When It Comes to Decorating Your Home, Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?

Updated on July 02, 2011
K.. asks from Phoenix, AZ
17 answers

I am finally able to decorate my home the way I want to... the problem is that I'm not exactly sure what I want to do, or where to begin.

Where do you ladies look for inspiration?

And where do you shop to bring it all to life?

I am not naturally good at this type of thing, so I need some help in getting started.


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

Look at magazines first! Buy 5 mags, and tear out everything you like. Then look at them all, and you will see a pattern.

When you are first decorating, you will make many mistakes. So it is really best to copy (to an extent), something you see that you love.

My fav. is Elle Decor, followed by House Beautiful. Don't get Arch. Digest -- that's only a digest of the obscenely rich, and not real world at all.

More Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

Start with books and magazines. Start collecting images of things that you really love and see if you can find a common thread; do you lean modern, traditional, transitional?, Do you love muted colors, bright color., high contrast, low contrast? minimilistic or highly accessorized ?. Then see if you can't nail down a concept (which is much like theme but not so literal). For example right now I'm doing our Master bedroom and my concept is the marriage of masculine and feminine. Then come up with a color idea. Use paint chips to represent the colors you want to introduce. Not that you will apply them all as paint, I used an orange paint chip to represent my accessories. I just wanted to have the color idea in a physical form so I can look at it and analize it. With your concept established, start collecting images of actual items, paint, furniture, fabric, art, accessories, lighting. Don't commit, don't purchse anything!!!!!!!!! Put all these things in a binder, or on a collage board and dream, think, reasearch, budget. You may find somthing that you fall so in love with that it make you want to change your whole concept, and by all means, you should. Keep it loose in the begining. Develop multiple concepts and clolor ideas if you want before you hone in on one. The worst thing you can do is go and invest a lot of money is something before you've determined the whole space. Because then you are commited and you may find you wish you had gone another direction. I am a degreed interior designer and the saddest thing I encountered was when people went out and bought furniture with out really thinking it through. Often commiting to colors, and styles they didn't end up loving or even worse, a collection of furniture that looked great in the showroom, but didn't fit at all in thier space. Furniture stores have terrible return policies. The main thing is, find your style, commit to a concept, shop (but don't purchse). Get tear sheets for furniture, take pictures, photocopy books, and print from the computer, gather swatchs and paint chips. Put it all together tweak here, tweak there, budget the items you want, and when you are certain you love what you have collected, then execute: purchase, paint, intall. Very few people can design as they go and end up with something fabulous or without regrets. Most people who design as they go end up with somthing we like to call "hodge podge". When I did restaurant design, we had the art selected and placed on the walls in our documentation before foundations were poured. After all, how do you know where to put the lighting if you don't know where the art is going? My point is, think through as many details as possible before you commit or you will find yourself wishing you'd done this or that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I love to hit open houses on the weekend . . . especially new construction. Many times they pay designers to "stage" homes and you can get some great ideas.

Take pictures of looks that you like and perhaps talk to a designer. Though they seem expensive at first they can actually save you alot of time and money.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I look at the way my family dresses. We tend to dress comfy/cozy but when we go out we impress and add a rocker flare! So, our living room is comfy - warm browns/creams with punches of deep burgandy and greens. Lots of candles, family photos, pillows and blankets all around the room with our love sack and oversized couches for comfort. Our bedroom has the rocker edge, blacks, reds, grey hard metal accents in the room including a bass that we covered in leather together hung on the wall Oh and mirrors with candles. Our son's room has him all over it, lots of shelves that are nonsensical bright colors and tons of storage for toys. I like to look at how we dress because it says a lot about how you like to live. If you are always polished, keep it simple. If you are dramatic then go with the textures, bright colors etc. Hope this helps you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Decorating magazines, websites, strores, etc. My BF is also an interior decorator and I am a wannabee. I also will find something I really love (painting/art/fabric) and work the room around it. For accessories I shop at places like TJ Maxx, Pottery Barn, Hobby Lobby, Pier One Imports, Arhaus Furniture, and Big Lots! Crazy combo, eh? Go to stores that have a style you like, and copy them for cheaper. Also, interior design help is not as expensive as you think, as they often get stuff at great discounts and they pay for them selves. They can put together a cohesive design in the budget you provide.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


HELP ME!!!! We've lived in the same house for 15 years and most of our walls are STILL WHITE!!!

i see things in books and watch the HGTV shows...I get inspiration but then can't get hubby on board!!! :) So it comes down to us hiring some professionals to paint (i'm getting quotes!!!) and getting it done!! Its about time right?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm a closet interior decorator :) If I were to choose my profession all over again, that would be the line of work I would choose. Here is a really cool and fun book that shows you how to take your personal fashion style and translate that into home decor. It's one of my favorites:

The Well Dressed Home

I also appreciate eclectic design; I'm not into matchy-matchy (buying a suite of furniture, etc. from one store) as I think it dates your interior eventually ... but it's also quite boring and uninspired, IMO. Therefore, I would never buy an entire living room's worth of furniture from say, PotteryBarn. Along the lines of eclectic design, one of my favorite shelter mags was Domino, until Conde Nast pulled the plug on it when the recession hit. Domino also put out a really fun book, as well and it's also one of my favs. Not for everyone (unless you're a lover of Anthropologie fashion), but it's also been well-read by me:

Another great thing to remember is that the best home interiors look like they've evolved over time, instead of being bought in a flurried weekend shopping trip. Add something, let it marinate for a bit. I've found that when I'm impatient and go out and buy lots of stuff all at once just to fill the space and be done w/ it, months later I want to tweak it w/ other things that I've found. Waste of money. And do you have flea markets in your area? I live for flea markets because the items are so varied, with histories, patinas, etc. and again, avoid that matchy-matchy look.

