Inspired Rooms

Oh how I love this topic! Inspired Rooms! I named my business and blog “The Inspired Room” for a reason! Actually, several reasons. I’m not a decorator at heart. Yes, I am technically a “decorator” and yes it is something I love! But I don’t usually decorate to decorate, if you catch what I am trying to say. There is a distinction in my mind between simply decorating a room and being inspired to create a beautiful home.

I read the definition of Inspiration yesterday on Cre8tiva’s new blog and thought it was worth sharing:


Definition from, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
1. a. Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.
b. The condition of being so stimulated.
2. An agency, such as a person or work of art, that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention.
3. Something, such as a sudden creative act or idea, that is inspired.
4. The quality of inspiring or exalting.
5. Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind.

I love all of those definitions!

As you may know, my motto begins this way: “When life inspires your home…” (see sidebar for complete quote). While I appreciate beautiful things, beauty alone is not the main consideration I have in deciding what to put into a home. From my perspective having a house full of beautiful things without significance, meaning or at least a story behind them is having a house void of its soul. Beautiful, yes! Shallow, absolutely. Having an “inspired room” rather than a “decorated room” feels altogether more romantic, intriguing and thought-provoking!

One of the ways I encourage having an “inspired room” rather than simply a “decorated room” is by using items in your home that have significance or memories attached to them. Objects that can become portals to your memories and tug at your heart strings! While I know many people want to wipe the slate clean and decorate from scratch (in a different style from their parents or to erase a less than happy past), I still encourage people to consider ways to incorporate things of meaning into a new décor. Perhaps decorate with things you actually use in day to day living! Books are a great example of that, assuming you read them or look at them now and then!

Inspired Rooms

Your everyday life will be greatly enriched if you have a sense of connection to what is in your home. It is far better to go slowly with your decor than it is to rush through it with wild abandon in an effort to complete it. Inspired rooms require patience. Inspired rooms require layers that you cannot create at whim. Life must inspire your home and life doesn’t happen in one day. Inspired rooms are never “finished.”

Now, just to clarify, I think it is entirely possible to go overboard on the “inspiration” and forget the importance of beauty and appropriateness! I personally like to interpret my inspiration with something beautiful or at least decent looking! It is possible to take something rather ordinary that has a beautiful story or memory behind it and turn it in to a something lovely! It is the overall feeling of a room you are going for rather than each item standing out as a masterpiece. Balance is really a key factor here. Too much of anything can be nauseating.

You want a room that says “You are home and LIFE is BEAUTIFUL here.” Inspired rooms are subtle but magical. Inspired rooms are not only for rich people or style snobs, but for everyone who wants to love being in their home. Inspired rooms are for people who want to live authentically. I think LIVING is the exciting part, that is the key! Inspired living should be the focus. The home is just where our life spills over into visible form. The more you focus on living an “inspired life,” the more beautiful and wonderful your home will become. It won’t be able to help itself, beauty will radiate from within!

Inspired Rooms

Ok, I’m going to move on to ask for READER PARTICIPATION on a specific dilemma! Yep, most of the time I let you slip in and out with nary a peep if you feel like it. But now and again I like playing my PARTICIPATION REQUIRED game. Ah, yes, it has been awhile since we played that game! Today I hope some of you will have some ideas to share with two of the sweetest bloggers out there.


Blogger Jenn of The Bowerbird’s Nest emailed me a photo of her sweet teenage daughter Jacqui’s baby shoes and said she wanted to use those in some way in her home. But how? Jenn and Jacqui have great taste. They are a mother and daughter from Australia who delight us with tales from their daily life and are wonderful examples of women who understand “inspired living.”

So, how do we incorporate these adorable baby shoes into their home? These shoes are meaningful to Jenn and they bring her such happy memories when she sees them. I immediately thought of a shadowbox (The Container Store sells one) but thought maybe some of you super creative gals would have some other suggestions for her to showcase these sweet reminders of days gone by.

If you don’t have an idea for the shoes, you are not off the hook! Tell me ways YOU create Inspired Rooms in your home! Here are a couple of my favorite ideas: I bring home drawings and paintings from vacations for my walls, I frame poems and quotes, I display books I love and family antiques.

Now it’s your turn to share!

