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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

Finding Design Inspiration

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Some people wake up noticing shapes and colors. The form of a pillowcase resting against the bed, the taunting remnant of a forgotten spider web, it’s thread of gray holding gently onto the ceiling, and the love of a soft, crinkled face still beautiful in its sleep.

For some, life is almost a sensory overload; too much to appreciate, and not enough time – an endless array of tactile change that both delights and overwhelms. Yet we are all wired differently, and whether visual cues come to us naturally or not, I am also a firm believer in taking our inspiration from others.

If I don’t know how to do something, I ask, and if I’m not sure which road to take, I’ll turn on my GPS. Decorating is exactly the same. There is a wealth of information out there; thousands of moments of inspiration are given to us every single day….and most of it is free.

Here are some easy ways to find design inspiration (when it doesn’t seem to be finding you).

Magazines! I know it’s obvious, but their job is to show us beautiful things,  and tell us how to get them. Envy is the name of the game.Look at the color combinations they use,and read the interviews with designers. They are usually a confident bunch,

and because they are passionate about what they do,they are more than happy to share their secrets and ideas.

Photographs! Choose your favorite family photograph (this is one of mine)

 and start to really think about why you like it. 

Try to see it from an objective, creative perspective. Is it the lines of the lamp post, the black and white background, the blur of the snowflakes, the childish frog, or the green shade of the umbrella? 

Junk Mail!

Even if you never buy anything from them, take a look inside the cover.

Many furniture and accessory stores add to the temptation by photographing their items in a warm and cozy home setting. Remember when Rachel secretly bought the Apothecary table  from Pottery Barn? Then Phoebe wanted the matching lamp? It made us laugh, and while we don’t want our home looking exactly like a page from a catalog, it’s perfectly okay to borrow ideas from them. 

Your Closet!

With our clothes, we say more about ourselves than we realize.

Lay some of your favorite clothes out on the bed, and write down your first impression. Are they structured, colorful, loose, casual, similar, formal, interesting, boring? The odds are, how you dress is an indication of what you want to project, and how you like to live. Your home should also be a reflection of who you are, so ideally the two should blend.  


If I see someone wearing a coat or a lipstick that I really like, 

I compliment them. And, if we start chatting, I might ask where they got it from.

Same goes for a friend’s new coffee table, or the freshly painted color of a house down the street.  

Knock on the door, and ask. People are rarely offended by a compliment. 

For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to:

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