Creative Design: How To Breathe Life Into Your Spaces

Written by: Trish Lim/Thursday, Jan 21, 2016 06:55 AM

Designing a space can be overwhelming; more so, when you're setting out to make it "creative," when every person has his or her own version of what that looks like. The tendency is to go overboard - throw in all your quirky pieces together in a room, jumble up random prints and patterns, or paint the walls in zany colors. But Interior Designer Erika Uichanco has a more tasteful and elegant way of doing it.

We sat down with the young designer to get to the heart of the matter, scoring tips and advice along the way on how to create a space that brings together all the best elements of one's personality and creativity in a harmonious way.

First off, how would you describe your style?

I would say my design is more on the functional side. Before actually designing the space to look visually pleasing,  I spend a lot of time on the floor plan, because I want to make sure that it's simple yet functional for the end user. 

For the design style, I'm usually drawn to Scandinavian/Nordic designs as they are minimalist, as well as Industrial Chic, which is a huge trend right now, especially in retail design. 


What's your definition of a creative space? 

A creative space would differ for each individual. Aside from being designed well, I think it is a private sanctuary because it's an environment that one has a relationship with.  A creative space for me is a space that nurtures and inspires creativity. It can't be creative without the individual or people using it, which is why the space should have the identity of that individual or group. It should support the work and recreational activities of the owner in a balanced and harmonious way. 


The look of the space will depend on the end user, but for me the most important thing is that there should be enough space to accomplish the task at hand.  

What pieces can add creativity to your space?

There are a lot of inspiration now on how to personalize one's space to boost productivity: having specific areas for organized storage of books, papers, notebooks and pens; putting a lot of affirmative messages; and, placing memorabilia and photos of family, friends, travel, dreams and goals. 

Photos courtesy of Erika

Other items can be a decorative message board/mood board and table lamps. Displaying books on your field and industry can be a source of inspiration as well. Try to add pieces that are fun and refreshing to break the monotony of the space, like a trinket or decorative item that you may have gotten from your recent travel or from the garage sale nearby. 

Most interesting item in your work space?

I think mine would be my skull eye glass holder. It's small yet functional, and really adds to the funkiness of my work space. I have pretty boxes that I've gotten from past purchases that I use as storage boxes for my pens, note pads, etc. I also have a world map that I have yet to frame.  

Designing no-nos?

There are a lot of rules in design, but honestly, who really makes them? Attractive design differs from one person to another, but yes, there are pieces that are tasteful and tacky. You just really have to draw the line, and strike a balance when it comes to accessorizing and decorating a space.  

For me a big no-no would be using too many dark colors. Not only does it make a space look small, but it also makes the space look gloomy.  Another no-no would be using too many accessories. Try to choose an accent piece or accent color to make an area stand out. After all, less is always more. 

Where do you get inspiration?

It sounds like a cliché, but inspiration is everywhere. It's just really how you look at things. Sometimes you have to look closely at the details, like it may be a color scheme from a magazine, a print of a fabric, the flowers on the vase you saw this morning, or a painting or drawing you saw online.  

A glimpse into one of Erika's projects
(featured in Real Living, September 2015 issue)

But of course on a regular basis, I try to look at design everyday. I go to different sites like and I look at it to learn about trends and to stimulate my brain, even when I don't have work. Design is a continuous learning process, and even when you look at the same thing everyday, you get to see a different perspective every time, which i think is great for creative thinkers. Be inspired everyday.


Erika Uichangco graduated from the Philippine School of Interior Design
and does freelance work for various commercial, retail, and residential projects. 

She is also a contributor for Real Living magazine. 
Email: [email protected]


About Trish Lim
Trish Lim loves writing about travel and the characters in her head. She's also a painter and an entrepreneur. When she's not at her desk, she's out exploring the Philippines, making art, or searching for a good cup of coffee. Check out her adventures at
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