Creative Project:
Inspiration Boards & Notebooks

Creative Project:<br> Inspiration Boards & Notebooks

When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, I used a notebook full of magazine photos to communicate my ideas to the contractor. I slipped magazine tear-outs into plastic sleeves, wrote things like “make sides of cabinet like this” on the sleeves, and left my notebook for the contractor to use as a visual. I also used my notebook to add paint samples, brochures, articles, receipts, tips and other small things into the sleeves for safe keeping.

Thanks to my notebook and a creative contractor, I probably spent half of what it would’ve cost to completely re-do my kitchen. I used my notebook to find inspiration for small details that made it more custom and yet allowed me to save money. See inspiration here on the details I incorporated into my kitchen, thanks to inspiration from magazine photos.

  • Saving photos on inspiration boards or in notebooks can tell a lot about what you like or the kind of mood you are comfortable with. You don’t have to limit yourself to photos of homes, add any photos or swatches that inspire you. You might find you are inspired by nature, by a certain color, by a time period, or by certain patterns & textures. Your collection might suggest you are drawn to a cozy warm atmosphere or a more lively energetic mood.
  • Train your eye to look at the details in photos. Zero in on specific things you like. You can also learn things by noting what you DON’T like, so feel free to include some notes on things you dislike! That is why I like the plastic sleeves, you can write anything you want for now, and add to it or change it later. This is a fun process of learning about your own taste.
  • You don’t even have to know right away WHY you like a particular photo. Include it anyways. You might realize after you have a big stack of kitchen photos that you love a particular style or color scheme.
  • While your notebook may just start out as a way to refine your personal style, you can use your notebook over time to convey your ideas to contractors, decorators or just as a resource for your future endeavors. I like to look at mine from time to time, just to see all the things I love in one place!
  • I have also used my notebook to coordinate my preferences with those of my husband. Often times I will ask him what he thinks about a particular picture and if he hates it, I try to figure out why he dislikes it. Maybe he just hated the fabric, but we could agree on some other aspect. This refines BOTH of our taste and helps us to create a home we both love.

Which is better?

An inspiration board or notebook?

The beauty of the board is the visual impact of having the ideas all on one page in front of you. This is especially effective if you are just forming your personal style or just trying to figure out a mood for a room. It helps to see all the colors and textures as a whole, similar to how you would see them in a room.

If you are designing a kitchen or planning a remodel, or just want to save photos for reference, make the notebook. The notebook is easier to store, easier to make notes in and just more practical for keeping paint and fabric swatches. You can also add to it and expand it over time.

Posts you might find helpful in findingĀ  your style:

Living Authentically at Home
How to Decorate your Home

How To Create An Authentic Home

How To Create An Authentic Home

Creating an authentic style, inspired by you and the things you love, does not have to be a daunting experience. It is a journey of self-discovery and self-expression that can be enjoyable, even for the creatively-challenged. Here are a few ideas to help you along the way to finding your style:

  • Think about beautiful places that have profoundly influenced you. Have you traveled abroad? Spent memorable time in the solitude of a mountain cabin? Walked on a nature trail? Been entranced by charming English gardens in a quaint old neighborhood? Spent Sunday mornings in a architecturally stunning church? Incorporate the mood of these experiences into your home.
  • Create dream box or notebook. Keep clippings of magazine photos you are drawn to, note cards with patterns you find charming, swatches of fabrics or ribbons, photos of beautiful things you come across in your daily life or travels. These things can prove valuable to you as you design your rooms. Details of what inspires you will begin to emerge. You might find you are consistently inspired by Asian culture, simplicity, a particular shade of pink, nature, or old world charm like carved wood and antique light fixtures.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix styles. There are no rules. Your goal is simply to create a pleasing environment with your own authentic style. You can be inspired by classic styles but consider adding in other elements of who you are to create a unique mix all your own. Add an antique French hutch to a contemporary room or painted table in a kitchen with natural wood to make your rooms more interesting and real.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for guidance, but do avoid asking friends for their approval. Creating a home is very personal. A professional decorator can help you translate the feelings you want in your home into a pleasing style, saving you money and frustration along the way. You may not have time or the inclination to put it all together, but be involved in what goes into your home. Find a decorator who is sensitive to authenticity, using what you have and love, and does not try to push their own signature style.
  • Be true to who you are. Don’t buy to ‘keep up with the Jones.’ Be content with where you are in life and design your home appropriately. Take finances, children, pets, entertaining styles, and both solitude and social preferences into account so you will be comfortable in your own space.
  • Be sure your home is alive with happy memories. Objects in your home can conjure up positive warm feelings. Gather things in your lifetime that bring you happiness when you see them. Buy a teacup when you visit a teahouse on your birthday. Have a silhouette drawn of your child. Bring back a pretty map from a vacation to frame on a wall. Buy things that move you, not meaningless objects gathered for the sole purpose of filling space.
  • Edit your possessions. You cannot keep everything you have ever owned or loved. Does the object or furniture suit your current lifestyle, home or taste? If not, let it go! Take a picture of it if the memory is strong and file it away in a memory box. Does something in your home have a negative memory associated with it? Get rid of it! Replace it with something happier.
  • Refine your style continuously over your lifetime so it always reflects who you are today as well as where you have been. Don’t get stuck in a time warp that no longer suits who you are. If you continue to refine your home even in small ways it will feel constantly fresh and alive.