Tag Archives: design trends

9 Unusual Sources of Design Inspiration

fashion inspired nautical design

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.

10 Interior Design Trends That Will Stand the Test of Time

indoor plants

If you’ve ever flipped through a design magazine from the 1970s, you know how dated certain design trends can become.

We may not love them now, but shag carpet and mustard yellow walls were once the hottest trends. Will the same thing happen to today’s trends? Is there a way to know what has staying power? Can you design a room that looks great now, tomorrow, and in 20 years?

I’ll answer those questions and more in this post. We’ll look at the top 10 design trends that will stand the test of time, but first, let’s go over three important characteristics of any truly timeless design.

Characteristics of Timeless Spaces

1956 home wallpaper 1956 living room

Photos: Bill Bradford, Bill Bradford

Both these living rooms were featured in Better Homes & Gardens in 1956. You’d probably guess they were both designed in the 50s, but one feels much more pleasant and liveable today than the other.

Let’s see why that is…

Timeless designs aren’t based on passing fads. Design trends that truly stand the test of time are simple, functional, and in balance with their environment.

Simple

Think quality, not quantity. You’ll notice that the most timeless designs from past decades aren’t cluttered or over the top. They’re simple and straightforward with just one or two main focal points in the room.

Functional

A timeless home is one that someone could live comfortably in now, 50 years ago, or 50 years in the future. Of course, function can change over time (imagine living without a microwave!) but you want a home that’s mean to actually be lived in, no matter what decade you’re in.

Balanced with the Environment

In a timeless design, everything is in proportion. For example, a giant, puffy sofa in a tiny room just doesn’t look balanced. Similarly, ultra-modern Scandinavian furniture may not feel right in an old-fashioned Victorian style home.

Think about fashion: Oversized or tight fitting clothing may be in style for a few years, but clothing that fits right and feels comfortable always looks good.

10 Design Trends that Stand the Test of Time

Now that you know how to go about designing spaces that stand the test of time, let’s look at a few of the building blocks you can use to put it all together.

Keep in mind: There are endless ways to create a timeless design, but if you’re not sure where to start, these 10 ideas will help.

1. A Classic Color Scheme

mediterranean timeless home

The safest way to ensure your colors won’t look dated in a few years is to choose neutrals like beige, off-whites, and grays. Those colors have been in style for hundreds of years and they most likely will be for hundreds more!

Timeless doesn’t have to mean boring, though. Why not throw in an accent color or two? Navy blue and dark green are two timeless colors that look great with neutrals. Or you may want to get creative and throw in a brighter color. When incorporated tastefully, even the boldest colors can be timeless.

2. A Single Focal Point

mid-century modern kitchen focal point

Those three timeless characteristics (simple, functional, and balanced) can be hard to achieve in practice. An inside designer secret is to choose a single focal point for the room (or two if it’s a bigger room).

A focal point can be almost anything, including:

  • A piece of furniture
  • An architectural detail
  • A beautiful view
  • A favorite piece of art

It may also depend on the room. In the living room the focal point might be a fireplace, a coffee table centerpiece, or patterned throw pillows. In the kitchen it might be a bold backsplash or a colorful appliance.

3. Your Favorite Art

wall art home

A piece of art can really help set the tone of a room. Contemporary art can bring an old-fashioned room into the 21st Century. A classic painting or sculpture can add some old world class to a more modern design, like in the room above.

Art is easy to change out. Even if your furniture or paint colors get a little outdated, you can always update your art!

Plus, there’s nothing more timeless than a beautiful piece that you know you’ll continue to love for years to come.

4. Indoor Plants

indoor plants

People don’t always think about plants, but they are one of the most timeless elements you can add to a room. Plants are refreshing, uplifting, and can even purify the air!

Plus, some plants are surprisingly resilient and don’t require much maintenance. Check out this list of house plants that won’t die on you from Today.com.

5. Good Lighting

good lighting living room

Good lighting is always in style. I love the effect of natural light, so I take advantage of windows and skylights whenever I can.

That’s not an option for every room, though. Luckily, light colored walls and ceilings help too, and the right ceiling light can make all the difference.

Tip: Paint your ceiling the same color or a 50% lighter version of your wall color. This eliminates the harsh line from wall color to white and give a feeling of height and expansiveness to any room.

6. Marble

marble kitchen countertops

Trying to choose a kitchen countertop or bathroom tile that won’t go out of style?

Marble is always classic. Elegant, smooth, and cool to the touch, marble is a natural stone that’s lifted from the Earth in whole slabs. It’s a natural and authentic material that’s always both traditional and stylish.

7. Crown Molding

crown molding timeless home

Crown molding is usually applied along the corner where walls and ceiling meet. If it fits your home’s style, it’s a great way to add character and smooth the transition from wall to ceiling.