Related topic: How to Create An Authentic Home


Top Photo: Better Homes & Gardens online

Middle Photo: Architectural Digest: Something’s Gotta Give set

Bottom Photo: Copyright The Bowerbird’s Nest, used by permission


  1. julia

    Oh my gosh, when I first saw those precious red shoes i thought they looked good enough to eat there so stinkin cute!!
    Tied together with red/white polka dot ribbon, i would set them on a glass cake stand and cover with a bell jar to display in a favorite place in the house. Too fun.

  2. Lori

    I love the photo she sent you. I think that would be wonderful blown up and put in a gorgeous frame. The shoes can then be stored and kept safe.
    My dining room is my inspired room. It is the room I see when sitting in the kitchen and sitting in the living room. It is the room that showcases our families love all all things related to the shore. The room decor is constantly changing. The built in shelves on either side of the window have collections of beach stones, beach glass, coral, shells, driftwood, photos of us at the beach. The dining room table always has a sea shore table scape. After a family dinner I let anyone make their own table scape from the items on my shelves. It is fun to see what others put together. I have photos online if you would like to see.

  3. Jenn

    Those are lovely shoes – I wonder if there’s a way to mount them on an artist’s canvas, which could be painted first in a contrasting colour (aqua with red is a favourite of mine) or even left plain.

  4. Kathleen Grace

    I think I would display the shoes next to a photo of sweet Jacqui at the age she wore them. They are so beautiful! My master bedroom is becoming my inspired room right now. It has been the most neglected room in the house and now I am ready to make it into a haven for my sweet husband and me! I asked for bookshelves flanking a large double window facing south for Christmas. These will be very special because sweet husband is designing and building them himself. I plan to add artwork form my girls and things with meaning for us as a couple. The whole room is getting a fresh coat of paint and a fresh start. It will take a while, but when it is done it is going to be beautiful and a place to relax together!

  5. rosieswhimsy

    Your post is fabulous. I love your design philosophy. It takes me years of living in a new place before everything comes together. I always start with the things I love and have had forever…. but then each place I have lived seemed to require it’s own twist to what I have always felt is my style. As soon as I give into the house, then the rooms begin to feel like home. Hope that doesn’t sound too weird :-) Have the Best of Days………Rosie

  6. Ruth Welter

    What a great idea Melissa, I love the shadow box for the shoes. That way they will always be showcased in a prominant way in the room…they are beautiful shoes too, remind me of The Wizard Of Oz.

  7. artgirlATL

    My youngest daughter would go nuts over those little red shoes. Love your blog. You’re inspiring a revamp on the old homestead.

  8. mrs darling

    I too have beren saving my daughters little red shoes for 25 years now meaning to make a shadow box of her things. I’m anxiously waiting to see what ideas everyone comes up with.

  9. Tamara

    I like the idea of a shadowbox (or shadowbox coffee table), but how about using a black-and-white or sepia photo of Jacqui with the shoes left red as a backdrop to the shadowbox, then pin the shoes in to the side of the photo?

    Our home’s decor is largely inspired by family heirlooms and antiques; oak leaves, acorns & pinecones (memories of our wedding and honeymoon); and other natural elements (free “souveniers” from our trips and adventures) such as stones, feathers, etc. When we walk into our home, we are enveloped by memories of precious times with family and each other, and that inspires us!

  10. JO

    I love the shadow box idea… the ribbon … the canvas too….

    Perhaps attach them to the base of a lamp and make a cute kitschy lamphade to go with it…. I was also tyring to think of a way to put flowers in them … like put a tiny pot that wont leak inside the shoe …. in a red color… and put african violets or something like that in the pot in the shoe…

    If I think of anything else I will come back



  11. Mari-Nanci

    Oh Hon, I don’t seem to do well with personally inspiring myself. Oh sure, I know what I like and what I resonate with. Luckily my husband shares me views. But beyond the rosy color pallet, and some old looking stuff, I don’t have great personal inspiration.

    I come to you, for that. :-)

    OK, OK! I know, that’s a sneaky way of getting myself off the hook. But hey, it’s true. -sigh- If I wasn’t in need of so much inspiration, I’d not be spending so much time in lovely blogs such as yours.

    And what a shame that would be, come to think of it. :-)


  12. janet

    Those are just about the cutest shoes I have ever seen!! Like the “under glass” idea. I don’t have any original thoughts today, but wanted to comment anyway. I too collect art work from my travels and sometimes I even get them framed, LOL. And books, no home is complete without books in my estimation.


