1. We were inspired by this photo, found in our House Tour archives
Dreaming of a house? Like most of you, we live in an apartment. And we know that we don't want to live in an apartment forever. Someday, we dream of a house. Maybe you want a different dwelling in the future, too. Start saving your ideas now.
Why do we want to live in a house versus an apartment? No, it's not because our crappy windows let all the warm air outside, or because we can hear the neighbors upstairs drop something. It's because we want to own a house. We want to tear down walls and cry when we have to fix something ourselves. We want to paint walls, refinish wood floors and replace hardware.
At this transitory stage in our lives, we will continue to rent apartments. But when we have jobs that we'll stay at for years and years and have kids, we'll want a portfolio of ideas. Trends will change and what you like will change, and your ideas will also change depending on where you live or what style of house you may buy. But if you start narrowing down your style now, you won't feel so overwhelmed when that someday comes.
What You Need
Computer with internet
Books and magazines
1. Browse Blogs
We keep a list of our favorite blogs to browse. To find these blogs, we suggest starting with one design blog (such as i suwannee or Decorno and check out which blogs they follow. Design Blog List also has a pretty comprehensive list of design blogs. Also, don't forget to check out Web sites for design magazines, and check out Apartment Therapy's own list, the Homies!
2. Save Images to Flickr
We surf home design Web sites and blogs all the day long, and so we save our images to a photostream in Flickr. (Make sure to write down your password and never lose it!)
3. Browse Books and Magazines
Browse books in a library or bookstore, only checking out or buying the ones you think will be worth reading over and over again. Searching Apartment Therapy for design books will help you start rounding up books that we are inspired by. You can also browse magazines in bookstores, and subscribe to your favorites.
4. Save Tear-Outs in a File
If you subscribe to magazines, and as many as we do, you know that you can't save them all. Before throwing out an old pile of magazines, we tear out the pages that inspire us and save them in a simple file folder in our filing box. Maybe one day we'll put them into a binder, but for now, we'll deal with a file folder.
More: 10+ Magazine Storage Solutions
5. Describe Your Style
Now that you have lots of images and ideas, start playing with words that describe your style. Notice what kinds of visuals you gravitate to, and what styles — and even what words are used in those blogs, books and magazines you like. Describing your style will help you know what you like and focus so that a future home won't be a scary mix-and-match of ideas that don't work together. (And remember, being "eclectic" is so hot right now!)
6. Save Dream Items on a Wishlist
Whenever we stumble upon a chair we love, or a pillow with a fabric pattern we'd love to use for a future project, we save it to our wishlist on Wishpot.com. More often than not, we find cheaper versions of things we like simply because we know what look we're looking for. If not, we know how many pennies we need to start saving.
7. Make An Inspiration Board
If you have an apartment, condo or house that you want to decorate now, make a physical or virtual inspiration board. On Polyvore.com, you can virtually arrange a room, or just put all of your inspiration photos on a virtual board.
(Images: 1, Ida's Sugar Hill Studio; 2, 6, Lindsey Roberts; 3, 25 Design Books to Add to Your Collection; 4, 10+ Magazine Storage Solutions; 5, How To Describe Your Style in Words; 7, Look! Beautifully Organized Inspiration Boards)