The first step to create a great space is to figure out what your needs are and then to look for inspiration. Finding inspiration for a design plan can be easier than you expect. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a minute to look around, see what speaks to you or even work with what pieces you already have. Here are my top 13 places to find décor inspiration when I’m tackling a project:
- Restaurants –I love food. I love to go out to eat (no cooking or cleaning… sign me up!) and I especially love trying new restaurants. Not only can it open your taste buds up to new flavours or combinations but it also can open your mind to different design ideas. Restaurants are also prime examples of showcasing durability and functionality of spaces since so many people engage there daily. Some top things I’ve found inspirational in restaurants are: lighting, material combinations, feature walls, tablescapes and mood enhancers.
- Magazines –The obvious inspiration choice would be home magazines (my favourite is Canadian House & Home), but anything from fashion, travel, crafting and fitness can provide information on new products, colour pallets or spark inspiration for object placement.
- Décor Stores –I love visiting independent décor and gift shops. Obviously I love supporting local but even when I travel I love checking out what my destination has to offer in terms of shops. Not only can you find beautiful throw pillows, décor objects and works of art, but seeing how someone else with a design eye layers objects, places items together or combines patterns can be refreshing and inspiring. I dare you to check one out today and not be inspired in someway. Check out my Tour This Town page (New Hamburg or Paris) to explore some new shops.
- Art –The perfect art piece has the ability to suddenly inspire the style for a whole room. Without even pulling a piece into a room, you can also just use the colour pallet as inspiration. Visit a bookstore and flip through some art books or check out famous paintings online. If you’re in the mood visit a local gallery or craft show to purchase a piece for your space.
- Nature –Nature is God’s original palette. See what colours are together in a wild flowerbed. Check out the combination of textures on a forest floor. One of the most important ways to have nature inspire your design is to purposely pay consideration to the nature that you can either view from the space you are designing or what is surrounding. Let the colour palette outside lend itself or directly contrast what you are doing inside.
- Friends Houses –Have a friend who’s got an eye for style? Visit their house (you may have to bring some wine). Ask them what colours are on their walls. Ask them where they got pieces. Maybe they’re crafty (like our friends Jason & Monika who created the stunning pieces above for their stairwell). Pull inspiration from the people you enjoy spending time with.
- Entertaining/cookbooks –Whether you have a stack of books on your coffee table or are browsing books at the local bookstore, entertaining and cookbooks offer wonderful full-page colour glossy pictures of beautiful tables, dinning spaces and dinnerware. Let that be a starting point for you if you’re stuck. (Warning this idea may lead to an expanding waistline if you find a cookbook with amazing recipes too!)
- Pinterest –A classic choice! Enough said.
- Clothing or fabric –If you want a clue on what style you are naturally drawn to, check out your closet. What fabrics or patterns are popular? Are you more drawn to neutral choices or bold patterns? Do you have a diverse selection or is your closet full of jeans and t’s? You’ll quickly be able to tell if you’re up for a more relaxed décor style or if you’d like something with some more finesse. Look for patterns and colours you naturally are drawn to and use that as a starting point for your space.
- Bones/features in your home –If you will be working with what you’ve got going on with your home, then consider it instead of ignoring it. Maybe you have fantastic trim work or windows that are worth a second look. You’ll want to make choices that highlight these features with colour, coverings and placement of objects. Likewise, if there are features you don’t particularly like but will be staying in place, make considerations to minimize their presence by covering them up or drawing the eye away from them. Ugly flooring – no problem. Pick some large area rugs to help cover them. Old windows you’re not able to replace yet – no problem. Hang a curtain rod high and wide on the window to let drapes fully cover the window frame.
- Objects of meaning -What is your favourite piece in your home? Have a favourite heirloom piece of furniture or personal painting? Maybe there’s a quilt that just makes you relax by looking at it. Whatever pieces you have that you can’t live without, must fit into your new styling. Even if it’s an old farmhouse table that’s been in your family for generations, it doesn’t mean you must follow a distinctly farmhouse style guide. Make sure whatever you are most drawn to is placed into consideration for your new plan.
- Instagram of designers/celebrities –Follow a variety of people. It’s ok if someone you enjoy doesn’t like the same style as you. Perhaps they will lead you to a source for somewhere you’ve never shopped before. Maybe they’ll post something that combines colours you’ve never considered putting together before. Instagram is great for visual inspiration and product sourcing.
- Travel –Hotels, restaurants, local shops and sites can all provide inspiration in unexpected ways. Pay attention on your next trip to textiles, furniture arrangements or colour palettes. Don’t travel much – no problem. Take a trip through a travel book or local ethnic restaurant. Plan a trip online (without booking) to check out hotels, restaurants and attractions at any destination around the world. Be inspired by how other communities and cultures furnish and decorate their spaces.
I hope you were inspired by some of the ways I am inspired. Have other things that inspired your spaces? I want to know what inspires you and your home design. Please add a comment below.