  13. Kathleen

    hmm, what about painting that shadow box with child like colors, maybe sticking in one her favorite toys or two and lining the back of the box with one the child’s drawings ?????A little more fun and less formal.

    I have a few inspired rooms…I just painted my bathroom tiffany Blue. I have a comfortable slipper chair I just had reupholstered in a blue and gold brocade. It had belonged to my mother-in -law and no one wnated it, but I love having a comfy chair in the bathroom. I have a great blue and white toile shower curtain accented with a blue and white striped ruffle. In addition throughout the room are original art works by myself and my husband’s aunt. I sometimes even bring my portable DVD player in there to amuse me while I paint my toes !!!!

  14. Tam

    Oopsie, forgot to address the shoes.

    Disclaimer: I am in no way a decorator, so this is just a simple idea off the top of my head.

    Why not display them on a nightstand or end table next to a framed b/w or sepia photograph of them being worn? It would make a sweet little vigniette next to a lamp, etc.

  15. Robin

    I would put them under a cloche…..

  16. Kathy at Shocking Pink Thread

    Dear Melissa, have you been reading my mind? I love your thoughts on inspired rooms. They are a reflection of the very thing I journaled about this morning.

    I love the red shoes. I don’t have an original idea for displaying them (so many delightful ideas already) but the little black patent leather shoes of my infancy have a place of honor on the dresser in my bedroom.

  17. Cre8Tiva

    this post made me cry…this is why i have such a difficult time decorating…i am missing the inspiration….i have great things, just am not good at using them… -the shoes- you could put them on a lamp base in a cute arrangement -one leaning on the post and one down with red checkor polka dot shade…or make them as a photo holder holding a black and white image of her wearing them and color just the shoes red…you could place photos of her in them inside the shoe and stand them in a holder or mount the soles to canvas…make candle holders out of them…okay i’m done…blessings today, rebecca

    ps…thank you for mentioning me and my new blog…

  18. Rhondi

    What a wonderful blog you have, filled with so much inspiration I found you through your comment on Lavender Hill. The red shoes are so adorable. Your readers have suggested are so many brilliant ideas already, that I don’t have anything to add. I think anything they decide to do with them will be lovely. I read your decorating philosophy and it is so true. Our homes must reflect who we are .
    I’d like to add your blog to my favorites link

  19. brilliant asylum

    I like the shadowbox idea too. Such cute little shoes!

  20. Teri

    First time responder but I’ve been lurking for several months now. Perhaps use them as book ends with her favorite books from the age she wore them nestled in between.

  21. Annechovie

    Another wonderful post, Melissa! Also, you’ve been tagged!
    Here are the rules:
    1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
    2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
    3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
    4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

  22. Brandie Kajino

    I am loving this post! You should be inspired, and your life reflected in your home. LOVE THAT!!!
    Ok, here’s my idea, and it’s old fashioned. What about bronzing the shoes? They could be used for book ends or just put out. I love the shadow box idea too – that red color is so fabulous, and what a beautiful memory. :)

  23. laney

    the room in which our first son grew up (who is now 35) is now my husband’s study…next to his overstuffed leather chair is our son’s little red rocking chair and peeking out from underneath are the shoes that our son was wearing when he walked for the first time…next door to this room is our younger son’s room that is today a guest room … his little shoes are peeking from his “big boy” bed he had when he outgrew his crib…the shoes are in “their”rooms and still in our hearts…people always smile and ask about the little shoes…

  24. laney

    …thank you melissa

  25. Abby from The Blissful

    OK, Melissa, I’m not specifically answering either of the questions you pose to us for Reader Participation. Sorry! But I felt so compelled to post on your distinction between a decorated home and an INSPIRED home. An inspired home is what we all want, isn’t it? We don’t advertise design services at our shop, I personally do not consider myself a designer, and I’m not down on professional designers by any means, however…I do feel badly for people who feel crippled when it comes to making design decisions for themselves in their own homes. Some people feel that their home is not “done” well unless a professional has given his or her input and sometimes even guided all the choices. Ye gads! Isn’t your home the one place in the world where you can and should reflect your OWN personal, idiosyncratic tastes and style?

