Gather and Implement Inspiration For Your Space

Tiffanys Says...

When you start any creative project, inspiration must be either present or obtained. Designing and decorating your home is no different. You may have a vision of how you would like your home to look and feel. This is usually based on a space or other environment that you have once visited or experienced. How did you feel in or about that environment? What was the overall mood? What did you love about it?

Start Your Clipping File

Fill it with images that speak to you. It can be scenic images, from interior design publications, or any other images that inspire. Now is the time to collect and journal about some inspiring spaces, and how you can apply this to your own home.
Look through magazines for inspiration and pull out ideas or rooms that appeal to you.

Gather things from around the house that make you feel good — fabrics, photos, mementos and such. Study them carefully for color cues for your room's color scheme and perhaps a clue to the mood you're looking for in your home. This is the beginning of a well-planned and decorated living area.


With your inspirational clippings and room photos that you have collected, it’s time to come up with a cohesive theme. Your theme should be something that conceptualizes the style, feelings, and moods you are striving to incorporate in your room. Find descriptive words to collectively describe the elements your inspiration. You will soon find a common thread in your clippings, this becomes the concept of the space.

Summarize your idea as the overall feel you are going for in your space. Use the descriptive words to create an essay that starts as the base for what your space will be.

Tiffany Brooks Interiors designed a living room with gold poufs, leather chair and cream accents Design by Tiffany Brooks Interiors

Design Fundamentals

Take a close look at your inspirational room photos. For most people, they will find some sort of common ground between the images. These rooms work because they have achieved the design fundamentals. They are scale, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, balance, and harmony.

  • Scale the entire perspective. The objective with scale is for objects to be alike or harmonious in dimensions or mass. For example, large-scale furniture and motifs do well in large scale rooms.

  • Rhythm speaks to the flow within a room and throughout your home. Rhythm is the flow of elements usually organized according to a scheme such as repetitive pattern or color. Some examples of creating a successful rhythm are creating a color scheme and implementing it in different areas of your room.

  • Emphasis is the focal point or points in the room. For example, if a room has a fireplace, however, it is used for television viewing you would want the furniture arranged in a way to enjoy both the fireplace (main focal point) as well as the secondary, television.

  • Harmony, (not to be confused with rhythm) is creating a feeling of suitability through unifying elements and objects and adding variety for interest and diversity. The objective is to create an agreeable, appealing whole, that is not too matchy-matchy.

  • Balance is the equilibrium through symmetry (mirror images from a center point), asymmetry (optically varying items from a central point to achieve balance), or radial (equilibrium based on the circle). Symmetry has a more formal appearance and feel, like bookcases flanking the door of a den. Balancing with asymmetry is more difficult to accomplish as the eye is used to create it but the results can be amazing.

Final Thoughts

Apply these fundamentals to your finished room plan. Are the room groupings symmetrical or asymmetrical? Are there a lot of repetitive patterns? What about the white space on the walls, do you see a ton of contrast?

Realizing these common threads will help in the long run with accessorizing, planning the elevation layouts, selecting a color palette, and nailing the overall feel of your space.