What Are Unexpected Sources of Inspiration in Interior Decorating?


    What Are Unexpected Sources of Inspiration in Interior Decorating?

    In the quest for unique and captivating interior spaces, we've gathered insights from top industry professionals, including Interior Designers and Owners. They reveal their unexpected sources of inspiration, from color-matching a mystery paint to capturing color schemes from daily life. Explore these eight creative tips that could transform your next decorating project.

    • Color-Match a Mystery Paint
    • Draw Inspiration from Travel
    • Embrace the Wet Room Concept
    • Incorporate Cultural Design Elements
    • Find Muse in Everyday Objects
    • Nature-Inspired Textures and Finishes
    • Translate Nature's Palette Indoors
    • Capture Color Schemes from Daily Life

    Color-Match a Mystery Paint

    I'm also in real estate, and while showing a property to a client, I fell in love with the color of the master bathroom cabinets. I had to track down the contractor who painted the cabinets, but he had no idea what the color was, and neither did the owner. However, I found an empty paint can and went to Sherwin-Williams to have them color-match it, and that is the color I used to paint the outside brick of my home. We still don't know the color... Lol!

    Misty LindseyInterior Director, Realtor

    Draw Inspiration from Travel

    I often find myself referencing my own travels to different places and experiences of different cultures, as well as natural landscapes, while designing. Being a designer and a landscape/travel photographer, it's easy for me to pull inspiration from nature and art. Whether that be natural materials located in different parts of the world, or unique patterns used in foreign cultures' art, there's always something interesting to draw from and implement in a design to create something unique, personal, and fun in a respectful way. It's fun to take inspiration from the landscape in the place where the project is located to make it feel cohesive with that environment, or from somewhere else entirely to make it feel as if one is being transported to a different place while entering the space. The world constantly inspires me, and I aim to show that in my designs.

    Tammy LarkinInterior Designer, Havenly Inc.

    Embrace the Wet Room Concept

    During a 1980s vacation in Rome, an unexpected inspiration struck, influencing the majority of my bathroom designs to this day. While showering in an apartment bathroom in the Trastevere district, I was initially taken aback by the unconventional placement of the toilet, shower, and sink. The relatively small space embraced an open design, now known as the 'wet room,' where shower water could potentially splash onto the tub, toilet, and sink. Despite my initial hesitation, I soon recognized the brilliance of this concept and fell in love with it. This unique experience has significantly shaped my approach to bathroom design ever since.

    Claudia Morales
    Claudia MoralesInterior Designer, Claudia Interior Design

    Incorporate Cultural Design Elements

    I love to bring home interior-design inspiration from traveling. Trips are a vacation from all your belongings and furnishings. They force you to see spaces in the light of another culture and live in spaces that are designed by someone else. By paying attention to how spaces are arranged, and how scale, texture, and color make me feel, I can bring my favorite feelings back home in the way I design moving forward.

    Mary Bokovoy
    Mary BokovoyDesigner, Hood River reDesign

    Find Muse in Everyday Objects

    In my interior-decorating journey, I've discovered that inspiration often arises from the most unexpected sources. While many draw from conventional themes or styles, I find my muse in the vibrant hues of sunsets, the intricate patterns of peacock feathers, and the mystique of ancient Egypt. These seemingly disparate elements intertwine to create a tapestry of creativity that infuses my designs with a sense of adventure and whimsy. One particular source of inspiration that may surprise others is my fascination with hourglasses. These symbols of time's passage serve as a reminder to cherish each moment and embrace the beauty of fleeting experiences. Moreover, my love for carousels, gems, spices, pearls, hands, fountains, mirrors, fruit, and linen plays a pivotal role in shaping my design philosophy. These talismans of inspiration evoke feelings of joy, nostalgia, and wonder, infusing every space with a sense of playfulness and enchantment. By integrating these elements in unexpected and abstract ways, I aim to create interiors that captivate the imagination and evoke a sense of wonder in all who encounter them. Ultimately, I believe that interior design is about crafting immersive experiences that resonate on a deeper level. By infusing my designs with elements inspired by the beauty and symbolism of everyday objects, I strive to create spaces that not only delight the senses but also invite contemplation and play, enriching the lives of those who inhabit them.

    Caroline JewellInterior Designer, Hoefer Welker

    Nature-Inspired Textures and Finishes

    As the co-owner of Bonsai Builders, I've spent years combining functionality with aesthetic appeal in both residential and commercial construction projects. A uniquely unexpected source of inspiration for our interior decorating has been nature itself—specifically, incorporating natural textures and finishes into our designs.

    One prime example is the use of wood finishes, which have remained as popular in 2023 as they ever were. We've utilized natural wood cabinets, butcher-block countertops, and wood floors to add warmth and beauty to kitchens. This approach not only brings an earthy appeal into the space but also introduces a sense of coziness and comfort that's hard to replicate with synthetic materials.

    Additionally, the integration of plants in kitchen spaces, as both aesthetic and functional elements, has been a trend we've strongly embraced. From hanging plants adding a decorative flair to functional herb gardens, this incorporation of greenery not only injects life into the kitchen but also promotes a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. This inspiration from nature has proven to be a valuable asset in creating spaces that are not only visually stunning but also positively impact well-being and indoor air quality.

    Finally, experimenting with materials like concrete for countertops and floors has been an innovative way to bring natural textures into more industrial or modern designs. The versatility and unexpected elegance of concrete, especially when paired with softer natural elements like wood or natural fibers, create a contrast that elevates the design of any room.

    Incorporating these elements into our projects has underscored the principle that inspiration can come from the most basic and universal sources. It's a testament to how leveraging the inherent beauty and versatility of natural materials can transform spaces in uniquely appealing ways.

    Kristin Hintlian
    Kristin HintlianOwner, Bonsai Builders

    Translate Nature's Palette Indoors

    One unexpected source of inspiration for me is nature. Nature provides an endless array of colors, textures, patterns, and forms that can be translated into interior design. For example, the vibrant hues of a sunset could inspire a color palette for a living room, while the organic shapes of tree branches might influence the choice of accessories or even the design of a custom furniture piece. We often incorporate natural materials, such as wood and stone, into our designs to add warmth and authenticity to a space that is timeless.

    Barb Perez
    Barb PerezFounder and Lead Design Stylist, Wall to Wall Home Staging

    Capture Color Schemes from Daily Life

    Oftentimes, I see color pairings just out and about—a photo of a kite that's yellow, green, and blue; a red London mailbox juxtaposed with a woman in a bright pink coat; a picture of old New York with yellow cabs on a gray background—then I take these color schemes and use them for my projects. The result is always an original kitchen, an interesting look, a unique vibe that no one else has because it's not trend-driven, but inspired by the world at large.

    Rick Berres
    Rick BerresOwner, Honey-Doers