One Room Challenge: Inspiring Creative Studio Reveal

Wow. It’s unbelievable that I made it to today, to the reveal! I was “thisclose” to dropping out of the One Room Challenge when the original room I was working on — our basement — flooded. At first, I couldn’t see beyond that big basement space. My greedy craft supply-hoarding self wanted that space for a studio. But, if I wanted a studio at all, I needed to find a different room. So I pivoted halfway through the ORC and turned our guest room into a temporary creative studio. See links to the previous weeks’ drama here.

Let’s get right to the photos, because I know that’s why you’re here! I’ve filled the space with many things that creatively inspire me: patterns, textiles, travel mementos, favorite design books and magazines. I appreciate things from cultures and countries around the world, and this room’s style reflects that.

Enjoy …

Daybed Sari Ceiling Canopy

Daybed and Sari Ceiling Canopy


I painted this rug with stencils (all sources are provided at the end of the post) and I admit I had hesitations about the color. It’s mostly brown, with some streaks of color. But I wondered if I should be more colorful. When I was honest with myself and motivations for adding more color, it seemed like I wanted to do that for better photos, or because blue is popular and is great for social media and Pinterest pins. But, I know the effect I wanted to achieve in this room was a neutral background with lots of pattern. So I decided to stick with the plan.

Stenciled Rug

Collage of Studio Patterns and Decor

Pillows Pattern Mix

I probably shouldn’t call this a “daybed” because it is a futon. There are a few ideas here that show how to dress up a futon. First, I draped a thick upholstery fabric over the futon. You can even sew a new futon cover from a really nice thick upholstery, but for now I just draped it over. Then smother it with pillows! Really smother it! I sewed these pillow covers with nice high quality down/feather inserts. It’s luxurious feeling. I’m finding my cats are nestling in these pillows every day, and I’m not getting any chance to sit on this. I had to keep the door closed before taking photos, to keep them off so this looks nice for photos.

Pillows on Futon

This is where I can curl up with a coffee and flip through my favorite design books and magazines, and dream up ideas for future projects.

Velvet Pillow

Pillow Mix on Daybed

Terra Cotta Wall Corner

All walls in this room were this deep terra cotta color. While the color felt like a warm hug and made me dream of Mediterranean holidays, it was also very dark. It wasn’t a good color for studio walls. It was time for a change. So I painted nearly all the walls with a light “old wall” effect. But I couldn’t let this terra cotta color go completely!

Terra Cotta Corner of Creative Studio

Here is more detail in the antique print of Indian patterns, from 1873. Surprise, it even includes the deep terra cotta color that I adore.

Indian Prints from 1873

Terra Cotta Wall and Hundi Lanterns

The textiles draped over the ladder are a mix of Japanese kimono fabrics, a silk jacquard from India, and silk Bursa from Turkey. This is my space to inspire new creativity, and few things inspire me more than a mix of fabrics from around the world.

Global Textiles

I was really into graphic design and fonts early in my career, back in the ’90s. I saved this direct mail piece, and after all this time, this is nearly bonafide vintage:

What Is Good Design

Succulents in Ceramic Planter

Can you believe these succulents are not real? It’s true. I found them at Jo-Ann. They carry several different types of faux succulents and these were the most realistic. They have a dusty fuzz where nature would put it. They have little bits underneath like where old leaves fell off or got cut off. Textured stems. All the real details.

Faux Succulent Detail

Faux Succulents

One more shot here, because I love combos of texture + pattern. The pattern in the ceramic planter, plus the Kuba cloth peeking out, these inspire me to think outside the box and mix things together.

Pattern and Texture

Craft Tables

Before I reveal the craft space, a few words about the portable tables and chairs. I know they will never be on a top 10 decorating list, but they suit some needs, so please don’t judge! I tried to make them blend in visually by painting them all the same color. The tables were a deep forest green! I already owned the tables and chairs, and one of my goals with this makeover was to use things that were sitting un-used around the house. The tables and chairs were the perfect solution for two important functional needs of this room:

  • Portability. They can easily be folded up and moved to storage when we have guests or when I want room to work on the floor. My heart would love a rustic wood table with lots of character, but that would be heavier and much more difficult to break down and move when needed.
  • Flexibility. I have four folding tables. There are only two tables in the room now for photography purposes. But two, three or four tables can work in many configurations in this room, depending on what I’m doing and whether I need to accommodate family or friends working in here too. I can make a big block of tables. I can make rows. I can make a big U-shape. I can pull the tables close to the daybed and sit there. I value the flexibility.