Crown molding is a common feature in traditional homes. You’ll find it in almost any Victorian-style home, but designers and architects have been using crown molding since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It hasn’t lost its popularity since.

8. Soaking Tubs

soaking tub

There’s nothing more timeless than a luxurious, relaxing bath at the end of the day. Soaking tubs have been around forever and they’re still available today in a variety of sizes and styles.

Maybe you’ll get yourself a traditional freestanding claw-foot tub, or maybe you’ll opt for a big spa bathtub that’s built into the wall.

9. Natural Materials

natural hardwood floors stone

We’ve already talked about marble, but there are plenty of other natural materials that can help your home feel timeless and authentic.

A few examples are:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Natural fibers like cotton for window curtains, cushions, and more
  • A stone fireplace
  • Brick walls or backsplash material

10. Vintage Meets Contemporary

vintage furniture

Fads come and go, which is why committing wholeheartedly to one trend may not be your best bet. Incorporating a mix of vintage and contemporary pieces is a great way to add some variety and keep from looking dated.

Just remember to keep everything in balance with the environment and you’re sure to end up with a beautiful, textured, and dynamic space.

Putting it All Together

Let’s look at another example. This photo is from a home design magazine in the 70s (which is why the photo quality isn’t as good).

timeless 70s home
Photo: army.arch *Adam*

The room is simple, functional, and well balanced with its environment. Even though it’s over 40 years old, it incorporates nearly every every element we’ve talked about in this post.

  • A simple, neutral color scheme
  • A focal point (the view out the big glass doors)
  • Indoor plants
  • Great natural lighting
  • Natural materials, like wood and brick
  • A combination of old fashioned brick and “contemporary” 70s furniture

This space still looks like fresh, beautiful, and livable, because the designer stuck to classic trends and avoided many of the passing fads we all associate with the 70s.

My Final Piece of Advice

Remember to have fun with your home’s design. The most important piece of advice I can give you is this: The design that will truly stand the test of time is the one that fits your lifestyle and that you’ll still be happy with 10 or even 20 years down the road.

Is there a color or a piece of furniture you just love, even though it’s not the least bit timeless? I can help you figure out how to incorporate it into your home in a way that won’t look dated later.

 

How to Decorate Around Windows

big-window-sills-kitchen

Windows let in light and can open up any room. They come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no one-size-fits-all hack for decorating around windows. The right decor and treatments for your windows depends on their size, shape, and location, as well as your own personal style preferences, of course!

Let’s take a look at a few of the most difficult types of windows to decorate around and my favorite solutions for each.

mid-century-kitchen

Full Wall Windows: Focus on the Outside

A full wall of windows lends itself very well to a minimalist aesthetic. I recommend letting the beauty outside be your decoration. If the window wall overlooks your front or back yard, invest some time into landscaping.

The possibilities are endless. You might use potted plants, hanging lights, gravel, or a bird bath. You might even go all out and create your own Japanese rock garden to gaze at through the window when you need some zen.

If the inside just feels too bare without a little decoration, try setting a tall vase or two on the floor or placing a few potted plants indoors.

mediterranean living room

Tall Windows: Choose Tall Curtains

Tall windows that go to the floor (or almost) are often accompanied high ceilings — a beautiful feature that can present some interior design challenges.

In most spaces, tall windows are best showcased with long to-the-floor curtains. They create a sense of balance and elegance. With this window type, it’s OK if the curtains extend below the base of the window. If your windows are rounded on top (like these) you might consider hanging your curtains a little bit below the top of the window.

And, of course, curtains aren’t your only option. You might opt for tall shutters like these, or no window treatment at all if privacy isn’t a concern.

high-up-windows-home-office

High up Windows: Fill the Space with What you Love

What are you supposed to do with all that space under small windows that are high up off the floor?

I like the idea of filling the space with:

  • One piece of furniture (often a table or desk)
  • One art display

Here’s where you can really get creative! Showcase your favorite painting or hang some family photos — whatever you like! You could even create your own travel-themed gallery wall to showcase your family’s adventures.

If you need some advice for beautifully incorporating art into your home or places to find great local art for less, check out my guide to making art part of your home.

big-window-sills-kitchen

Big Window Sills: Nix the Curtains

Big window sills can feel like a hassle, and can make hanging curtains extremely challenging! Here’s my advice:

If it fits with the style of your room, forget curtains and choose a nice window shade instead. Window shades can fit comfortably within the window frame without disrupting anything you place on the sill. Plus, that makes it easier to see and admire all the lovely plants, photos, or other knick knacks you display there.

front door window

Door Windows: Privacy Meets Beauty

Front doors with windows can be great, but not everyone wants porch visitors to be able to see inside the house before you’ve even opened the door.

The most permanent option is to replace the plain glass with a good quality privacy glass that still lets some light through but also protects your privacy.

