Finding your Inspiration

Where do you find your inspiration for your rooms? Every good designer, regardless of experience levels, starts with an inspiration piece as their foundation on which to build a successfully designed room.

Before I meet with a client I ask them to collect pictures of rooms that have the same look and feel that they are hoping to create. These pictures can be from magazines, television shows, websites or even from their travels.  Though it doesn’t have to stop there, if you love the colour of hydrangea’s, consider painting the walls light and add variations of blues, creams and soft purples for your fabric selections. Maybe you have found the perfect piece of fabric or toss cushions to start from. You might even use a favourite piece of jewellery or art work. Inspiration comes from everywhere!


The stripe is the “jumping off point” and from there complimentary fabrics are selected.

For designers, the arrival of new sample books sometimes feels like Christmas morning as the pages are flipped through to see the newest collections. Wallpaper is typically my soft spot, like this new book full of Moroccan inspired patterns and sparkle:


This wallpaper is so beautiful, fingers crossed I get to use it soon!

Are you looking for inspiration? Talk a walk, flip through a magazine, look in your closet for your favourite piece of clothing or surf the web. Try not to limit yourself when searching for inspiration. Here are a couple of places you can start:

  • HGTV
  • Home and Garden Magazine
  • Interiors Magazine
  • DIY Network
  • Blogs
  • Instagram
  • Pintrest
  • Architectural Digest
  • Living Magazine
  • Better Homes Magazine
  • and more magazines targeted to specific design styles

Mixing Colours and Patterns

Mixing colours and patterns can be tricky, even overwhelming at times. So much so that many people opt out of using patterns when it comes to upholstered items and choose simple solid colours leaving patterns for small pieces such as toss pillows. When done correctly, mixing colours and patterns will add that much desired WOW factor to your room.

How much is too much and how many patterns can one room hold? The simple answer: it really depends on the size of the room, however anywhere from 4-6 patterns can easily be introduced into the average room.  Where to begin? Most Designers will find one patterned fabric with the desired colours as a starting point or inspiration. This fabric could be planned for drapery, a chair, pillows or even an existing area rug. From there, use the largest piece in the room, the sofa if working on your living room as an example, and keep that simple. A textured solid works great and will help ground the room.  When choosing this solid colour, pull as neutral of a colour as possible from your inspiration fabric. In keeping with the example of a living room re-do, find a larger pattern in complimentary colours for your upholstered chairs, for every style of chair, choose a different pattern (unless you are trying to bring similar chairs together for a conversation area). You may choose the same pattern in two different colours as well if you have two separate groupings of chairs for seating areas. When selecting complimentary patterns consider the shape and size of the pattern you are starting from. Is there a diamond shape throughout? Try to repeat the shape without repeating the pattern. Here is an example:


Notice the repeat of the diamond shape in 3 (4 could be argued with the yellow geometric) of these fabrics.

By repeating a pattern and changing up the colour you get the WOW factor without visual clutter.


Just because it matches doesn’t mean it will work. Here is an example of using the same amount of patterns without the flow of repeating the “shape” of the pattern:


The colour combinations have stayed the same – everything matches right? Hmm not so much. The smallest pattern doesn’t really work that well with the other fabrics and wouldn’t be useful in multiple applications without creating visual clutter.

There will be some trial and error so make sure you have all of your fabric choices together when making decisions. Don’t rely on memory! If you feel like maybe this is too much to handle on your own, keep in mind that Designers are more than happy to help you with a consultation. There is typically a small fee involved but the assurance from a professional eye to get you the room you desire is priceless.