Craft Tables

The table looks a little messy, but I styled it like “real life” as if I were working here.

Stenciled Rug in Creative Studio

To describe where this is in the room, the daybed I shared above is immediately to the right. I can sit on the comfy daybed and work at these tables. And as you see in a peek here, my fabulous teal blue Indian-Moroccan closet nook is to the left.

I have loaded this little table space and the wall above with patterns and textures that are inspiring to me.

Textures and Script

Creative Studio Table Top Stuff

My blog is called Nomadic Decorator because I surround myself with things found during travels, like these old riad keys I found deep in the souks in the Marrakech medina:

Marrakech Riad Keys


Stenciled Lamp Shade

Paints n Things

These are pretty embellished cards I found during a trip to India:

Embellished Cards From India

Things on my moodboard:

Creative Studio Moodboard

Miniature Indian paintings found during a trip to India:

Miniature Indian Paintings

Jewelry and a Painting

I am currently painting papers with acrylics so they look like old walls, as background papers for collage and layering. I am obsessed with ochres and sienna colors, and pinks and salmons of cities like Marrakech and Jaipur. And I am obsessed with niches, arches, doors. And jali — the decorative patterned screens you will see on windows in Northern India, and North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. The screens cooled the rooms, but they also screened women from being seen. I am playing with all of these things right now, and concepts about women, communication, reaching for and being withheld from our dreams and overcoming that. Ahhh but those are stories for another day! I am working them out through paper and paint.

Papers like Old Walls

Gelli Printed Papers

I am loving the painters drop cloth that I used to cover the tables. It makes a nice neutral surface. When the cloth gets too messed up with paints, glues, coffee and red wine stains, etc., I can pop out the tabletop and re-cover it with fresh drop cloth.

Creative Studio

The folding chairs are vintage Samsonite. I remember growing up with them in the 70s — we sat on these chairs for the “kid’s table” at Christmas! The price tags were still on them. One was $8 and the other was $9. I gave them a coat of paint, and re-covered the cushions with silk. I already had this silk. I had stenciled it to make Fortuny-style pillows, then after awhile the zipper broke. So I cut the pillow apart and re-used the silk for chair cushions.

Here you can see the sometimes crazy mix of patterns in this room. This is why I used neutral colors. I think you can get away with more patterns when the colors are similar. The patterns inspire my eye, but the neutral background doesn’t distract me while I’m making new creative things. It’s a good balance.

Though, there’s always an exception, isn’t there? Like this next spot, which I installed in this room in 2014. I can see it out of the corner of my eye while I’m working at the table, and it’s just enough color to get me daydreaming about new ideas …

Indian Moroccan Nook

Indian Moroccan Nook

I posted tutorials online previously, showing how to paint a front of a nook like this, and how to stencil on fabrics. Those tutorials are linked in the source list below.

This shows you the crazy pattern mix here! It is very much like Morocco and India and their exuberant mixes of patterns and color.

Moroccan Nook

That little stool is a stepstool. Because the cushion is up pretty high, and I needed a little boost to get up onto the cushion easily.

Pattern Mix

Oops. Now that I’m typing right here, I see my toes got in that picture! All these patterns were painted very easily with stencils. So you can do this too! I’ve shared links in the source list below to the stencils, or to tutorial posts with project supply lists.

Textile Collage

Moroccan Closet Nook

The curtain is a sari. I was surfing on Etsy one day and noticed this sari had a lot of the colors in the nook. I thought the hard edges of the closet door frame needed softening, and the sari helps do that. The sari is hanging from a rod and it can be pulled over to nearly close off the whole nook, or it can be draped and tied back with tassels.

