What Inspires You?

Badgley Mischka Spring 2009 RTW
Badgley Mischka Spring 2009 RTW

My friend Tim recently asked me to help him decorate his fairly empty two bedroom townhouse. Now ya’ll know I am ALWAYS down for a new decorating project, so I jumped at the chance… I mean, seriously, how could I possibly pass up a REAL excuse to spend hours scouring craiglist, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and every furniture store in a 15 mile radius for furniture and accessories?

Generally, I think of budget as the “be all and end all” challenge to getting a home decorated. If you’re like me, you see 15 pieces you love (like this and this and oh, definitely THIS) and they are extremely out of your price range, so you have to start thinking out of the box to get the look you want. Working with Tim, however, has shown me a whole different challenge.

Tim doesn’t know his own style.

Oh, he knows which things he likes. And he likes a wide range of things. But there’s nothing he can point to that really makes his heart go pitter-patter.

Yeah, I know you’re thinking “well… he’s a guy.” True. But he’s a web developer guy– he definitely has an EYE for design. He just doesn’t know his own style. He hasn’t developed an eye for what really speaks to him.

Which makes our decorating conversations interesting because I think he thinks I’m gonna just pick out pieces for him and put it all together. I’m sooooo NOT going to do that. Cause I firmly believe a person’s home should be a reflection of them and my eclectic urban modern bohemian taste is probably not a good reflection of Tim.

So this little situation started me thinking… how does a person develop their personal style?

You know I have a theory, right? 🙂

My theory is that you find your personal style by learning how to pay attention to what inspires you. Which is both a simple and a complicated answer. It’s simple because inspiration can come from ANYWHERE. Like for me, inspiration is found in that lovely Badgley Mischka dress at the top of this post. (I know you were wondering why that picture was there!) It represents my style in many ways… a simple, sophisticated shape, with bright color and interesting pattern. Sure, it’s a dress, but you can also see those elements reflected in this vignette of a sitting area created by designer Ammie Kim:

Ammie Kim sitting area

Ammie Kim sitting area

and this Pottery Barn Mirror:

Pottery Barn Raindrop Mirror
Pottery Barn Raindrop Mirror

and this beautiful photograph by etsy artist Barbara Carter:

Angel Wings by Barbara Carter
Angel Wings by Barbara Carter

(All of which are items I would pull together to make a lovely sitting area in my dream office. )

For me… since all I can really tell you is what has worked for me… the first step in decorating a room is developing a good sense of what truly inspires you. Because I’m visual, I collect pictures of everything that inspires me and through reviewing those things, I have finally developed a good sense of the colors and shapes that really scream ME. Before that I wasted way too much money buying things that were attractive (and ALWAYS a good bargain!) but weren’t a real reflection of my style. In the end those items weren’t really a bargain because I never felt at home with them… and most found their way to goodwill or craigslist before long.

So– learn from my mistakes! Before you spend a dime on decorating, take some time to explore what truly inspires you (and yeah… that means you too Tim! lol).


P.S. Hey, if you feel the urge, I’d love to see what inspires ya’ll these days! If you create a post that you want to share, add it here with Mr. Linky:


2 thoughts on “What Inspires You?

  1. Courtney @ Nesting Instincts says:

    LOL…Tim’s comment is SO classic. Don’t ya just love guys??

    Anyway, love this post Shauntelle! I keep missing all your recent posts so I’m going to make sure I’m a “follower”. Nice to see you posting here a little more! I hope all is well! xoxo

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