An easier option is to install curtains, blinds, or a shade that’s held at both the top and bottom (so that it holds still when the door opens and closes).

The budget option is window film. It’s generally not as durable as the alternatives, but it’s quick, easy, and provides plenty of privacy. You can even find fun patterns, like this etched lace design from Target.

small bathroom window

Weird Bathroom Windows: Maximize Cleanliness and Airflow

It’s not uncommon for bathrooms in Portland to have small or weirdly shaped windows that can be tricky to decorate around.

In bathrooms, privacy is often a concern, so shutters can be a great choice. They’re easy to open and close, and they provide air flow (if the window can be opened).

When dealing with a small bathroom, I often like to keep decorations minimal with the goal of creating a serene, clean-looking environment. However, if you have a window ledge, it can be a nice place to display small potted plants, which are great for purifying the air.

My Biggest Window Tip

Just have fun! Don’t worry too much about the rules. Choose window treatments and decorations you love, and your windows will look great.

If you’re looking for that extra polished, professional touch, our interior design team would love to help!

Contact us online or give us a call at (503) 406-6179 to learn more about how we can help you beautify your space.

How to Decorate Around a TV

tv room loft

The TV is a living room staple for many families, but how do you decorate around one?

For generations, the TV has been a place where families gather in the evenings for the local news or a favorite TV show. (Remember when TVs looked like this?) Still, many families don’t want the TV to completely dominate the living room from a visual standpoint.

Is it possible for that big, bulky flatscreen to blend in seamlessly with the rest of the room? Keep reading to see 9 of my favorite ways to decorate around a TV.

1. Hide It With a Sliding Wall Panel

2013 Green Dream Home

One way to keep the TV out of the limelight when not in use, is to hide it completely! A recessed wall section with a sliding panel is a great option. It keeps the TV completely out of the way when you don’t want to use it, and easy to access when you do. You can even set up the panel to be remote-activated.

At Mosaik Design & Remodeling, we did something similar for a client who wanted a beautiful yet functional way to hide her flat screen TV. The result was this super quiet, remote-controlled mirror lift:

2. Bring the Outside In

Orchard Family Room B

It’s no secret that indoor plants can freshen the air and liven up a room. Studies have shown that the presence of plants even makes people happier.

If the area around your TV is feeling a little “blah,” why not add some greenery to the mix? Framing a TV with plants and flowers is one of the easiest ways to decorate around a TV without investing in a big remodeling project.

3. Keep it Minimalist

living room

In a sleek, modern space, a TV can actually become a beautiful part of the design. The earth-toned, minimalist living room above is a great example! Overall, this mid-century inspired room is very Mad Men, but the big, widescreen TV smoothly brings the whole look into the 21st century.

Keep in mind, though, that you don’t need a modern, sprawling floor plan to make minimalist elements work. Check out this Asian-style family room for an example of perfectly executed minimalism in a smaller space.

4. Make the TV a Focal Point for Your Library

Bucktown Residence

I love using books in home decor! They add so much warmth and homeyness to a space. After all, you want your home to look like someone actually lives there, right?

The key is to arrange them in a way that looks balanced. If you have plenty of shelf space, try turning some of the books on their side and breaking up the space between books with trip souvenirs, framed photos, small plants, collectible items, or other knick knacks.

5. Listen to the Greeks and Use Symmetry

Homefield Road

Did you know the word “symmetry” actually comes from the ancient Greek word symmetria, which means “agreement in dimensions, due proportion, arrangement.” The Greeks (and the Romans too) considered symmetry to be an important principle in architecture and design.

Symmetry is naturally pleasing to the human eye, but when something is too symmetrical, it can look a little strange. The living room above uses the same basic elements on either side of the TV but changes things up just enough. The picture frames are the same shape, but the pictures are different. The shelves above the TV are the same size but contain different items. You get the idea.

6. Play with Color

living space basement

Don’t want everyone’s eyes to gravitate immediately toward the TV? Give them something else to look at! Bright colors elsewhere in the room add interest and keep the TV from taking over. Brightly patterned couch cushions, bold rugs, or colorful artwork will do the trick.

We designed this industrial chic basement for a family of four with an emphasis on mid-century-inspired furniture and colorful accents. The fun, eclectic design of the room allows the TV to be a focal point without completely dominating the space.

7. Turn a TV Room into an Awesome Sports Bar

Family Room, Home Theater and Bar

Have you ever considered decorating around a TV with…other TVs?

This style and budget may not be for everyone. But if you host frequent sports parties or other TV-watching events, it can be well worth the investment. This is a great style for sports lovers who want to keep watch parties out of the living room. If you have extra space in a basement or spare room, a sports bar vibe can be a great choice!

Just don’t forget the mini fridge for storing drinks and snacks!