    I recently read an article in a retail publication where a very successful store owner/interior designer commented something along the lines of she hopes that when families acquire new homes that need decorated, she hopes they recognize the IMPORTANCE of calling on a professional designer. The importance?? As in, decorating one’s home is not a task to be undertaken by the un-licensed? Wow. I certainly have a different perspective on this one.

    As always, thank you for such a fresh and engaging post. I don’t know how you do it, girl, but you keep turnin’ ’em out like it’s your calling or something. :)

    Hope you have a beautiful evening.

  26. Tara


    How do I makae my home authentic? I frame my children’s art work and display it… my laundry room is a long hallway off the kitchen…it’s now a gallery of child art. My children range in ages 7-19, the oldest being in college for Art! In this room they can see how they grew and are still growing (I framed some of my son’s art portfolio that got him into school! I’m going to feature this on my blog soon! :0) Tara

  27. Lori Janiszewski

    I love the idea of doing a collage shadowbox with photos of her wearing the shoes with the actual shoes on display.
    So sweet…..
    I wanted to let you know I’m giving away a pendant for valentine’s day. It’s now through Sunday.
    Take care~

  28. All Things Bright and Beautiful

    Miss Melissa!!
    I haven’t forgotten you!! thank you so much for dropping by!

    I’m gearing up for your next weeks post! and so looking forward to what other inspiration you will be showing too :-)

    PS I really like your photo referencing by the way – its clear and I understand where they’re from and which ones are which – THANK YOU!!

  29. Mrs. Jules

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your lovely blog (found you through CWO).

    Well, I think I would place those adorable red shoes in a small silver tray and place it on top of some books for everyone to see.

    I, too, love decorating with books, framing quotes, etc. To hang art that reflects our family’s culture, I love to frame pictures out of beautifully- illustrated books.

  30. shelbi

    those shoes are adorable! i have not one clue about how to display them, i too have sweet little special shoes of both my girls, and still have wondered how to display them …i was thinking about a shadow box. i would place the sweet shoes, and some other trinkets of special-ness to create a display box of sorts, with a photo of the baby …

    ahhh. one day. yes, one day i will get to all these sweet little memory projects!

    hugs and big fat smooches to you ~M,

  31. Alexandra

    Your blog is always SOOOO lovely. Those shoes are so endearing and charming. The first thing I thought of was placing them atop a large silver, pedestal, candle holder. Hope you are having lovely week.

  32. cityfarmer

    When I had my retail store full of antiques and home accessories I used to display old shoes sitting on and propped upon old books in vignettes around the shop….shoes old books go well together.

  33. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Melissa,

    We truly relate to your design philosophy, a great post as always :)

    Thank you so much for coming to our rescue with this dilemma! And we would like to thank all the ladies for their wonderful and creative ideas to keepsake these little red shoes! We have lots of food for thought! Thank you :)

    Have a lovely day Melissa :)
    Jenn and Jacqui

  34. Penny, Mosaic Artist

    What a wonderfully post! I so enjoy coming here Melissa.

    Jenn and Jacqui are the sweetest people! I love the red shoes. I like the shadow box and cloche idea. Just even displaying them on a bookshelf would be great, because they are such a great color and style. Sometimes simple is the best…

  35. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Melissa, forgot to say, we will check back often to see if there are any others to add to the growing list! Thank you so much everyone :) J & j :)

  36. Melissa

    Awesome ideas, some of them had me all choked up they are so sentimental and sweet! Keep the ideas coming, this is really inspirational!

  37. Pieter

    Why frame it at all? I LOVE loose groupings of photographs interspersed with other objet. Shadow boxes look great, but sometimes they seem so calculated/precious. I’m a big fan of the “thrown together” look ( eg. a grouping photogaphs/images with different, yet similiar frames, bedding that’s not all part of one set, yet works because of colour/pattern/texture similiarities etc.) Ironically this often takes more time and attentive curating to achieve, but the results are super chic) Back to the shoes…mount them on a wall as part of a collection with related photos and art. Instead of making it a shrine to what once was, it becomes an element that adds depth and context to your home.

  38. Lynda

    Thank you, Melissa! You’ve just made me realize why I didn’t like being in the interior design world. All through design school it was all about starting from scratch, tossing everything and bringing in all new items. Of course, they encouraged us to “help” the client spend more money than they had budgeted but in the end they would have a lovely, sterile room that would look perfect in a magazine. That was so NOT what I wanted to do! So I left and now 10 years later I’m rediscovering a different way to decorate and I’m loving it!

