Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Amazon Rainforest. Guitars.

Have you ever been inexplicably inspired by something unusual?

When we’re looking for interior design inspiration, most of us look to Pinterest, home design blogs, or maybe even a Home & Garden magazine. Inspiration comes in many forms though. Today, I’ll show you 9 unusual places that might just unlock your inner design genius.

1. Your Favorite TV Show

Did you ever wish you could live in Monica’s apartment from Friends? The Dunphy house from Modern Family? Or even Downton Abbey itself?

downton abbey interior design

Image: homestilo

One great thing about TV shows is that they usually offer you the opportunity to look at a room from many different angles and really get a sense for the whole space. That makes it easier to closely examine the design and figure out which elements are inspiring you. If you were looking for an excuse to rewatch a few episodes of your favorite show, this is it!

2. Fashion

People often look to the fashion world for inspiration for their homes, usually by copying colors and fabrics. Sometimes that works, but the colors and textures that work well on clothing don’t always have the same effect in your kitchen.

My favorite way to draw inspiration from fashion is this:

  1. Pay attention to what you like and don’t like when it comes to personal style.
  2. Think about the “feeling” or overall aesthetic that appeals to you.
  3. Try to translate that feeling (rather than a bunch of specific elements) into your interior design plan.

Here’s an example.

fashion inspired nautical design

Photo: Třebíz

This photo clearly has a nautical theme, but it’s not just their clothing that gives that impression. It’s the backdrop, the way the photo was edited, and the way the models are standing. It feels fresh, cool, and light. You can bring the same feeling to your interior design plan without copying the exact elements from the photo.

3. Your Interests

It just makes sense to surround yourself with things you like. Are you a crazy sports fan? An avid reader? Don’t fight it!

Here are a few examples of people who used their interests as design inspiration:

Sports

living space trail blazers fans

Photo: Lincoln Barbour

Literature

Technology

Music

4. Home Staging Companies

Good home stagers are great interior designers, but staged homes have a reputation for looking “empty.” With not much furniture or decoration, they sometimes end up looking pretty minimal. Home stagers don’t want to overwhelm prospective buyers with too much stuff; they want to create a space where people can start envisioning their own design preferences and lifestyle. Is that the same thing you’re trying to do now? Think about it: If you’re feeling stuck, a minimally decorated space may be just the inspiration you need!

Some home stagers have figured out a way to create this effect without leaving rooms completely devoid of personality. Here are a few who I think do it well:

5. Movies, Photos, and Paintings from the Past

Johan Zacharias Blackstadius Interiör salong med läsande

Johan Zacharias Blackstadius, Interiör, salong med läsande flicka, 1850

Are you a bit of an old soul? Do you love watching classic old movies? Old paintings, movies, and photos are full of design gems.

I love the openness in the room above and the way those big windows let in the light. That’s an oil painting by Swedish artist Johan Zacharias Blackstadius in 1850!

breakfast at tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The movies Breakfast at Tiffany’s and North by Northwest are also known for their great interior sets.

A little digging on the Internet will uncover some great old interior design photos. Here are some places to start:

6. Your Friends’ Houses

If you have a friend or family member whose home you love, think about what it is you like about the space. What is resonating with you? How can you apply some of the same ideas to your own space?

Ask your friend about it too. What went into the design/remodel? Which elements came first in the process? Who did they go to for advice?

At the end of the day, your home is yours. It should reflect your lifestyle and design preferences, but it never hurts to get some sage advice from someone with great style!

7. Overseas

I recently wrote about design trends from around the world. Getting inspiration from another culture is a great way to add a new flavor to your space. It’s fun to bring in a little piece of another culture you love (or maybe a piece of your family’s heritage).

Check out these two examples:

Denmark

This mid-century modern kitchen is in Copenhagen, Denmark. Mid-century modern design harks back to the clean, simple, nature-inspired designs that were popular from the 1930s to mid-1960s.

Russia

This Moscow kitchen is extremely traditional (yet very cozy) with warm inviting colors. It also incorporates several industrial elements, such as the light over the table and the metal over the stove.

8. The Wild

It turns out Mother Nature can inspire some pretty amazing designs. If you’re an adventure seeker who loves the outdoors, bring the outside in! The colors, textures, and artwork you choose can help create the feeling of being in the wild.

For example, the Pacific Northwest offers some pretty spectacular inspiration…

 

Or you can get a little more exotic and create a Safari-inspired room (and make yourself feel like you’re actually in a tent!)…

 

Or you could pay homage to the Amazon Rainforest with cool greens and relaxing indoor plants…

 

Master Vanity rainforest green marble countertops

Master Vanity with Rainforest Green Marble Countertops, Photo by Shelley Sims/Thrive DesignSearch eclectic bathroom design ideas

9. The Mall

Believe it or not, your local shopping mall might just give you that creative spark you’ve been waiting for. Have a look at furniture stores, kiosks, and more. Anthropologie always has great displays:

Design Inspiration Can Come from Anywhere

Memories, dreams, restaurants, your favorite childhood spots: all these things can be sources of inspiration for your home. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

If you need help incorporating any of these ideas into your design — or you’re struggling to get inspired — Mosaik Design & Remodeling can help. Give me a call at (503) 726-2222 or contact us online to get started.