Sari Curtain

Sharp-eyed folks will notice that this lantern is not in the photos above:

Moroccan Pierced Metal Lantern

Our electrician didn’t have an available appointment until today, the day of the ORC reveals! And this post was already live by the time he got here. This nook is finally complete now that the walls are patterned too, with an iconic Moroccan souvenir. I found this lantern in Marrakech. And if you are lucky enough to go to Morocco, get a lantern like this — bring it back in your luggage. A slimmer oval or lozenge-shaped lantern like this fits in a suitcase, no problem.

DIY Projects

I did many DIY projects in this room. I will share tutorials here in future weeks, like how to:

  • Mix lots of patterns together
  • Stencil a rug AND paint it with a broom!
  • Choose a lampshade for stenciling and stencil it
  • Make little stands for displaying collectibles
  • Paint big round trays with tribal medallions
  • Make a sari ceiling canopy over a bed
  • Rejuvenate old folding chairs with paint and new seat cushions
  • Dress up plain ol’ folding tables with paint and painters drop cloths, great for crafts and painting

If you’d like to get notice of those tutorial posts, join my email list!

I already posted about how I painted the walls to look like old walls.


I said in Week 1 that I was working on a tight budget and would be transparent about costs. My project ideas changed a lot, because I had to change rooms. I wound up not doing ideas like a faux brick wall.

Despite everything in this room, I bought very little. I already owned nearly everything. I even used paints that I already owned. The only things I bought specifically for this makeover were:

  • An ivory pillow on the daybed
  • Lampshade
  • Carved wooden storage and basket on the craft table
  • Hooks for sari curtain
  • Museum quality glass for frames
  • Mats for frames
  • Dowels for printing block stands
  • Quart of BJ Maritime White that I wound up not even needing

Seriously I think that is it. I spent about $200. The glass was the most expensive thing!

I still remember where I got most things, even though most were purchased  years ago. Here is a source list …

Source List

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of compensation at no cost to you if you purchase after clicking the link. I post affiliate links when I have purchased from the company or used the product, and I can confidently share the company or product. For more info, see my Disclosures & Policies.

My sources are an eclectic bunch! Some things new, some things old, some things gifted, something stolen (does it count as stolen when you just didn’t give it back to your parents?). Things found everywhere, from easy one-click Amazon Prime to digging deep in the Marrakech souks and Indian sari shops.

First the wall colors:

Wall Colors

Clockwise around the room starting with the Indian-Moroccan closet nook:

Indian-Moroccan Closet Nook

  • Step stool: forgot the source of the stool; painted with Benjamin Moore paints; stenciled with Zahara Moroccan Stencil from Royal Design Studio
  • Nook bench front: DIY’d by me (tutorial post with stencil and supply list)
  • Cushion: stenciled silk, DIY’d by me (tutorial post with stencil and supply list)
  • Teal pillows: Beaded stenciled bolster pillow DIY’d (tutorial post); Turkish Bursa silk pillow found in Bangalore, India; teal silk pillow: Good Earth in Chennai, India; pillow found in Marrakech; velvet pillow World Market; silk bolster DIY’d
  • Carved Wood Mirror: World Market, 13 years ago
  • Moroccan lantern: found in Marrakech metalworker’s souk
  • Ceiling: Martha Stewart metallic gold paint; paisley stencil from Royal Design Studio
  • Curtain: silk sequined saree from Etsy seller Indian Tradition Dress
  • Curtain tie-back: knob from Hobby Lobby; tassels found in Marrakech

Moodboards on Wall

Craft Tables

Craft and Storage Stuff on Tables




Window Valances

  • Custom made by me
  • Saree fabric: Nalli in Chennai, India
  • Backing fabric: Hancock Fabrics

Sari Ceiling Canopy

  • Custom made by me
  • Sari fabric: Nalli in Chennai, India
  • Backing fabric: Hancock Fabrics
  • Hanging hardware, rods and hooks: Target
  • Beaded tassels: HomeGoods

Hangings on Wall

  • Hamsa: Found in Marrakech medina souks
  • Ashanti Fertility Comb: Randolph Street Market vendor specializing in goods from African countries


