Sometimes you go looking for ideas with a particular project in mind, and sometimes you see something that acts as the first spark for a brand new project. I know that I find inspiration for the design of my home, and things I could make to put in it, all over the place – I’m not sure my brain ever really switches off when it comes to interiors. Even a drink out at the pub (sadly rare with two small children), or a dash into a coffee shop can see me reaching for my phone to snap a pic of some design idea or other or I’m staring at the decor on a TV programme instead of following the plot. Over the years, the places I go to for inspiration have changed, but I reckon I’m probably still pretty old-school when it comes to my sources.
MAGAZINES In the old days, back when I was honing my passion for everything interiors-related, I devoured homes magazines, cutting out pictures and filling scrapbooks with anything that appealed. My collection of mags is huge and although I’m constantly tempted to have a clear-out, I do still go back to them for inspiration, even the ones that are a decade old. When I worked on a magazine, I had a huge selection of interiors magazines on hand to browse. Then I went freelance, and over the years my subscriptions have dwindled (cost is a main factor), and now I only subscribe to one (I’ve been a subscriber to Livingetc since 2004). Now I often download digital issues when I fancy a browse of something different (Real Simple, Donna Hay, Martha Stewart Living, The Simple Things, 91 Magazine, Heart Home). I’d love your suggestions of other online magazines I could try.
THE INTERNET The good old web is great when you know what you’re looking for. I often use google image search, or I have favourite websites with great products or roomset images that I know I’ll love. These range from interiors galleries (there are lots of rooms to browse on housetohome, or vtwonen for example), to companies that I know offer great ideas in their photographs. Cox and Cox is always a winner, as are Rockett St George and Graham & Green, Anthropologie and Bodie and Fou – full of styling ideas. For bigger design projects – kitchens, bathrooms etc – I look to tile companies (Topps Tiles and Fired Earth have fantastic roomset images to spark ideas), as well as retailers such as Betta Living, with their impressive array of inspiring room images of kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and home offices on their website. Kitchen manufacturer Second Nature has a gallery of over 300 real kitchen projects on its website – a fantastic resource when you’re on the hunt for ideas.
PINTEREST I reckon this is my main source of inspiration now. I’m on there a few times a day and always come away with new things I’d like to try. I know I don’t follow enough pinners though – every time I add new boards I’m rewarded with a whole new stream of fantastic images. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Pinterest – for me it’s all about visual beauty. It’s the virtual version of my old scrapbooks filled with magazine tears – beautiful images that fired up my creativity when I flick through the selection.
INSTAGRAM Probably my favourite of the social networks I use, I hate to think how many times a day I check my Instagram feed. I get a real visual mix from the IGers I follow – from glimpses of everyday life to beautifully styled shots that drive me to improve my own photography. The images are often full of fresh ideas that I want to save up, and I take screenshots to remind me later of a book I want to read, a dish I’d like to cook, or a colour combination that might work in our house.
BLOGS I love it when I can grab some time to sit down and work my way through my blog reader, which is full of interiors and lifestyle blogs. I read different blogs in different ways – some I just take in the beautiful pictures, and either skim or completely skip the words. Other blogs take a more personal approach and I engage with the story they tell – watching the blogger’s home take shape and picking up tips and ideas along the way. When I see something I love on a blog, I add the image to my relevant Pinterest board, so that I can keep it for reference.
OUT AND ABOUT The design of shops, bars, restaurants and cafes often provides me with fresh ideas, including storage solutions, display ideas, surface finishes or colour combos that I haven’t seen before. It’s one of the best things about visiting a new place – exploring the interiors to scout for inspiration.
I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface when it comes to sources of inspiration for decorating and interiors – for example, galleries, exhibitions and trade shows are a huge area that I just don’t have the time for at the moment.
What have I missed, and where do you head to when you’re in need of new ideas?
Disclosure: I was offered a voucher to spend on Betta Living accessories as a thank you for mentioning them on my blog