Where Does Inspiration Come From?


Every so often I am asked about what inspires me while decorating.  My immediate answer is fabrics and color, which I adore.  It’s the easy answer because the real answer takes some explaining.


My inspiration is intangible, it is the feeling I get when I go to a beautiful New England beach. The combination of sounds, smells, textures and colors generates a serenity I haven’t felt anywhere else.  So I want to surround myself with that feeling whenever I can.


(Beach doesn’t mean starfish and sailboats to me.)

Take a look at the two rooms below.


This is soothing, warm and filled with textures.


This room is serene and soothing to me.

To me, the rooms pictured above are easy to live with over time.


You might look at the rooms I love and think they don’t have enough color or are boring.


The great thing about decorating from inspiration is that there is no right or wrong.  My inspiration comes from a feeling I get from a particular place.


Your inspiration will be different.


So what inspires you?
Maybe it is something intangible like the way I feel about the beach. The feeling you get at church, walking through a riot of wildflowers or traveling.


Maybe it’s tangible. A piece of art that you have or have seen, a quilt from your childhood, or even the flowering lilac bush outside your back door.


You can use your inspiration in a way that reflects you

Perhaps it’s as easy as painting a room



Or maybe it is creating a  bright, happy room with no lilac to be found, but feels like spring to you.

Collections of things are also a wonderful way to articulate your passion and/or inspiration


Perhaps it’s antique books, or blue and white chinoiserie as shown in the photos below. It could be anything from maps or small boxes to spoons. If you love it use it.


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You can display the books that you have collected and let that be the focal point of your room.


Or you can take the essence of the books and use that antique book “feeling” you get from them.



These rooms use the blue and white chinoiserie as a jumping off point.

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Another way to convey your inspiration or passion is through paint color, fabric choice or accessories.

Find a fabric that you love. Like this one.

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And then build a room around it.  Sometimes your inspiration fabric is very busy or expensive.  Use it subtly on an ottoman or for pillows.

Remember it is your inspiration, your jumping off point.  You don’t have to go crazy with a fabric or color.  What joy a jolt of orange brings.  Use it as inspiration to brighten up a ho-hum room.


Tangerine is Pantone’s color of 2012


Finally, look through design magazines, websites and books.

Collect pictures of rooms to which you are drawn. There may be something specific you like in a particular photo or it may be the feeling the room generates for you. After some time you will begin to see a pattern in your choices.


You can also talk to a professional, his/her job is to articulate your vision and bring it to life for you.


If you develop a room that you love it will outlast the current trends. The room will be about you and what makes you happy.


So to find your inspiration, look anywhere and everywhere.

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