Design ideas that come from places other than Pinterest

Design ideas that come from places other than Pinterest

Sometimes it feels like design trends are determined by an algorithm. Lately, all the interior design photos that appear in my Instagram feed seem like variations on one theme. The more I hit “Like,” the less difference I see. Additionally, given the sheer number of designers and DIYers and the volume of social content they create, the minute something that seems fresh and original is posted, it becomes repetitive, overdone, and outdated—almost overnight.

Although I certainly draw inspiration from other people’s work, I’m always looking for ways to keep my own designs from feeling like more than there really is. This begs the question: Where should we look for design inspiration if we are in a design slump, or ready to do a renovation and want beauty and originality?

Betsy Cornelis

Here are some ideas that will get you thinking and looking outside the box, or rather, outside your feed.

  1. Traveling to… the library. You don’t have to travel abroad to get some global inspiration. Look at books about places you want to visit, and draw visual inspiration from their pages. Write about the images that attract you or spark your imagination. Look for the Design/Architecture section for books devoted more to interiors or buildings.
  2. Step back in time. I always find design inspiration in other people’s old things. Head to an antique store and notice the fine craftsmanship of an antique table or the classic shade of colorful glassware. Choose something vintage to instantly add character and a sense of history to a new build or modern furniture set.
  3. Participate in an art show. Attend your city’s monthly art walk or visit one of the local art museums. What pieces speak to you? Why? Is it a combination of colors and textures? Use what you like about these pieces to choose your new wall color or purchase pillows in the same colors to liven up your neutral sofa. It may be the artist’s depiction of a cozy domestic scene or a vibrant landscape. Think about how you can add these qualities to your home, or splurge and purchase the piece to anchor a gallery wall at home.
  4. Head to the bookstore. I love looking at art, architecture and interior design magazines, but I can’t subscribe to all of them. Head to the library, get a coffee, grab a stack of books and sit in a comfy chair. Choose posts you might not normally think of and be surprised. Go through the things you like, take pictures of them, and then put them back on the shelf. I’ll do this and later find myself flipping through those images when I need inspiration or a starting point for a new design.
  5. Get to know the hotel… You don’t even have to check in. You could just visit an inspiring boutique hotel and take some time to absorb the decor in the lobby or the ambiance of the restaurant. Does it feel luxurious and well designed? Is the lighting comfortable and moody? Do you like the wallpaper pattern in the luxury bathroom? With purpose and intention, you can incorporate design elements like these into your space.

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