Where does design inspiration come from? If you are considering a home renovation or new construction project, you may be asking yourself this question. We believe that inspiration comes from two places: exposure and experience.
Exposure to Good Design
As interior designers, we are naturally drawn to good design, regardless of the form. Finished spaces, furniture, light fixtures, art, architecture, nature – anything you see or experience can serve as inspiration. We are always on the lookout for beautiful things, both within and outside of the interior design world. Sometimes those items inspire a mood or aesthetic rather than a specific style. In this case, we note the details that are contributing to the overall vibe. It’s our natural inclination to pay attention the world around us that allows us to help our clients discover a style that suits them. However, our understanding of the world only goes so far. Developing a successful interior design scheme requires partnership between designer and homeowner. Therefore, we encourage our clients to be more critical about the things they like, figuring out why something appeals to them or doesn’t. Is it a look that has always resonated with them, or has their style changed over time? What exactly was it about the bathroom at the hotel they stayed at last year that they liked? Exploring new things and understanding why a space is appealing is a large part of creating a design concept.
Kitchen and bath renovations tend to drive the style of a home since they are more permanent spaces than say a master bedroom. For these projects, we suggest our clients to seek out the possibilities for their style by perusing design websites like Houzz and Pinterest, exploring shelter magazines and design books, and visiting design centers like Lux Home in Chicago. As interior designers, we are constantly exposed to what is new and different in home design because our vendors keep us up to date. A supplier is in our design studio at least once a week! We also attend Markets on a regular basis and follow industry leaders to keep our fingers on the pulse of design. While we can then advise our clients based on this knowledge-base, we find that having our clients explore for themselves helps them articulate what they are truly looking for. What we know for sure is, if you keep looking at what has already been done, then you will end up with that same style. Being open to what is new and different will elevate the look of your home.
After 35 years of working with clients, we have had many opportunities to observe what has worked or hasn’t worked for us and our clients. This idea moves beyond material, furniture and functionality choices that succeed or fail. Each client has their own vision for their home, and each brings unique experiences to design development. For example, one of our clients returned from Germany and began a bathroom remodel project. Her travels convinced her that she wanted a more European style bathroom, with a curbless shower and a linear drain. While this style is popular in Europe, it is just emerging here in the States. We are now in the process of talking with contractors about how to achieve her vision. Her and her husband’s recent African safari also inspired the look of the project. She is a photographer and loves animals, so we included her images from the trip as the artwork in the space. The end result is striking and makes her happy every day. Our clients brought two new design elements from their own experiences, which our involvement in will benefit future clients. The wide variety of projects and client viewpoints affords us a bank of information that inspires us, and allows us to provide creative ideas to new clients.
Design inspiration can come from anywhere. The idea is to approach the world with your eyes open to elements and experiences that make you think a bit differently. We are not suggesting you try to be weird just to be weird! Understanding what speaks to you will help ensure you bring a style to your home appropriate to you.