I took some time Sunday afternoon to do something I love — sit in a big comfy chair surrounded by stacks and stacks of my favorite magazines. Bliss!
While I have leafed through these same pages dozens of times, the ideas feel fresh and new again when you’ve moved into a new home. What may have been overlooked as ‘not right’ for the last house is quite possibly BRILLIANT for the new home.
I have gone through this magazine ritual in each of the six homes I have called my own. I love looking for clues as to what my new home will could like, room by room — how it will feel, what the ambience and character of the home will be. While I mostly use what furnishings I already have, each home has a unique personality that can be incorporated into the overall mood of the decor.
I know not everyone wants to risk looking at magazines for fear of “room envy,” but I don’t seem to suffer too much from that! I love to dream and drool over what I see and then find ways to recreate the feel with what I already have. It is something I have loved to do since I was very young — a simple pleasure that stirs up my creativity and contentment with what I have been blessed with.
If you get stuck on where to begin with a decorating project or are confused as to what direction you are going with your home, here are three tips I use to define my style and give some clarity to my thoughts:
Brainstorm ‘inspiration words’ to define your style & the mood of your home.
Think about places you love (or would like to go!), the style of your home’s architecture, the landscape or terrain around your home, inspiration from favorite books, flowers, hobbies, etc. (For more help in finding inspiration words, skip to tip #3!). Use a few inspiration words to paint a picture in your mind of what your home will look like.
I came up with a few inspiration words or ideas for the style of my house:
♦ water (we can see a lake from our house and are near Puget Sound so water is everywhere around our home),
♦ a getaway (my husband and I would love our home to feel like a getaway or vacation home for ourselves and our guests),
♦ adventure (we love old maps, things collected from travels, books, etc).
♦ ships (we love the idea of compasses, ships, porthole mirrors, etc.)
♦ old world (we love the character, texture and richness of old world ambience)
Make a list of treasures you’d like to collect or find over time.
Once you have a short list of inspiration words, you can zero in on appropriate ideas to focus on as you move forward with your projects, rather than go with every style whim or buy every random trinket you see.
Making a list of the kinds of things you want to have in your home helps save tons of money (no more random purchases you don’t know what to do with) and gives you some fun things to scout out at garage sales or thrift stores.
It also helps you WEED OUT the things you no longer need in your home.
Find appropriate inspiration photos.
Look for photos in magazines that evoke the feelings you want to have in your home. For best results, find rooms that have something in common with yours, such as size or style of windows, similar room layouts, comparable architectural styles or other similarities.
Don’t get hung up on worrying that it is an expensive room full of things you can’t have. That is stinkin’ thinkin’. Recreating a look on a budget is fun and completely doable.
Decide what you love about the inspiration room and find a way to get the same feeling for less money. Focus on a few small details that are easy to reproduce, like open shelving displays, types of lighting, color schemes, curtain styles, mix of woods or fabric patterns you love.
I designed or decorated my last three kitchens based on inspiration photos, it really helps! There is no shame in being inspired by beautiful rooms.
What should you do with your inspiration photos?
See this related article: Inspiration Boards and Notebooks