    Those shoes are completely adorable! I would tuck them under a cloche with a picture or two and maybe some other tiny thing from Jacqui’s babyhood. I hope we’ll see how they decide to display them!

    ~hugs, Lynda xo

  39. Jill Flory

    Hi~ I love red and I love baby shoes! I would not do the shadowbox because I like to change things too much! I would start with them under a glass bell and change their location as the whim hit me! I love the idea of a photo of Jacqi wearing them, I use lots of photos. the canvas idea is neat if you don’t mind them attached to something you can’t take them off of! here again, I like to rearange!!!!

    Please let us all know what Jenn decides to do with them!!!

  40. {this is glamorous}

    So I’m completely in love with the bedroom in the top photo. As for those adorable little red shoes, I once saw a designer set a pair of shoes atop a stack of books on a sidetable and it looked charming . . .

  41. kari & kijsa

    Wow….everyone has such creative ideas….Jenn and Jacqui are so fabulous…we are sure whatever they come up with will be incredible!

    Have a blessed day!

    smiles, kari & kijsa

  42. Beck

    I love this topic!
    There are so many ideas for the shoes- cute as a button! I do like the shaddow box idea but you could always sit them amongst a collection of other red or similarly themed items. How about tying a coordinating ribbon to the buckles to keep them loosely together then hanging them to the wall as a picture?
    I add inspiration to my rooms through displaying loved items. These may be my mums old cup and saucers and others that I have collected over the years. I have a hurricane lamp full of shells and urchins from my beach house area and other trips I’ve been on (Fiji, Vanuatu, Queensland) which remind me of the fun we had there and also provide some of the beach into my home. Photos of course make big statements too. :)

  43. Jan

    I have a “Nestalgia Sister Wall” in a sitting area in my bedroom.
    I put a picture up in a gold frame, of my twin sister and my other sister in it. Then I hung up two of my baby dresses below with cute Baby hangers. Below it I have a little glass dressing table with my baby shoes and socks and a few more frames with my sisters and I in them, placed on the table. One of them has a picture of my twin and I in a wedding, wearing the dress that is hung on the wall above it.

    Right next to this Nastalgia Vingnett, my DH put up a little shelf that I have many Nastalgia items that meant alot to me when I was growing up. Remember those metal curlers that had the rubber roller that snapped into the end to hold it in place…. Or the little Black glass Black Babies that had moveable arms and legs that had a little fuzz ball on their heads… We got those at the 5 and 10 cent store. Remember those stores? Those type of things are on my shelf. Here’s another one; the little scarf that was wool, that we always tied on our heads when we went out to play in the snow at Grandmas house. The list goes on…. It’s all in one place and not scattered throughout the house. It’s ongoing and changes periodically. But it’s my little corner and it makes me smile as I go past it.

    In my bedroom hangs a picture of our wedding (Almost 39 years ago). Below it is my wedding dress hanging with the sleeves coming around to hold a Wreath of Roses. On either side of it are some Gold candle Sconces..

    Why not put things around you that remind you of the special times in our lives?? I guess I’m the Nastalgia queen around here, but it makes me happy and it’s done tastefully and helps me to thank God for his leading hand and blessings throughout my life.


  44. Rose

    Hi Melissa,
    First of all let me thank you for coming to see me today, sorry I missed you. I truly appreciate your leaving a comment.

    I so enjoyed taking this wonderful home tour with you…but now I’m depressed…my home seems so BLAH now – ha!

    And about the adorable red shoes…well I’d probably take them to a floral designer and incorporate them into a floral design basket for the family room or something. One of my favorite shops I frequent has the most amazing floral designers, and their work is truly stunning. That’s what I would do. I can see a red and white check ribbon on that floral too.


  45. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Melissa, just us checking flying in to see if there are any other wonderful ideas and we can see there are, now our list has grown! Some fantastic ideas from your wonderful ladies :) Thanks you Melissa, guess we will have to choose soon and that is going to be the hard part! Talks soon, hugs, Jenn and Jacqui xoxo

  46. Kathy

    I love the beach house in Somthing’s Gotta Give. I’ve trying to find some of the artwork from the movie, especially the beach scene in the living room. I think it’s called rockaway beach. I can’t find anything. Can anyone help?


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