Look Far And Wide For Inspiration

Look Far And Wide For Inspiration

Dabney Frake
Oct 13, 2015
(Image credit: Monica Wang)
(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)

Today’s Topic: You are going to take your self out for some good old fashioned window shopping, and let your creative eye wander.

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Sometimes we get totally bogged down by what we think our style is, and from looking at the same things in our homes day after day after day. The very first step to a brand new space is to shake things up, go out in the world, and do a little style reconnaissance. This is TOTALLY fun, no pressure kind of stuff and helps you discover what makes your heart thrum with pleasure, and your eyes dance with happiness.

You'll use this down the road when you pull together your design plan. The images you'll gather will help you to confidently build your design plan and you'll be discovering more about your decor preferences while getting ideas that you can pull from later - it's like getting a glimpse of your future style!

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

STEP #1: Style Reconnaisance

Head out to some shops, local cafes, or other retail and public spaces - the more the merrier - and snap some photos! Designers, stylists and editors have been doing this forever - it's a super-effective way to get a handle on what appeals to you visually. If you can't make it out and about, do the the same online, except instead of snapping, you'll be saving.

(Image credit: Aimee Jones)

Tip: Cast a wide net and don't limit or second-guess yourself

At this point, free your mind and let your eyes and heart be your guide. The goal isn't practicality. Don't worry if a particular sofa you like won't fit in your space, or if your spouse hates the colors you're drawn to. And, above all else, DON'T THINK ABOUT BUDGET. This step is for purely to discover, recognize and record what you respond to on a visceral level. So go in those stores you normally avoid because they aren't in your price range and think about what you like, right there, right then. Remember: you're simply seeking beauty, ideas and inspiration.

(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)

Don't limit yourself to home decor either. Inspiration can come in the form of your best friend's velvet handbag, a really compelling window display, or the texture of the wall in your favorite restaurant. Absolutely anything goes — if it is visually attractive, capture an image of it!

STEP #2: File It All Away

Once you've done this legwork, return home (or close your browser), and upload your images onto your computer and into one place so you can easily refer back to them. Pinterest is the most obvious place, but anything will do — an actual file folder, mood board, or your desktop. Whatever works! If you have a huge number of pics, review your photos first and edit them down to your absolute favorites - the ones that make you happiest when you look at them.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Tip: Look for themes and commonalities in all the images you've gathered.

Remember this is about inspiration, so while you're going over your photos, take a moment or two to note anything that crops up repeatedly — whether it's a certain color, pattern, shape, or texture. You may learn that you are consistently attracted to furniture with straight lines, or that dark blue shows up in your favorites more consistently than any other color. Tuck that knowledge away for later.

Next Lesson: Things get really, really, really up close and personal. Afterwards, you and your room will have no secrets.

If you're up for it, share your favorites with all of us. We totally want to see what's inspiring you these days! Post on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter and we'll have an eye out for your updates and photos. Be sure to tag with #ATDesignSchool so we can find you.

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