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.
Photo Credit: Instagram @kemble_interiors
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.
Photo Credit: Instagram @studiolowsheen
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.
Photo Credit: Instagram @ullajohnson
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.
Photo Credit: Instagram @stayandwander
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.
Photo: credit Laurie Smith
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.