If a home decor refresh is on your list of resolutions for 2022, now is the time to start sourcing your inspiration and shaping your vision boards. While there are plenty of places to find amazing resources online (this very site included!), the internet can also be an overwhelming place.
In an effort to ignite our own creative sparks, we turned to some of our favorite designers to ask: Where do you look for decor inspo? While each and every designer we asked said Pinterest is their top pick when it comes to searching online, their other go-to tools, tips, and tricks just might surprise and inspire you, too.
Magazines, Old and New
If you’re concerned about your magazine-hoarding tendencies, Nicole Fisher of BNR Interiors says you can rest assured. “I keep a massive archive of old design magazines,” she says. “Every so often I flip through them and am reinspired from things in the past.”
“I still like magazines, too,” agrees Stephanie Purzycki, CEO and co-founder of design services company The Finish. “I tend to save a really good issue if it has a lot of photos and things that inspire me. I’ll save it in my little library to look back on later.”
While this one might be obvious, Purzycki says there’s nowhere quite like Instagram—especially with their added features that help organize any bookmarked images.
“Instagram can be really helpful for inspiration, especially now that they have the saved feature and you can create collections,” says Purzycki. “I like to create collections for different rooms in my house and for different styles that I’m starting to see pop up a little bit more—like paint colors, faucet styles, light fixtures, all sorts of things.”
Renee Turner of Renee Turner Interiors also loves Instagram, but she scrolls with a specific purpose. “I love to trawl through Instagram and find color palettes that work really beautifully together,” she says. “I am always on the lookout for that something-different to push the boundaries—a color combination that perhaps I haven’t seen before or a clever use of space with pieces that are not bespoke.”
Anna Franklin from Stone House Collective says that one of her favorite things to browse is vintage books. “I have an early American book I bought at a resale shop years ago that I love and reference often!” she tells us. “I love finding old books like this to see how styles change and eventually come back around in new ways. Taking ideas out of a design book that inspire me and re-interpreting them for the modern home is a way I like to set myself and work apart.”
Fisher says that, old or new, design books can be invaluable. “One of my favorite books to revisit time after time is A Place to Call Home: Tradition, Style, and Memory in the New American House by Gil Schafer III [with photographs by Eric Piasecki],” she says. “An incredible architect and visionary compiled beautiful projects with great stories behind them. I love finding new things every time I open it up.”
“Athena Calderone‘s coffee table book is my favorite right now. Every page is more stunning than the last,” adds Purzycki.
Turner also has a list of go-to books she suggests. “My favorite design books are: The Little Book of Colour: How to Use the Psychology of Colour to Transform Your Life by Karen Haller—it is like a bible for interior designers when thinking about the colors you are going to introduce and where,” she says. “Domino’s Your Guide to a Stylish Home and Book of Decorating—these are good books to keep looking back on as it gives you ideas for layouts, styling your sofa, art placement, bed [placements], and a few checklists to ensure you have covered everything; and Mad About the House: 101 Interior Design Answers by Kate Watson-Smyth—it continues to be a book where I go to if I am stuck or need a bit of an idea. This is a really useful book.”
“Any Nancy Meyers movie is the ultimate inspiration,” says Fisher. “Every movie set is so thoroughly thought out and lived in. Meryl Streep’s kitchen in It’s Complicated is a favorite.”
“I LOVE Grand Designs, Your Home Made Perfect, and also Scotland’s Home of the Year on BBC,” says Turner. “There are some pretty iconic places on Selling Sunset on Netflix—[I] definitely aspire to create this. I love watching movies or series for the interior design inspiration. I loved Reese Witherspoon’s house in the show Big Little Lies.”
“I love Jean Stoffer’s new show, The Established Home,” says Franklin.
Personal Observations and Surroundings
“Walking on the streets of New York might not be quirky, but you’ll certainly see some quirky things!” says Fisher. “It’s a collection of individuals and places that you just don’t see anywhere else. From the people walking down the streets to the park to architecture to storefronts, there’s always something to see and to get inspired by.”
“I take a lot of pictures of interiors in grand homes, in beautiful restaurants and cafes on my travels, and [while] out for a walk!” agrees Turner.
“I also take inspiration from fashion, especially street style,” Franklin says. “Seeing how people play with colors, patterns and materials to mix and match to create their own unique style—and how it can relate to home.”
“The sky and the seasons provide a beautiful inspiration for how to mix colors,” says Turner. “I don’t think people give nature as much credit as it deserves!”
“I am endlessly inspired by colors found in nature, especially throughout the seasons and incorporating that into design,” Franklin says.
Fabric and Wallpaper Websites (Bonus Points If They Give Free Samples!)
“Fabric and wallpaper websites are a great place to browse for inspiration,” says Purzycki. “You can search patterns by color to see if there’s anything that catches your eye and that fits with the space that you’re decorating.”
“If I find something I like, I’ll often order a sample,” she adds. “Since they’re usually free, I’ll order five or six samples from a website just to get a better idea of what the patterns look like up close, and see how they look in the space I want to use them in.”
“I still really like shopping in retail stores as a way to find inspiration,” admits Purzycki. “It’s nice to see things up close and sometimes a different fabric or piece of art that you really like in person can spark an entire idea for a room. This was the idea we had in mind when we created our own retail store for The Finish. We wanted it to be a place where our clients could come to find inspiration for pulling together their space, whether it’s a small accessory, a throw pillow, or a piece of art.”
While shopping small is key, Purzycki still turns to the bigger shops when she’s sourcing inspo. “Larger retail stores often have visual merchandisers that do a really great job of pulling together looks and concepts, so that can be a great spot to go if you have no idea where to start,” she tells us.
Antique and Thrift Stores
“I really like antique and thrift stores,” says Purzycki. “A lot of times you’ll find really unique pieces that can be [that] one thing that you’re looking for to finish a space or something that completely makes you rethink what you were going to do in a room.”
Real Estate Listings
“I subscribe to real estate [sites] such as ESPC, Rightmove, [and] Zoopla, and look for homes that are over a certain budget. But the most inspiring is Christie’s Real Estate. Wow!” says Turner.
When it comes to organizing all of her inspiration, Turner offered a great tip. “Each month, I … find brands I haven’t come across and I put these into my Little Black Book [a spreadsheet], which is categorized by element type—such as sofas, beds, fabrics, decor, art, etc.,” she explains. “By having the website as a hyperlink, I am able to check out these brands to see what is inspiring or different. As a designer, I do often see the same old things popping up everywhere.”