Finding Interior Design Inspiration for Your Next Project

Posted on April 3, 2012 in Blog

Finding Interior Design Inspiration for Your Next Project


As an interior decorator it is my duty to have lots and lots of fresh interior design concepts at the ready because every client is so unique. And if that was all I had to do – share a few of these concepts upon initially meeting someone then I would have the easiest job on earth. So, how do we find the right design inspiration for each client?  Well, I can’t speak for every designer but I certainly have a process that has been successful for over a decade.

When I first meet a new client I make a point of taking a tour of their home very early in the design process. This focused time allows us to engage in conversation about them, who they are and how they live. To be honest, it’s less about what is said and more about the bonding opportunity. After all, until we go through the design process together it really is premature for me or the client to have predetermined concepts. That being said, it’s great to hear what has motivated someone to call – what results they are looking to achieve and what they love and also find challenging about their space. Sometimes, the current house is not the project home. However, I still find a tour helps clients remember to cover and discuss a number of topics they would forget about if we were all just sitting in a studio or the living room.

Clients often ask how they can help communicate their ideas about design. I suggest a multi-step approach for the best results. First get out your camera to document your room or rooms. You need to stand in each corner and shoot the opposite corner – as wide a shot as possible. Then, print out the photos and make a few notes about what works and what doesn’t. And this is also the perfect time for you to dream outside of the “budget”. Why? Well, it’s too easy to stop the design process before it starts by applying fixed thoughts about what can and can’t be achieved within the “budget”. As professionals we know there is a budget and we will get to it.  However, without fully expressing your dreams the flow is stymied before it even gets started. The design concept is about achieving a feeling and mood. How we achieve the dream – the feeling and mood within the budget is another separate step. Don’t blend or compress them into one or you will never get the results you want to achieve.

Next, look to magazines and the internet for interior decor inspiration. What do I mean? I do not mean to look for “things” or “objects”. Instead, focus on not focusing. Flip through magazines or Pinterest or Tumblr and just make note of rooms or vignettes that make you feel good.



You can walk through your local park, forest or even the mall. What colours make you feel good? What store or restaurant inspires you? What flowers or plants or ponds attract you? Just collect it all and don’t focus on answers instead just be open and aware.

Once you have a collection of photos or visual ideas it is time to review them in a relaxed setting. As you review this apparent “mish mash” look to see if for example there is something blue in each photo? Perhaps all the kitchen cupboards are white? Do you love the playful way polka dots look? Not sure what you have even created – don’t worry. When you sit with an experienced designer they will employ the design process to help bring out your collections story in a way that will allow you see what has inspired you.

Creating your inspiration will increase your overall awareness and this in turn will allow you to be open yet focused when working with an interior designer on the project because you will be attuned to your current tastes. And, you can avoid a real life issue many women face of letting other well intentioned people such as neighbours or relatives influence what you want to achieve for your family. This is far less likely when you follow this process because you will have created a personal road map.

It’s time to begin. You have the knowledge. Put on the kettle or your walking shoes and have fun!



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