Inspirational sitting room image in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Matthew Carter Interiors
Photo Credit: Instagram @matthewcarterinteriors
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How to create a home that reflects you...

While determining your floor plan may be one of the foundational steps in the design process, finding your inspiration is the most soulful.  For instance, I deferred to many midcentury designers when I was looking for ideas during a 1950s renovation years ago.  This is not to say that there is no such thing as an original interpretation; however, even Van Gogh’s The Starry Night was inspired by the night sky in Arles, France, where the artist lived.  Placing yourself in the mindset of an artist makes the design process exciting.

When you approach the design of a space by starting with an inspiration piece, you create a point of reference that you can be passionate about.  If you are working with an interior designer, show the designer something you love; this will aid him or her in the preliminary phase of the project.  The inspiration piece can also give the designer a reference point to stay in touch with your desires for the space, creating a space that reflects you.  If you are working on your own and begin to feel overwhelmed or off track, your inspiration is your touchstone to return to for grounding and assurance.

Colorful mushroom image referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Birgit Klein Interiors

Photo Credit: Instagram @birgitkleininteriors

Sources of inspiration can come from multiple places, like nature, art, travel, your favorite design magazines, and websites just to name a few. For example, this amazing palette of mushrooms could have inspired the above living room with its gold and coral pops of color. Elements of nature appear in the space through floral textiles, natural wood tones, a gilt leafed mirror and a branch-like sconce, which all reflect this inspiration piece.

Coral bedroom image referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Kemble Interiors

Photo Credit: Instagram @kemble_interiors

Coral seashells image referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Laurie Smith

Photo Credit: Instagram @lauriesmithofficial

Sometimes, the inspiration piece may be taken literally and influence the exact color of a space, like these seashells may have inspired this coral bedroom wall.  Other times, the inspiration may be more intangible like a memory.  I can recall a crisp fall evening about 15 years ago in New York when I was headed to one of my favorite SoHo restaurants.  As I stared out of my taxi window, the light was so vivid that for a brief moment I saw a stunning composition of two buildings, one brick red and the other a creamy color with glossy black accents.  While I was responding to a fleeting vision of light and color, that regal combination made it into my idea book with a quick watercolor sketch that would inspire a fantastic dining room months later.

White washed street image referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Studio Lowsheen

Photo Credit: Instagram @studiolowsheen

Bright bedroom image referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Heather Dewberry

Photo Credit: Instagram @heatherdewberry

I love to imagine that this beautiful bedroom, with pale blues and varying hues of purple, may have been inspired by this gorgeous photo taken from an ancient white washed street.  Not only does the bedroom pay homage to the palette, but it also evokes the restful mood and lures one in, just as this magical photo does.

Image of colorful arrangement of flowers referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Ulla Johnson

Photo Credit: Instagram @ullajohnson

Image of living room with purple wall referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Katie Ridder Inc

Photo Credit: Instagram @katieridderinc

Certainly, the gorgeous bouquet above could have inspired this whimsical living room with its memorable color palette, unusual settee and hexagonal ottoman. 

I often encourage clients to keep a design file, whether torn pages or electronic.  I love pouring over pages or files of inspiration because through these, various furniture styles, accessories, art and unexpected color schemes evolve. While it takes time and may be considered “old school”, there is value in collaging your favorite images.  You can learn a lot about your design style through this exercise.  You will see themes emerge in the various types of furniture and fabric you are drawn to and your collage will become as personal as your handwriting. 

Image of lone tree in the desert referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Stay and Wander

Photo Credit: Instagram @stayandwander

Image of living room with white shelving referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Jenna Peffley

Photo Credit: Instagram @jennapeffley

During this process, you may discover that you are more drawn to clean lines and a more neutral color scheme, like this dramatic photo of a lone tree in the desert and the monochromatic, yet architectural space that follows.  The warm wood tones against the creamy whites and the hint of what may be considered a sky color on the sofa, all create a sophisticated room which reflects the simple yet captivating mood of the photo.  The vertical lines of the bookcase that intercept the sofa mimic the linear quality of the tree as it intercepts the sand dune in the background. 

Your collages may take on a more eclectic nature, rich with colors and layers reflecting a collected home with unique objects and intentional display.  I love the complexity of the below photo of magnified tree bark from the Amazon.  It would be fitting if it inspired the color and layered details of the eclectic living room beside it. 

Image of tree bark referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Laurie Smith

Photo: credit Laurie Smith

Image of living room with green details referenced in the Atlas Concorde USA blog from Studio Shamshiri

Photo Credit: Instagram @studioshamshiri

The most exciting part of beginning the design process with something you love, is that your inspiration piece is unique to you, and so your rooms will reflect your personality in an intimate way.

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