If you’re looking for design inspiration at home, there’s surely no shortage of places to find it. With magazines, Pinterest, friends’ opinions, your own ever-changing style and plenty more, there are plenty of opinions and ideas and choose from–but that can also quickly become overwhelming and make it harder to settle on a look and style that’s uniquely yours.
We rounded up some tips from a few interior design specialists—from DIYers to accredited designers—for a few helpful do’s and don’ts when it comes to inspiration seeking.
- Make a plan. If you make a plan, you’re not buying just to buy and it’s easier to be strategic and focused. Start with a list. It can be simple; use a phone app. Anytime you see something that hits the need button (or a very strong want button!), record it. Color trends will emerge, and you’ll become acutely aware of your size parameters and style preferences. Write your key measurements down and keep a tape measure in your purse. (from The DIY Playbook)
- Consider how many people are in your family and actually live in the space. There’s a big difference between a couple sharing a home and a family of six. (from Jennifer Brouwer Design)
- Make a list of what you already have that works and doesn’t work for you. What do you love, what could you do without? Put a sampling of things you love together—what do they have in common? (from Dwell Beautiful)
- Think about where you spend most of your time in the home. Focus on these areas first as you’ll be spending the most time there. (from Jennifer Brouwer Design)
- Buy with intention. To avoid design regret, stick with your list rather than make an impulse decision. Sure, sometimes the perfect thing just pops up–but more often than not, staying aware of your needs and genuine preferences will serve you better in the long run. (from The DIY Playbook)
- Fill your space with well-loved pieces that make your house a home and serve as regular reminders of the moments and stories you have shared with each other. (from The Jungalow)
- Watch TV. Yes! And take notes on your favorite design shows on HGTV, Netflix or even YouTube. Remember that episode where the new room or home reveal made you squeal? What about it was so appealing? Recognizing what strikes a chord brings you a step closer to locking down the look you’re after. (from Dwell Beautiful, How to Find Your Unique and Personal Interior Design Style).
- Make it about you. Love nature? Use plants to define walkways, even indoors. Sprinkle in unusual planters that make a statement and turn your plants into works of art! Like color? Consider painting your ceiling a different color than the walls for a pop of unexpected color that can influence the feel of the whole room. (from The Jungalow)
- Shop first. We all want our spaces furnished and decorated, especially if it’s a new home or we’re itching for a change. But too often we shop and buy the first thing that catches our eye instead of properly measuring our spaces, researching to find the best prices, and living in our spaces long enough to get a feel for the things we actually need to buy. (from The DIY Playbook)
And also ask yourself…
- Do you entertain? How often? If you don’t entertain, something about the flow in your home may be limiting this opportunity to be social. Changing up a few simple things can make any home more conducive to having guests over.
- Do you enjoy your home, and are you glad to come home to it after a busy day? If you’re not, which elements specifically make you frown? Tackle these areas—smoothing out these wrinkles will help you to find your home’s “flow.” (from Jennifer Brouwer Design)
In the end, the overwhelming message we got from all of our designer do’s and don’ts is that it doesn’t matter what your style or design inspiration is—only that it is yours. Don’t get hung up on specific titles, genres or colors. Use what you have and love, and add-on the necessities from a well thought out list of priorities (and keep a tape measure handy).