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Finding Inspiration

July 30, 2010

One of the biggest challenges in designing a space, at least for me, is getting started.  I find that whenever I tackle a new space, one of two things happens.  Either I have so many ideas that I struggle to narrow them down, or I draw a blank.  In either case, I have found that finding one source of inspiration is the best way to generate ideas and create a cohesive look.  Having that inspiration piece provides you with a source to both draw from and to use for editing.  

Here are some of my favorite go-to sources for inspiration.  

1.  Fabric – Fabric comes in such a huge array of colors and patterns today.  You can literally design an entire space based on a single swatch.  Check out this P Kaufmann fabric from  


The colors in this fabric are an obvious source of inspiration, but so is the overall feel – feminine and soft.  Additionally, the faded look of the fabric could inspire you to lean toward chippy, vintage pieces of furniture.  

2.  Artwork – I use this as inspiration a lot.  The colors, the subject matter, the feeling a piece of artwork invokes – all of that can contribute to the overall look of your space.  For example,  

Brooklyn Bridge by Warhol, image courtesy of


This Warhol print would inspire me to create a bold, colorful space with an urban industrial feel.  

3.  Photo of object – Sometimes it isn’t an art piece as much as a random image that inspires me.  It could be a picturesque photo from my last vacation or an image of flowers in a vase.  Whatever the image, the photo helps clarify in my mind’s eye the exact elements I am looking for – color, shapes, subject, feel, repetition, details, etc.  

4.  Piece of Clothing – This may be a little surprising, but a wealth of inspiration can be gleaned from clothing.  Take this Maggy London dress from Nordstrom’s as an example.  


When I look at this dress, I see three things – bold, classic color; tailored lines; hints of femininity – those elements can easily inspire an entire home, let alone a room.  

5.  Room from a magazine or catalog – I am not suggesting for one minute that anyone copy a room verbatim from a magazine or catalog.  How boring!  Rather, I think that pictures of rooms that make you swoon can provide clues as to how saturated your color scheme should be, a sense of feeling you are looking for in a space, and a hint of elements you want to replicate in your own space.  

I hope these ideas have inspired you.  Where do you draw inspiration from to get your creative juices flowing?  

~  Anne

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Keryl permalink
    July 30, 2010 8:42 am

    I have to say that I love the Warhol and the dress.

    One thing that I learned in grad school was to keep a file of “inspiration pieces.” If you get an interesting postcard in the mail, add it to the file. It’s a great resource when you have a creativity block, even if it only gives you ideas about size, colors, or (since I’m usually dealing with print items) folds.

  2. steven permalink
    July 31, 2010 10:40 pm

    I wish I had an ounce of inspiration like you do. I just am not creative but its nice to read yours and get some ideas!

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