Is it OK to Copy? Ethics in Interior Design


I don’t know where I heard that there really are never any new ideas, just old ones put together in different ways, but it seems to be an adage that really fits interior design and decoration.  I don’t think I’ve seen a really new design idea in forever, but I’ve seen a lot of old ideas re-done.

So it leads me to the conundrum, “Is it OK to copy?” And my answer is yes, it is. Provided you give credit where credit is due and use ethics in Interior Design.

Let’s look at this.

If you see a living room in a magazine, and you love it to pieces, is it wrong to copy the elements for your own living room? Course not. Every design is a culmination of the designer’s own experiences, which are nothing more than a lot of ‘snapshots” of other designers work.  If we have someone teach us a skill, chances are we will emulate the teacher until we get enough snapshots of our own, and then the skill will morph into something that represents our own skill set.

And that brings us to creativity. I really believe that creative people are those who are not bound by the accepted but are those who look at alternative ways of doing things, of painting things, of making pies or arranging furniture.  That, to me, is true creativity. There are just levels of expertise at doing this.

The best interior designers in the world are masters at manipulating color and textures — probably in part because they do it so often. And so you, the DIY-er, should not discount yourself as being a non-creative because you can’t see the nuances of color the expert can see.

If you can accept that creativity is making your house a home;  or is showing your child how to draw a stick figure that looks like a kitty, or is deciding how to stretch the soup because you just got three extra guests for dinner, you can take a lot of stress off yourself.

And that is something we all want to do, isn’t it?

So go ahead and copy, give credit, make the copy the best you can, learn from it and make something different next time.

My New Year’s resolution: I’m not trying to be memorable, I’m just trying to be useful. I wish I could remember where I heard that, I’d give them credit.


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