Interior design, like any other kind of art, often happens in waves. These trends all tend to be similar to one another because many artists and designers pull inspiration from their peers. This has been going on since before civilization knew what “art” was, and so it’s truly just another part of the design process: learning to pull inspiration from what’s interesting, creative or unique, while still adding a degree of inventiveness to make it your own.
When interior designers are looking for inspiration, they turn to many different sources. They look to one another, they look to vintage materials, they look to old trends, and they look to international design. At the same time, some more cutting-edge designers will look toward other forms of art, such as fashion, or technological and commercial design. Some even look to nature to put together color schemes, patterns, and other ideas. All in all, professional designers look to a myriad of different sources to get their great ideas, but at the root of it all is their ability to piece it all together, and make it look cohesive.
If you are looking to design a home, or you’re just interested in where interior designers pull their inspiration from, here is a debriefer on exactly how they come up with such beautiful spaces, and where you could look to piece together inspiration of your own.
Where Do Interior Designers Traditionally Pull Inspiration From?
Other home designers
In any artistic field, the most common way to gain new ideas is by looking at what those in your field are doing. In this case, interior designers may look to others who have just completed renovations, or have shared images of their work online, if not take a tour of their peer’s work to understand just what they are doing, and why.
For many designers, inspiration begins with one piece, one color, or even one material. From there, the entire room or home is built around the accent. Something you probably know about trends is that they are cyclical. They tend to repeat themselves in similar ways throughout the decades (this is why you should hold onto your old clothes, they’ll be back in style one day). Designers may be inspired by a certain material used on a piece of furniture, or in linens, and decide to build a look around that.
Another big source of inspiration for designers is to look at old homes as a whole. What was the layout, the overall styling, functionality, and feel? Another very popular approach to home decor is to take a “look” from the past and reinvent it with new colors or materials to make it more modern and fresh.
Homes from other countries
Given that other countries around the world have very different cultures and therefore, design tastes, many designers will take inspiration from their travels. Some great examples are Moroccan rugs or French-style glamorous but minimalistic flats. Big cities like London are often cited for being a source of inspiration to designers, but other countries, such as the Asias, can be as well.
Unique Places Designers Are Finding Inspiration In 2019
Could what you wear on your body inspire what you put into your home? Smashing Magazine reports that it’s a common resource. “The world of fashion has a long and varied artistic history. Trends change on a seasonal basis and often reflect the overall sentiment of culture at any given time,” they explained.
“For example, in times of war or turmoil, feminine designs tend to become more popular to counterbalance all the perceived negativity. When there’s international financial trouble, designs tend to be less over-the-top and many designers focus on more realistic designs. By contrast, in economic boom times, designs tend to be very avant-garde and are more art pieces than functional clothing.”
Of course, it doesn’t take much observation of a number of different trends to recognize that they were in some way inspired by the ultimate design, which is nature itself.
“It’s probably difficult to imagine someone coming up with a design by just looking at a sunset or a tree line, but nature is a great source of inspiration nonetheless,” FashionGoneRogue.com explained. “Particularly, it gives a wide choice of colors in combinations you could have never imagined. Designers would be crazy not to use it – and so they are using it heavily.”
Though technology is so deeply embedded into the fabric of our modern lives (pun certainly intended) it has always had a huge role in interior design. In fact, a lot of design revolves around the implementation of different household technologies, and as 99percentinvisible.org explained, interior decorating has both been inspired by that and rebelled against it.
“Interior decorating was itself a product of technological advancement, and throughout its history has always been swayed by it,” they explained. “Like a pendulum swinging between extremes, interior design has tended to either embrace new technology or react against it from one period to the next. Every decorating trend of the 20th and 21st century can be understood in terms of these categories: technocentrism (embracing new technology), infusion (integrating new and old, reviving the past), and reaction (reacting against technology.)”
Today, products like Tesla automobiles or consumer products like the Nest certainly add another layer of high-efficiency technology to build around.
When industrial offices became chic, elements of them began to appear in the home as well. The same goes for eco-design, where more consumers became interested in the history and sustainability of the products in their space, choosing organic linens over processed-cottons, or recycled woods over new options.
In fact, many homeowners try to model their space after a hotel room, whereas it used to be the other way around. “At first, hotels tried to resemble homes to make the spaces more familiar and inviting to guests, ”Svetlana Muzaleva, a principal designer at Next Design Studio in Santa Monica, California, told NewHomeSource.com. “Now, with more boutique hotels popping up, more main hotel brands opening their own boutique sub-brands, boutique hotels are getting enormous exposure on social media.”
Making It Work For You
The most important aspect of designing your home is ensuring that whatever you do, it is a reflection of your tastes, preferences, and experiences.
When putting a space together, try to think out of the box. Instead of just doing what you see styled in a catalog, consider playing with the stories of your own life, drawing ideas from places you’ve traveled, restaurants you've visited, hotels you enjoy, or elements of other homes that appeal to you.
Another great way to ensure that your style is cohesive is by following the designer trick of choosing one motif, pattern, material or color — whatever it was inspired by — and then piecing the rest of the space around it. It’s more difficult to imagine a finished space than it is to coordinate everything around one statement piece. This is a really easy way to ensure that your design is unique, but that it still goes together.
To start getting inspired, remember to take photos whenever something inspires you, and start to piece together your own mood board. Websites such as Pinterest are also great for this if you aren’t much of a photographer. No matter what you do, or where you source your inspiration, remember that the home style that is right for you is the one that makes you feel best when you’re in it, no matter what the trends may be.