Design Lesson
Jan 26, 2010

9 ways to get home decor inspiration

By: Yuki Hayashi

9 ways to get home decor inspiration Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson
Jan 26, 2010

9 ways to get home decor inspiration

By: Yuki Hayashi
tom-ford-apartment.jpg
Shelter magazines (like Style At Home, naturellement!) are great when it comes to providing design inspiration. So is HGTV programming (like Samantha Pynn's Pure Design, also naturellement!). Trips to designer showrooms and home shows are also great ways to come up with new ideas for your home. Sometimes, however, you may be looking for something a bit less expected, a bit more individual, a bit more, well, you.

When looking to put your personal stamp on home improvement and home decorating projects for beds, baths and beyond, consider these 9 surprising style muses.

1 Fashion
Let your favourite fashion designers inspire more than just your wardrobe. Some runway maestros actually have their own home collections – and chances are if you love Calvin Klein's clean-lined, city-sleek prêt a porter collections, you'll also love his chic tableware – but that's not a prerequisite.

If Tom Ford's sexy take on masculine style appeals to you (that's his London apartment pictured above), why not channel that aesthetic in your bachelor master suite, with dark hues, a bit of shine or shimmer, and glamourous high-end ensuite fixings? mad-men.jpg
2 TV shows

As any TV junkie will attest, a super-stylish show can provide plenty of inspiring eye candy. Um, Mad Men, anyone? The mid-century cool of the Sterling Cooper office may have you dashing off to your local Herman Miller dealer in search of home office or living room must-haves.

Gossip Girl is as much a guilty pleasure for its Upper East Side luxury apartments and shabby-chic Brooklyn lofts, as its teen protagonists' money's-no-object wardrobes.

And finally, why tune into Tori and Dean if not to be wowed by their Hollywood Baroque aesthetic? It's a bit nutty at times (those balloon drapes!), but the kitchen rocks. And everyone knows that's the hub of any home –  La La land, or real world. somethings-gotta-give.jpg
3 Movie set design

Whether your taste is über-modern or of-the-past, movie sets offer grand inspiration. Check out Style At Home's picks for best big-screen inspiration.

But sometimes, it's not even a professionally finished interior that inspires. A beautiful blank slate may also give ideas you can translate into real life. That empty, neglected-but-stately beachside house that the main characters find themselves in at the end of this year's sleeper hit Away We Go? Watch the flick and just imagine what you could do with that space! chocolat-menier.jpg
4 Advertising

Reproductions of vintage European advertisements are a perennial fave among many homeowners. Their continued ubiquity attests to their accessible charm. If you find yourself smiling whenever you see a vintage Chocolat Menier or Martini & Rossi advert, why not design your kitchen in flea-market, bistro, or French café-style to complement the vintage-poster aesthetic you love so much?

Contemporary advertising is less likely to work as artwork. But many ads – especially those from decor and food magazines – can provide literal inspiration. By all means, tear out the best ads and add them to your inspiration board or scrapbook. nature.jpg
5 Nature

As our tech world becomes more and more disconnected from nature, many of us are looking for ways to incorporate soothing natural elements back into our lives. If you feel most at piece in the woods – or on the beach – incorporate that locale into your space. You can reproduce what you love best about the outdoors though colour palettes, patterns, textures, materials, lighting style, floor coverings and more.

If you're inspired by nature, it seems only fair to choose materials that are sustainable. Look for FSC-certified wood, recycled or reclaimed fibres and construction materials, no- or low-VOC paint, and organic fabrics. travel.jpg
6 Travel

Live to travel? Go through those vacation photos, postcards and travel books to see images of inspiring rooms, palettes and furniture designs. Even if you can't recreate your own Balinese dream house, you may find the cool white-and-wood, handcrafted aesthetic totally attainable for your master bath makeover. artwork.jpg
7 Artwork

It may sound like putting the cart before the horse, but you can design a room around its accessories – like, say, a beautiful work of art. This is particularly possible in a smaller space like a powder room or foyer.

If you have a favourite print or painting that's going to go in a specific place, why not plan the wall colour, flooring and other details to flatter its colour and style? A huge, graphic painting in the vestibule, for instance, will be showcased by solid walls in a complementary hue. Why make it compete with bold wallpaper, or an over-the-top, ornate floor runner? china-collection.jpg
8 A collection

As with art, it's possible to find room inspiration when you think of ways to display your favourite collections.

For example, if you love fine china and the time has come for a kitchen or dining room reno, you may want cabinetry that displays your favourite pieces rather than hiding them behind closed doors. And then if your collection is thus visible, what colours might you want to play off them on walls, furniture, kitchen countertops?

Or if you have a weakness for period floral paintings, they may dictate the design of your super-feminine, romantic guest bedroom, perhaps. Think: Pink walls, whitewashed flea market bedroom furniture, needlepoint area rug, etc. diana-krall.jpg
9 Music

Particularly as it pertains to teen bedrooms, or maybe even your own "I'm still young at heart!" rec room or personal (read: "unshared") home office, music may be another design inspiration.

Ask yourself:
What kind of music do I love most?
What bands or musicians could I listen to all day long?
What kind of room do I picture Diana Krall/Johnny Cash/Mozart/The Kings of Leon composing in?
How can that aesthetic be channeled into my space?


You may never really know what kind of space Diana Krall actually composes in, but the point is, if you love the idea of doing your own paperwork in a diva-riffic home office with glass desk, plush ecru carpet, maximalist floral wallpaper and gilt-filigreed lighting sconces, who cares: It works for you. Crank up your music and enjoy yourself!

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Design Lesson

9 ways to get home decor inspiration