How to find Interiors Inspiration and channel it

Inspiration can elude you just when you need it, particularly after months of exhausting building work during which you’ve pretty much lost the will to live.

You start out with a clear idea of how you would like your home to look, how you would like your home to feel (just like that picture in a magazine you saw) but the grim reality of a muddy building site is guaranteed to send those images back into the realm of ‘unobtainable’.

Stalling for time whilst you put together paint colours for the decorator or, before this, bathroom item final choices for the plumber and tiler, delays your build and costs money.

So, when you are stuck for inspiration what do you do to kickstart it again so that you don’t keep the builders waiting?

Here is a helpful how-to-find-it-again guide and, more importantly, how to channel it:

Focus – Write a list of what you need so that you can target your inspiration search.This will focus your mind and stop it flying about aimlessly when you have too many things to think about.


Imagine – In a word ‘Pinterest‘. This is a great place to start and to find inspiration. Set yourself up with an account and target images for each board (for eg. kitchen). Then look at your boards and ditch any maybes, just sticking with definites. 

Analyse why you like these particular images. 
For each room board also pin photographs of your actual room. Even in its unfinished state you will begin to imagine it as finished amongst all the other finished room images. 
  • Search – Flip through magazines, anything and everything, to find home images you like or even pictures of things you like. Why do you like them? Why do they make you smile? Draw out items, colours and ideas from them –  could they be used in your home?
  • The ‘Look’ – Remind yourself of how you want your home to look and your likes and dislikes – colours, textures, patterns. Classic, contemporary, timeless. Do you want your home to be cosy, light-filled? Then choose things that fit in with this.
  • The ‘Feel’ – How do you want to feel when you’re in your home? Snug, on trend, exciting, relaxing? Again, choose things that fit in with this feeling. Neutrals for calm. Splashes of colour for excitement.
Emma Painter Interiors
  • Be practical – If you are choosing floor tiles for a bathroom then make sure you only look at bathroom floor tiles. ie. choose something ‘fit for purpose’ – a slippery floor in a bathroom is not a good idea.
Mosaic del Sur
  • Other homes – Think about people you know and the homes they live in. What do you (or don’t you) like about their kitchen tiles for instance? Thinking in this way can channel your thoughts in the right direction.
Chelsea Design Harbour
  • Out and about – Visit shows (Grand DesignsThe Ideal Home ShowLondon Design Week etc.) and showrooms – nothing beats actually spending a day looking  up close and touching tiles, finishes and fabrics; seeing room sets; getting ideas. 
    Re-spark your interest. 
    If you are able (depending on work commitments) aim for a weekday if you can to avoid the crowds. If not, allow for regular coffee breaks to assess and prevent inspiration overload. 
    Ask if you can take photos of things you like and then when you are home compile a page of things you like to help guide your choices. 

If you are really time-short, take a list of requirements and measurements with you so that you don’t get distracted. 
For example – I need a neutral wall tile for the utility room. 
Stick to it.

  • Putting it together – lay out any images, samples and items you love at home (even a mug or cushion) and ask yourself if they work together…or not? Do they achieve the look you want…or not?
  • Say yes – If you are offered help then take it. Have a decisive friend who knows you well? Then take them shopping with you. Don’t be afraid to ask where something is from if you like it.
  • Time out – If you can, take a break. Keeping at something when you’re just exhausted or not feeling it can be counter-productive. Deliberately hide samples etc. and forget about it all for a day. You will come back refreshed.

First Aid – If you are really struggling and don’t have time, call in the experts. 
The money you pay for them to take the strain will be well worth it.

  • And finally – Remember that inspiration can come from anywhere. 
  • A day out, a film, a dress fabric, a notebook cover, wrapping paper……
  • Keep your eyes open and file images so that you can channel them for inspiration as required.