As designers, we're often asked where we find our home design inspiration and how we stay inspired project after project. The simple answer -- inspiration is all around us! The key to collecting inspiration and being inspired is opening our eyes and minds to our surroundings. Inspiration is a huge part of our design process so it's important to have go-to sources to browse when we need a spark in our creative thinking.
Check out our top ten places to find inspiration below and feel free to share yours in the comments!
1. HOME MAGAZINES
Home design magazines are an obvious choice for home design inspiration, but nonetheless a favorite. These publications are a great source for incredible home ideas, products to purchase, resources and designer insight. They keep us current with emerging trends and what's happening in the design world.
2. TRAVEL MAGAZINES
Another genre of magazines to subscribe to are travel related. These pages are filled with incredible destinations to visit and beautiful places to stay that could inspire your next project (without spending resources on a trip). Years ago, Wendy Blackband set Travel & Leisure as her web browser's home page to keep inspiring images and current events front of mind. Everyday when Wendy logs in she wonders “Where in this great, big world am I going today?”
3. PERSONAL TRAVEL
We are so fortunate to have access to incredible imagery from around the world online and in publications, but we would argue that nothing beats inspiration from personal travel and experiences. Travel has always been a huge part of Wendy's life -- traveling with her parents as a child, backpacking as a young adult, living abroad, exploring with her husband Greg and now vacationing as a family with their kids. Gathering inspiration on travels is found in more than just the places you stay, but in the people you meet, sights you see, food you eat and cultures you immerse yourself in.
4. HOTELS, RESTAURANTS + BARS, OH MY!
There's a ton of money spent on design in the hospitality industry because it's the feelings and experiences that bring people back again. Hotels, restaurants + bars often showcase top designers' work making them great resources for unique inspiration.
BONUS TIP: Try searching for the top sights to see in an area with a style you're interested in. For example, Wendy loves searching things like "top hotels in Bali," "best bars in Morocco," or "top farm-to-table restaurants" for projects that could use that inspiration.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA
It's at our finger tips and bursting with news and imagery to spark ideas. We use Instagram and Pinterest most often to see current trends or hone in on specific details we're trying to envision. Being able to search hashtags on Instagram or keywords on Pinterest is really helpful in narrowing down what we're looking for.
BONUS TIP: As we're sure you've already come to realize in one way or another, as inspiring as social media can be, the constant show of perfect scenes can also be overwhelming and take a toll on our creativity and well-being. A lot of time and resources are spent in the design industry staging rooms and vignettes to look a certain way for photos (it's our art!), but it doesn't always reflect what's true in daily life. It's important to know when to turn it off if it isn't bringing you joy.
6. FAVORITE DESIGNERS
Wendy keeps a list of favorite designers to refer to for inspiration. It could be their style that's drawn her in or a specific project they've worked on, but regardless, it is refreshing to see things from another's point of view. We study and analyze our favorite designers' work to understand what makes it cool and how it can inspire our own. Reading interviews and blog posts from other designers can also provide insight and inspiration.
7. CELEBRITY HOMES
As with the hospitality industry, celebrity homes also benefit from the monetary resources that are not common to the general public. A few notable designs in Wendy's eyes are Ellen Degeneres' homes (she's always got cool things happening and even has her own line of home decor), Ellen Pompeo's home (designed by a favorite designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard), George Clooney's outdoor living space in Cabo and Tom Brady's home (because Wendy loves everything Tom Brady does)!
8. HOME IMPROVEMENT SHOWS
HGTV, Bravo and even Netflix are loaded with hours of home design inspiration and insight. From the home improvement episodes to real estate tours, there's a lot to learn from the teams on camera. We admit, we don't watch too many of these simply because it can be overwhelming to fill our down time with more design content, but for most homeowners they're a great source of ideas, solutions and entertainment!
9. MOVIES + TV SHOWS
More of our inspiration comes from non-design related shows and films. We're often asked about the kitchen in Something's Gotta Give -- it seems that there's a fabulous home in every movie Diane Keaton stars in! With her eye for design (see book: The House that Pinterest Built), we're thinking she must have a say!
The Blackband family also enjoyed watching Netflix's The Crown (a nod to Greg's British roots perhaps) and Wendy soaked in all the inspiration from the neoclassical architecture, palace interiors and avant-garde wardrobe styling.
10. HOME TOURS + OPEN HOUSES
We're fortunate to live and work in an area with a strong design community and an abundance of home design resources. Our two major high schools in town (CDM and Newport Harbor) host home tour fundraisers which give supporters an opportunity to walk through uniquely (and many professionally) designed homes in the district. Our team looks forward to these events each year, especially when we have a home to show off!
If home tours aren't popular in your area, open houses for homes on the market can be a similar source of inspiration. It often helps seeing layouts, colors, styles, etc in person to visualize changes in your own space. Regardless of how you go about it, we encourage you to take advantage of local inspiration and opportunities -- what you're looking for just might be right in front of you!
Near and far, inspiration is everywhere! Just remember to open your eyes, keep an open mind and look for it.
Where are your favorite places to go for inspiration? Let us know in the comments below and collectively we can get some major creativity pumping in this quarantine!!