  • Futon: don’t remember source, wish we got a daybed instead!
  • Orange and beige checked fabric: Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, MI purchased 20+ years ago
  • Silk elephant: Jim Thompson store in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Ivory pillow: HomeGoods
  • Tibetan tiger fabric: EmmaOneSock
  • Pillow fabrics: silk kimono from eBay, silk/rayon over-dyed jacquard fabrics from a now-closed store in Austin, TX (it was across from the first Whole Foods and I loved that fabric store!)
  • Pillow forms: down/feather mostly from Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn
  • Silk shoes: Etsy

Suitcase Side Table by Futon

Corner by Window

  • What is Good Design poster: direct mail piece received 25 years ago
  • Indian tribal art: The Tiger’s Armoire (and she has great Pinterest boards)
  • Indian patterns: Original antique print from 1873, Etsy seller Antique Print Store
  • Candlestick: IKEA
  • Encyclopedias: Vintage 1980s leather-bound
  • Ladder: Don’t remember source
  • Fabrics on ladder: Turkish Bursa silk purchased from a now-closed store in Bangalore, India; Japanese kimono and obi fabrics found on eBay; silk jacquard purchased from a now-closed store in Austin, TX
  • Glass Hundi lanterns: inventory from a catalog business we had in the ‘90s

And that is all! I will share DIY tutorials in future posts, so join my email list if you want notice of those posts. Meanwhile, enjoy all the other room reveals for the Fall 2017 One Room Challenge! You can visit 20 featured designers and the nearly 200 guest participants and get inspiring ideas for your own home! And a huge thank you to Linda of Calling It Home blog for hosting the ORC for us, and House Beautiful magazine as media sponsor. I thank you, and my husband thanks you too, because my DIY messes should now be contained in this studio instead of all over the house!

The ORC gave us a community of supportive people, and maybe just as important, a deadline to get things done. The result? Dreams come true for people. Homes become more beautiful. Rooms work better for people and their families, and pets too. Better places for better lives. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Now, I’m off to create some “old wall” painted papers in this creative studio that I’ve wanted for so long, and now it’s finally come to be … happy happy dance …

One Room Challenge Creative Studio Makeover

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29 Replies to “One Room Challenge: Inspiring Creative Studio Reveal”

  1. Wow! The gorgeous jewel tones, layers of textures, interesting fabrics, and a nook to relax in for a bit. Perfection! Fantastic job on the wall finishes. We’re done! Phew :)

  2. I am absolutely FLOORED! I love all of the textiles you used. I’m sorry to hear that your basement flooded, but I’m So glad you were able to restart on another room. Otherwise we would have missed all this loveliness.

  3. I love all of the details in your room! It is such a fun, creative space. Those pillows looks so comfortable – I’d love to sit there and read!

  4. What a comeback from the basement love the look of the whole room. Love the use of saree on the walls reminds me of rajasthan :) Big Love Nessy

    1. Thank you Nessy! Can you believe the saree canopy is two different sarees found on two different trips? I found them both at Nalli in Chennai and they go together perfectly.

  5. Wow! I am so impressed by your use of many colors and textures. That is not my gift, and I admire that about you very much. I want to curl up on that futon, drink a cup of coffee, and read a book.

    And you stenciled a rug? With a broom? Now, that’s neat. :)

    You took an unpleasant situation with your basement, and you turned it around. That’s a tough thing to do.

    1. Thank you Stacy! I wrote a post for ORC week 6 about how to mix patterns, for folks who aren’t sure about how to do it. Unfortunately our basement keeps having problems and I never got around to posting a week 6 update. But I will post it soon, with an easy formula for mixing patterns and step-by-step photos! Hopefully that will help! Deb

  6. Love the global feel and the combination of textiles and patterns in your inspiring creative space! Congrats and cheers to us for another room done!

  7. Well done, Deb! I so admire your decision to keep going after the basement project went awry, and just look at what you achieved in that guest bedroom! And in only half the time that the rest of us had! I adore all your beautiful textiles and that fabulous nook. I bet it’s a wonderful space to work and feel inspired in.

  8. What a beautiful space! I always think that spaces that have lots of pattern and texture yet still manage to be very restful are the ones that knock it out of the park, and you did it! I think I would spend all of my time in that nook though- probably wouldn’t get anything done :-)

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