It was a spot I loved looking at in that apartment and from there on out, I began copying other spaces that I saw and loved from magazines, in shops, sketches of what others had done in their homes, the parade of homes, etc.
So, don’t be afraid to fake it until you make it. If you see a space, or even a little shelf in a space that you love…don’t be afraid to recreate it in your home with your own personal touch. Of course, give credit where credit is due, but let amazingly creative, professional people do the hard work for you and take it from there.
The crazy part is: you will start really developing a style of your own as you do this. You’ll get a strong sense of what you are attracted to, what you LOVE, and what you want your home to feel like. Now, when I see something I love, I try to analyze what it is exactly that draws me to it.
Remember my copycat fall tablescape? It started with this picture and I was hooked:
To recap:
Yesterday we talked about Finding Inspiration.
Now, take your inspiration pics and choose a corner or a shelf, or a dresser top, or even a whole room that you LOVE and copy the look as best you can with what you have or can purchase inexpensively. Remember the power of paint~it can transform most anything!
Go and have fun copying something~see you back here tomorrow.
Are you a copier? Or an independent, think things up on my own type?signature


  1. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:42 PM

    that is awesome...a canoe for a windowseat?? we want pictures!

  2. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:42 PM

    thank you, tiffany!

  3. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:42 PM

    I used to copy *exactly* when I didn't feel confident enough to to try my
    own version, but now I think I'm more like you where I like to see an
    inspiration, then go my own way and make it work for our situation/space.

  4. I nearly forgot to tell you--I FINALLY got around to doing something with my wonderful grass! I wrote about it this afternoon. I have you to thank for that little touch of sanity in my life! :) Love you!

  5. For the longest time I didn't do much of anything because financially it wasn't really feasible. But over the years I have totally started to copycat with my own twist. Great series!

  6. I am luvn this series!

  7. Thank you for freeing me to be a copycat! I always feel so bad about copying people, but I guess they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I want to come up with original ideas, but until I learn what good ideas are for decorating, I think that copying is a great idea!

  8. That is a great picture, Melissa, and one I have saved in my Decorating Ideas folder on my laptop. Your recreation was wonderful! I remember seeing that at the time you posted it, too, and loved it. I totally agree, and sometimes the copy {or recreation} comes out looking better than the inspiration.

    Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

  9. Lisa @ Shine Your Light1/16/14, 10:40 PM

    Melissa you're my twin. I have a degree in Elem. Ed too but DIY blogger right now. I even have that Arkansas Football-awesome framed chalkboard pic in my files! And I used to copy all my sister in law's decorating ideas until I got the hang of what I liked!
    Love this series - it's great!

  10. .....A Little Something eventually opened a 2nd store in Bountiful, but sadly they are both kaput now. It was always such a fun place to visit!

  11. Oh, girl, I have SO done that!!! I tried to copycat a project a friend of mine did a long time ago, and it was so awful! I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Looking back at photos proved me wrong. ;) This series is wonderful. :) Here's to GOOD inspiration!

  12. I LOVED this post! I love reading home decor blogs, but sometimes they make me feel really un-creative and un-talented. It's so refreshing to hear that people find inspiration all over the place (and it doesn't all come from within).

    I usually see an idea that I like somewhere, and try to spin it a little to make it my own. But sometimes, I'm a flat-out copycat! :)

  13. melissa*320 sycamore1/16/14, 10:41 PM

    So glad I'm not alone in this. Do you think we'll look back on our projects
    now and wonder what we were thinking?? Probably :)

  14. melissa*320 sycamore1/16/14, 10:41 PM

    Some of my favorite emails are "look what I was inspired to do from one of
    your projects..." I think most home bloggers put their work out there to
    inspire and give ideas to others, and of course, get some in return. Once
    your creative juices start flowing, it's amazing what you can begin to come
    up with on your own...

  15. I love your blog it's so much fun! I always wondered why you had a picture of the Logan temple. Sadly to say a Little Something is no longer here. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

  16. melissa*320 sycamore1/16/14, 10:41 PM

    so sad! I also loved Black Eyed Susan and On the Avenue...are they still

  17. Copycatting is one of those things that I hate to admit I really want to do! This makes so much sense to me, and really validates the I have been going about creating a home that I love. Really loving this series. Thank you!!

  18. I'm a hybrid. :) I have no design background either. I also have a degree in el. ed. I also copied things as a newlywed. Staying home with my kids has forced me to make do with what I had already, or could find for next to free. As a result, I make things up all the time. It's why I have a canoe as a windowseat in my living room. We couldn't afford cute matching little chairs, but had dad's canoe hanging in the garage. It's why my island is a little oversized. We couldn't afford a new one, so we brought the game cabinet up the stairs and added a ledge for our kids' stools. I'm now designing on a dime for others...and it's a lot of fun!

  19. I so had to comment!  I am a copycat that used to think that my only talent was to copy other's designs.  Then I realized that it still takes a bit of talent to pull it off yourself.  Your right that our own style starts to appear and we can do more on our own without as much "inspiration"! I have always heard that imitation is the greatest form of flattery!


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