While we’re as big of fans as any of social media platforms that provide ready-made inspiration, it has made the process of coming up with something original and unique all the more difficult. Once you take a look through enough Pinterest, Instagram or Weheartit posts, it becomes nearly impossible to decide what’s yours and what’s something you’re “inspired” by. A good way to avoid this trap is to lean into some fundamentals of design, learning what materials go with what, what colors complement and what clashes and also look outside the world of interior design into what creative people are doing in other industries. So whether you’re moving into a new house or think your apartment could use a new look, give this approach a try and see what happens. You might just provide others with some “inspo” of their own.
Who doesn’t love to sit back and watch people work their magic? The latest series from Netflix is “Abstract” that runs the gauntlet of design from shoes to cars to interior design and they are all equally fascinating. I’m partial to the architecture episode featuring Bjarke Ingels and interior design with a look at the incomparable Ilse Crawford. A common theme is the use of a design that isn’t just visual but makes the user feel good. Also worth checking out is Eames: The Architect and the Painter, that gives a great look at the legendary Ray and Charles Eames. The fact that it is narrated by James Franco is at first concerning but it really works and makes it all the better.
2. Take a class
Design is one of those things in life, like cooking or apologizing, that looks easy but most definitely is not. While it comes naturally to some, the fact that you’re reading this probably means you’re part of the 99% of us who could afford to learn a few things. A quick google search will show courses in your area or you can try what I did recently and sign up for a Masterclass with Frank Gehry teaching design and architecture. While I was skeptical due to the sheer amount of advertising surrounding this website, it’s actually super well done and is really insightful to how this legend approaches design and hearing his war stories from the design world. As an added plus, you can learn to act with Kevin Spacey or play tennis with Serena Williams on the same site. You’ll be unstoppable!
3. Get out into nature
This seems to be my go-to advice for a lot of things in life but I stand behind it! While I’ve never had that movie moment of seeing the perfect shade of red in a tree or being truly inspired by white caps on a lake, it will clear your head and allow the ideas to flow.
For our younger readers, a book is like an iPad that isn’t connected to the wifi and has no games. This may not be as horrible as it sounds and you forget how much dedication and expertise it takes to write an entire book rather than a blog post that tries to summarize it in one sentence….. For some basics, the aptly named Love Your Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Interior Design by Lucy Smith is a great introduction that will guide you with baby steps. Stepping up, try Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy by Deborah Needleman which focuses on connecting you to your home through well thought out designs. Much like the aforementioned Ilse Crawford, this book focuses not just on how a space looks but how it makes you feel.
Again, a frequently used solution to most problems in life but still valid in the same way. There are just things you see in other countries that you just have to incorporate into your own life. For instance, the first time I went to Austria, the hotels had a big double bed with separate smaller duvets which seems an ultra simple solution to the blanket debate it seems like all couples have that doesn’t involve some industrial sized clamp. As soon as I got home I got twin-sized duvets and never looked back. Speaking of looking back, I soon noticed on the train that even teenagers (who by all means should be irresponsible), always check their seat when leaving to make sure they have everything. Oh, the number of sweaters and pencil cases I’d still have! Anyway, in terms of design, it’s amazing to see what’s common in one country is unique in another. For instance, the use of tile in Morocco and concrete in Scandinavia have completely changed my mind on using these materials that I thought too cold and hard to be practical.
Images via: Studio Ilse | Netflix | Masterclass | Blackthumb Decor | Pinterest