articles Home

Set Design and Décor -- A 10-Step Program

Step 3 - Get Inspired

Inspiration is what elevates a great set design above an ordinary one, but how do you get it? I find that it's freely available in the following places:

At your local library: Especially useful for period pieces, but also a great place to go for contemporary design. Don't limit yourself to looking for books about set design - our local library hardly has anything in this vein. I prefer books on architecture and home décor - look for the ones with a lot of photographs, and think about incorporating some unusual elements or color schemes that you see there into your design. Also check out the crafts section for books on faux painting techniques - you can accomplish a lot with paint.
The Net: Try this Google search: "set design gallery" -DVD. If you want to see how other designers handled your particular show, do a Google image search by typing in the show name (sometimes you have to add the author as well).
The Hardware Store: A set designer friend of mine found a terrific color scheme in one of those little freebie pamphlets displayed in the paint department of our local hardware store, the kind that depict rooms painted in colors carried in the various lines of paint. These are often more up-to-date than books in the library, and often offer some interesting contrasts if you're looking for an unusual color scheme. Large stores also often carry a good selection of relatively inexpensive home improvement and decorating books that contain color photos of great-looking rooms and innovative touches.

NEXT: Step 4: Rough It Out
Back to the beginning of the article

The Community Theater Green Room
© 1999 - 2007 Chris & Mike Polo
All rights reserved.