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My Top 3 Tips for Boosting Your Creativity

Back when I was 30 years old, I took a class on creativity in my master’s program. It changed my life. I’ve always liked creating things, but I had never thought about the steps to making oneself more creative until that course. I learned about Flow, the experience one feels when you are doing something and time seems to stand still—your innate ability and the challenge before you is a perfect match and keeps you effortlessly engaged for minutes, even hours. I immediately wanted more “Flow experiences” in my life. And I also knew I wanted to continue to grow my creativity.

I’m often in the state of Flow when I’m working in my studio.

For over 20 years, I’ve actively continued developing my ability to think more creatively. And if it’s something you care about too, here’s my top 3 tips for growing your creativity.

Creating my Frida chairs was something that required some courage…no one else was doing anything like that. And I’m so glad I did!

First, you have to be brave enough to try new things. This means big and small things. We know that our brains are stimulated when you do something new (it loves novelty)—whether its taking a new route on a daily walk or trying new fabric combinations. This also means making yourself take risks…choose to do things that stretch yourself and make you uncomfortable. My hobbies over the years have been things that make me more creative because I don’t know how to do them.

When I took this photo, I wondered if combining two different florals would work.

Learning how to upholster was one of those things. I took two courses back-to-back in 2012. I had many frustrating classes, but I kept at it and learned. Then, I entered the world as an entrepreneur and formed Chair Whimsy…and boy oh boy has that really challenged me. I’ve learned so much the hard way, and I’m still learning. But it’s been so fun, too! I’m grateful for all of you who continue to encourage me.

I’m constantly trying new things with my chair collections. I wasn’t sure if embellishing these chairs was the right decision, but I was willing to try. I’m so glad I did!

I’ve been brave enough to try new fabric combos and put it out for all of you to see. That’s hard for designers to do. It’s risky. What if everyone hates it? That’s the primary reason why so many people won’t take that risk and create what they love instead of what others expect.

It’s a challenge to create combos of chairs like these for a client.
They all need to be different, but also work together.

My second tip for boosting your creativity is to hang around other creative people because they teach you new ideas. They open your mind to think and see things in a new way. Make friends with unlikely people. Watch documentaries and read books about creative people to see how they think. Adopt some of their ways to expand your ideas.

For inspiration, I follow other artists like Kim Parker who created my amazing wallpaper.

I recently watched the documentary Dolly Parton: Here I Am on Netflix. I knew I admired her savvy business deals, but her technique and ability as a songwriter inspired me. And most importantly, I admire her boldness to be unabashedly Dolly. It encourages me to create the things that I really love without worrying about what others think. And it’s my ambition to help all of you do the very same.

I’m always pushing myself outside my comfort zone as I design for my clients. This chair is one example of that with chartreuse polka dots on the front and velvet women on the back.

My final tip for boosting your creativity is to play more. I don’t take life too seriously when I don’t need to. When I think of an idea, I set aside time to brainstorm ideas without judging them. This applies to my fabric choices as well as potential online courses to serve those who want to learn.

This includes some of the ideas I brainstormed for my camper design.

How do I brainstorm? I use chart paper and colored markers and create webs that show how my ideas connect. I sometimes use sticky notes, writing down one idea per sticky and then I work to categorize them into groups. I also lay out main fabrics and try out other coordinating ones by placing them together and then removing the ones that don’t work. It’s a thoughtful process that produces big results for me.

This super fun set I created for a client brought so much joy to her new home.

Trying new things, hanging out with interesting people, and playing more has made a huge difference in my ability to create and boost my creativity. I’m living proof that it works. And if you want the same results, I highly recommend these tips to boost your own!

Wendy Conklin

I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

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Styling Guide

Bring the Chair Whimsy aesthetic into your home with our styling guide!