Stalemate: 7 Ideas to Try When You Feel Like Your House is in a Design Rut

Stalemate: 7 Ideas to Try When You Feel Like Your House is in a Design Rut

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Arlyn Hernandez
Oct 4, 2016

Artistic pursuits are a wonderful thing...until you find yourself stuck in a serious rut. If writers get writer's block, do decorators get decorator's block? Of course they do, and you probably do, too. If your house has stalled out and become a total design bore because you just can't seem to break free of being in the doldrums (or even if you're just in the mood for something new), try these seven tips and techniques to awaken the creative beast within.

Turn to the old faithfuls: Print, Pinterest and Instagram

Okay, so maybe this is an obvious answer, which is why it's going first on this list, but do not overlook the power of the obvious. Take a Saturday afternoon and swing by your local bookstore to flip through some new shelter magazines. Take note of any brands, designers, artists or even editors/writers/photographers whose work makes your heart sing and find them on Pinterest or Insta to discover more #inspiration. Allow yourself to go down the rabbit hole and see who those people follow, and so and and so forth.

(Image credit: Joshua McHugh)

Netflix (and don't chill...take notes, instead)

The set designs in movies and television are personally a huge inspiration for me. All those amazing kitchens in Nancy Meyers' films, the glitz and glam of any Baz Luhrmann+Catherine Martin creation (Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby, Romeo + Juliet), the color palettes in Wes Anderson's quirky masterpieces—they all give and give and give when it comes to design takeaways. (Image via Traditional Home)

Go look at art

Do a little research within the city you live and you might find that there are weekly or monthly art walks, which is a great time (read: totally non-intimidating) to take in some art at local galleries and museums. Paintings, photography, et. al., can open up so much for you if you're in a creative/design rut. Color palettes, perspectives, styles, periods...anything can spark a new idea that you can then implement in your home.

Buy something totally unexpected

That crazy neon-lined side chair you've been eyeing at your local Homegoods might be just the thing to send a shockwave through your living room's design. Step outside of your comfort zone and add something to your home that you wouldn't normally dare to. Even if you don't think it matches in the least, if you love it, and it's a little out there, do it! You might just open up a whole new design scheme for yourself.

Consort Design's eye-popping store in Los Angeles.
(Image credit: Design Milk)

Go to a store you've never been into before

Heck, go to any store that looks inspiring, even if you're a regular, but try to see it with new eyes. It doesn't even have to be a home decor store. Take in the colors they are using throughout, the materials they are mixing and how they're mixing them. You'd be surprised how enlightening a stroll through your local Apple store can be when you're not focused on the merchandise. (Image via Design Milk)

Ask a friend for advice

Taking the leap to ask someone for design advice, i.e. a friend, can be like opening up Pandora's box, so proceed with caution on this one. Tap a friend who has a home you really love (or even has a cute desk at work!). Ask them where they get their design inspirations, what blogs they read regularly, if they have any favorite designers. Any and all sources, and even specific guidance they give you (like how they've always thought you should put your dining room furniture in your living room and vice versa—true story for another time...), will surely get your wheels spinning.

(Image credit: Lonny)

Play musical furniture

Like the rule of inertia, nothing makes you more stagnant than being stagnant. Has the placement of your sofa been driving you crazy? Move it. Always wondered what your bedroom rug would look like in the dining room? Move that, too. In fact, move everything around. Take that extra chair in your living room that no one ever sits in and put it in your bedroom (space permitting.) It's amazing how much simply re-arranging what you already have will clear your design palate, so to speak. (Image via Lonny)

→ You might be stuck in an organic modern design rut, but perhaps you're really an eclectic collector. How will you ever find out the truth? Psst...we have a quiz for that!

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