P.S. I keep a huge notebook of things I've ripped out of catalogs and shelter mags. Gives me inspiration and I love thumbing through it every now and then. When I'm about to re-do a room, I print out in color the items I'm thinking about putting together and I create a story board w/ all of the pics on there. Helps me visualize how it will all look together :)

Good luck and have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I look to magazines. When I decorated my master bedroom in my old house I had found a picture in Do It Yourself magazine and thought it was great. I ripped the page out and took it with me when I went shopping. I was even able to find the exact same material that was used in the photo! I was so proud of that room when I finished it.
Now that we have bought a bigger house I'm so excited to get started....but we have no money. The new house is a large fixer upper that needed ALOT of repairs, so asthetics is last on our list. I have subscriptions to some of my favorite magazines like Better Home and Gardens and few others. When I see something I like, I just tear out the page. I have a little file with tabs for each room that I keep my little snips of inspiration. So when we finally get the money to decorate I can just go to my files :)



answers from Dallas on

HGTV.com and the shows. Their website has a ton of pictures and tips.



answers from Pittsburgh on

For wall colors I choose what goes with the floors, furniture etc.
If it's a specific room, there are mags like "baths" "kitchens" etc that can be a great jumping off point..
Walk through the home improvement stores for ideas. things you like....

Otherwise, I pretty much aspire to have that concrete house on the commercial for Terminex (I think) with a drain in the center of every room so I can hose it down! haha

Start with O. room and do O. room at a time!


answers from Eugene on

Decide first on using your favorite colors. Then you have to know what kinds of furniture you like. I love antiques which was great for me since people were into modern looks at the time and practically threw them out. I bought them cheaply. I frequented house sales and put the house together piece by piece.
It doesn't all "go" together but it is a nice blend.
I always painted my kitchen blue since I discovered I was a nervous cook. I no longer am so the yellows and whites shine in my 15 x 15 foot kitchen.
Know yourself. I need a kitchen door not to have the kitchen as part of the living room. You may be very comfortable having the children where you can see them.
I put up barriers so that the rooms were separate.
I need a fireplace so I bought a free standing one and had it installed to code.
Figure out what your needs are. Do you like lace curtains or sheer ones that let in light but afford you privacy during daylight hours. Do you want curtains or drapes that close at night. Do you prefer blinds.
Go online and look at what is being shown. Never settle for what's being shown. Friends of mine who had little money bought a very dramatic sofa and an oriental rug. That was their living room on two continents until they decided they could afford more furniture.


answers from Houston on

I read a lot of decorating blogs. apartment therapy, decor8, sfgirlbybay, as well as follow wahts going on in the fashion/diy world with urban outfitters and anthropologie.

A lot of things I go for are vintage inspired, mid century modern... with almost a shabby chic/ eclectic modern and natural history aesthetic.

I have an interior design section on my blog that I catalog a lot of my favorite inspirations:



answers from Chicago on

Potterybarn catalogs!
Resoration Hardware is good too.

When I shop, I tend to find the "look" that I like in PB, then I go to Michael's and buy the stuff (knick knacks, frames, flowers, candles, vases, etc...) for 1/2 the price. :)
I usually have a good picture in my head of the style I like. I'll spend 2 hrs in the store actually putting things together to see how it looks.

So I actually make a date of it when it's time to refresh a room. I have huge storage bins of all of the stuff I've bought over the years, so I can rotate and choose new looks from there.

But always, PB is my inspiration. I love their clean lines.


answers from Houston on

I decorate very eclectic , old mixed with new. I love the appeal of strudy old well kept wood furniture with new modern couches/linens/pillows etc...

Most of the things that hang on my wall i painted or put together, or they are antique.

I like to do a lot of shopping at ross though, you can find really cute designer stuff at dollar store prices, you just have to be a hunter.



answers from Phoenix on

I bought a rug with colors in it I liked. Then I used those colors for walls and fabrics and paintings or prints. You can do it a little at a time, but eventually it will all come together. You can also mix patterns on furniture if you tie it into the rug palate. For instance, if there is a forest green color in the rug, you can use patterns with forest green in them for chairs or a couch, even if the pattern has other colors.



answers from Honolulu on

I just go by my personal style and taste.


answers from Washington DC on

If I could afford to buy all new furniture, I would go to antique stores. I LOVE antiques. They are just so unique and beautiful. Right now, my house has blueish grey walls and we have a brown couch, a floral rug with brown, blue and greens on it. We have a cherry wood dining table, a cherry wood TV stand, and an old upright piano (that I use ALL the time and LOVE, and I think it's a walnut color wood - it was given to us from a friend who didn't want it anymore). But if I could re decorate, I think I would keep the wall color and just to antique everything. I wouldn't want anything to match perfect, but it would still all come together

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions