How to Create Your Design Inspiration File

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How to Create Your Design Inspiration File

Years ago in Design College a Professor of mine assigned her students an interesting book “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.” This was about the time I was still going through cognitive rehabilitation and the book completely resonated with me. It is a fun little workbook on living a sweet joyful life through thinking, planning and problem-solving (hmmm, I think that is what interior designers do).

DaVinci carried a notebook with him at all times to jot down his ideas and observations. I too carry a notebook with me. Mine is a plain old school spiral notebook where I write down everything. This is mainly because I have to organize and catalog my thoughts. I wonder what DaVinci used for his notebook?

Why it is Important to Create Your Design Inspiration File

When you work with the team at KTJ Design Co., the first thing we ask you to do is complete a questionnaire. This appears to help us get to know you, and it is, but in actuality it is a way to help you organize your thoughts. Many of our clients comment that the Questionnaire in fact helps them pinpoint what they are trying to accomplish with their design.

The second thing we ask you to do is create a “Design Inspiration File.” Creating a design “stream-of-consciousness” file lets you to gain insight and understanding of your design dilemma (in a fun way). We ask you to find photos of interiors that you like, no matter if it is one element or the whole room. It may yield lots of nonsense and redundancy, but it will help you (and us) get closer to releasing the ideas in your head onto paper.

You could go ala 1989 and grab a bunch of magazines and rip out pages you like and store them in a manila folder (I have lots of manila folders and lots of magazines), or you could go digital. Whichever method you use (or a hybrid of both) your design file will save your favorite photos and products.

Tools to Create Your Design Inspiration File

Houzz is a tool to make what Houzz calls "Ideabooks." Most interior designers have Houzz accounts and upload all their best design projects. You can easily surf around the Houzz website and find inspirational ideas that appeal to you. You create an Ideabook and add these images to it (click here to learn how to do it). You can comment on what you like (or dislike) about the image and share it (with me, your spouse or BFF). I suggest you collect as many inspirations that you can, sort of a free flow brain dump. Then go back and narrow it down, until you have a curated collection of ideas.

Pinterest is another social network that we suggest for saving interior design ideas and images. In Pinterest you “Pin” images to boards you create (click here to learn how to use Pinterest). Boards are where you save and organize your Pins. You can browse Pinterest (with the nifty search bar) and pin images that inspire you. Also, most manufacturers have “Pin It” buttons on their website, making it easy for you to add to your boards. Think of it as a big cork board with lots of sticky notes.

You can also upload your own images, too. We suggest our clients create a “before” board and upload pictures of the rooms they are working on. This is an easy way to collect a historical record of progress on your project (and when you have completed your project go back to the before board and have lots of chuckles).

DaVinci wrote his notes backwards in his journals. His notebook had to be held up to a mirror to read. I don’t suggest you write backwards (unless you really want to), but getting started on your Design Inspiration File is a big first step. Maybe you aren’t ready to begin your project or hire an interior designer, the important thing is to get started, to do something.

If you are having trouble sorting all the ideas stuck in your head a Remodel Clarity Session is perfect for you. (go here to learn more)

La Dolce Vita

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