8. Frame it Like a Painting

Comfortable Contemporary Brick Bungalow in Woodstock

Many people aren’t into contemporary design trends, but still want to make space in the living room for the TV. If that sounds like you, you shouldn’t feel like you have to compromise your design tastes just to accommodate an electronic appliance.

In a room that has a more traditional feel overall, a picture frame can make a TV feel less out of place. There are plenty of DIY tutorials out there, or you can have a professional make one for you. I’d be happy to help, if you’re interested!

9. Create a Contrast with White Accents

tv room loft

Photo: atravellingmom

There’s nothing wrong with a little contrast. Maybe your goal isn’t to make the TV invisible. A big TV screen looks clean and crisp next to white furniture and accessories. This room combines a white wall, white picture frames, a white table, and a white lamp — all adding up to a bright welcoming room.

The wood stove and the warm tones of the furniture both help warm up the room and keep it from looking too stark.

Conclusion

TVs sometimes get a bad reputation for looking ugly, but these 9 examples prove they don’t have to. TVs are an important part of everyday family life for many households. Are you ready to beautify the space around your TV?

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My Favorite Interior Design Blogs

apartment therapy

Have you hit a dead end in a home redesign? Do you have a space that’s missing something you can’t quite put your finger on? Do you love scrolling through home decor photos on Pinterest, but aren’t sure how to make those styles work in your own home?

We all need inspiration from time to time. Whether you’re working on a home-makeover or just love looking at gorgeous photos, interior design blogs can spark creativity and help generate new ideas. I love exploring new color schemes, kitchen layouts, living room styles, and more.

I’ve put together a list of my favorite interior design blogs. Some of them are popular favorites you’ve probably heard of before. Others are hidden gems I’ve come across and loved. Enjoy!

Apartment Therapy

apartment therapy

Apartment Therapy is one of the most popular blogs out there. And it isn’t only for people with apartments! Apartment Therapy has ingenious tips and tricks for anyone dealing with the challenge of decorating a small space. But the truth is you’ll find great ideas for homes of all shapes and sizes here, too. This blog is full of fun, useful, and easy-to-follow how-tos. It’s also packed with large, inspiring photos that are very pinnable!

Decoholic

Decoholic is another well-known blog, and for good reason! It’s the place to go for cute and realistic design ideas. If you’re curious where the name comes from, the author, Melina Divani, is a self-proclaimed “decoholic” who loves helping people get inspired. She also separates her site into categories for each room in the house, which makes it easy to find ideas for the room you’re interested in.

Young House Love

young house love

DIY aficionados, Sherry and John, used their blog to chronical 7 years, 3 home fix-ups, and plenty of interior design inspiration along the way. I love that their blog is down to earth and full of real advice for real homeowners!

If you’re interested in how to complete a front porch makeover for under $500, paint furniture, or hang a door the right way, don’t miss Young House Love.

Inhabitat

A photo posted by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on

The Inhabitat blog places an emphasis on eco-friendly design and architecture — an important topic here in Portland, OR. It also focuses on exterior design as well as interior design. The blog’s Design tab is great for browsing if you’re looking to make your home more sustainable, and it’s a crucial resource for anyone trying to keep up on broader environmental and architectural trends.

Sarah Sarna

sarah sarna blog

Sarah Sarna’s home decor posts are awesome! This lifestyle blog covers home decor, fashion, beauty, travel, and even food! Sarah Sarna herself is a Manhattan-based interior designer turned blogger, who writes about everything from how to decorate with green to speedy cleaning tips.

Dear Designer’s Blog

A photo posted by Carole King (@deardesigner) on

Blogger Carole King describes herself as an interior designer, writer, and design junkie. She started the Dear Designer’s blog in 2009 with the goal of having a creative “library” of things that inspire her.

The homepage has a convenient, Pinterest-style layout that makes it easy to scroll and find a post that speaks to you.

Dwell

dwell design blog

The amazing writers at Dwell Magazine believe that modern design can be homey and fun. They’ll inspire you to incorporate modern and contemporary styles into your home without making it look like a staged home from a magazine. The Dwell site is huge and has tons of categories, so finding the inspiration you’re looking for is easy!

The English Room

Tired of minimalism and modern black and white designs? The English room is a rainbow of color. Full of fun, sunny design ideas that are sure to inspire any optimist.

The North Carolina blogger, Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, really has an eye for bright, happy designs.

Elements of Style

elements of style

The Elements of Style blog has something for everyone. Erin Gates, the Boston-based designer who started the blog, also wrote a New York Times bestseller about design called Elements of Style: Designing A Home & A Life. I love the Elements of Style blog because it combines chic interior design inspiration with fashion, lifestyle musings, humor, and stunning photographs.

I hope you found a new blog or two to follow, or to return to next time you’re stuck on a design project. If you want help putting any bloggers’ design ideas into practice in your own home, I’d love to help. Get in touch!

What did I miss? What’s your favorite interior design blog not on this list?