Fair warning, this post is jam-packed with information, and it is a must read, so please bear with me!
Sometimes when we start working on a space, we have something propelling us forward or cluing us in to what patterns, colors and textures to use: our inspiration.
When working on any space, it is natural to be excited about it and to keep working away letting your anticipation for the end-product fuel you. The more you put into a space, the more you will inevitable love it.
However, you are not going to love any space forever.
In design, we talk about taking a timeless approach to things, using elements that have staying power. Naturally nobody wants to pour sweat and tears (not to mention, good money) into a space, only to turn around and change it a year later. But in time your taste will change!
So when you are working in any space, you want to implement elements of who you are and what you like right now, as well as things you have always liked.
Certain elements are going to be easier to change: paint, pillows and linens, accessories, etc.,; but the major pieces need that staying power.
So how do you find that perfect balance between what you know you love now and what you will love for the long haul? Stick with neutrals in the larger pieces or areas. Focus on the style that you like-- not the colors and patterns you've recently been drawn to. Use those recent attractions for smaller items that you can change when you tire of them.
If you want a bold wall color, go for it! It will make a statement and showcase your personality, but it isn't permanent. Paint is cheap, you can always change it later.
If you like the charm of traditional furnishings, get a great vintage (or vintage looking) sofa, and choose an upholstery fabric that isn't wildly patterned or bold. A sofa is something that you are going to have with you for 5-10 years, so you should choose something with longevity.
Finally, when you are using a photo, or fabric swatch as an inspiration source, don't be afraid to steer away from the specific colors in it. The inspiration should act as a guideline to get you started, but don't let it run the show! Pick patterns and hues that complement those of the inspiration, and the space will flow seamlessly.
Whew! Hope you made it through to the end.