The Must List: The Inspired Room

by Chris on April 6, 2012

If I ever want to find a beautiful picture, I know exactly where to go. The Inspired Room. Melissa’s blog (and those beautiful photos) have been inspiring me (no pun intended) for years, so it’s a real treat to have her here. Lucky for me us, she’s telling us how she gets inspired!

The Must List Inspired Room

Creating a home that is inspired by great memories is a personal passion of mine. I cannot imagine living in a home that is basically just surface pretty. Pretty is important, of course, but a room that tugs at my heart strings and transports me to a happy place makes living in that room more magical to me. I love having my heart wrapped up in what I see around me every day. Not only do I like to surround myself with things that make me laugh or smile, but I love to see things that keep all the good memories alive. Now if you are thinking I sound like one of those crazy ladies who is surrounded by dusty old shelves full of tacky tourist trinkets, and you are wondering if you might have seen me on Hoarders last week, you would be right. I am that crazy lady. NO! I KID! Not true. Well, at least about the tacky tourist trinkets and embarrassing hoarding tendencies. {Please don’t look in my garage right now, though, or you might turn me in to the TV show.}

striped entry

So what is on my must list of resources for home inspiration? Certainly I adore looking at magazines and Pinterest for inspiration. I can easily be inspired in so many ways by Better Homes & Gardens, House Beautiful, Lonny and all those other lovely magazines that feature gorgeous homes and stylish ideas. I also love some design shows like Sarah’s House! And of course, I’m inspired by women who create and share their homes and blogs. Those are all on my must list. I spend many hours studying images and figuring out why they inspire me and what elements I might take away from what I see.

the inspired room anthropologie hutch

I also love window shopping (I always bring my super undercover camera phone so I can snap inspiration pictures like the one above). I spend hours and hours just window shopping at Anthropologie (I love the ambience of Anthropologie and learn so much from that store!), and I wander forever at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware soaking in how those stores feel and why I enjoy looking at them. I also love looking through antique and thrift stores for a unique treasure with a story to tell, like my recent find, a French iron garden chair!

But, while I love seeking out pretty things to look at, no single resource inspires me more than simply LIVING life. I’m so much more creative when I’m offline! Sometimes the internet zaps my creative energy. I don’t care too much for trendy items to decorate my home, I am not much of a crafter, but I do love traveling, making special memories with my family and just living a full meaningful life — experiences are what inspire my home design more than any other single resource I can think of. Quite often I’m inspired by a combination of a special memory and something I’ve found through window shopping or magazine drooling.

inspiration board

For example, when I started designing my home office a few weeks ago, my jumping off point for my design were some curtains I had drooled over at Anthropologie. While normally I would not spend that kind of money on curtains, THIS time, it was worth it to me (thanks to it being my birthday and all) because the colors and pattern subtly reminded me of a vacation my husband and I took early in our marriage. I know I’ll look at those curtains every single day and I’ll be whisked away to time spent together and our visit to the charming Lodge at Koele Bay on the island of Lanai. And with careful planning, I can have those special curtains and compromise in other ways for the cost.

the inspired room gallery wall

Fortunately, not everything that stirs my heart costs much money. In fact, most of what is in my home was free, very affordable or second hand! And that is how I like it! Some of my favorite things in my home are my photo gallery walls of my three kids, drawings and subway art of places we’ve lived and visited, framed maps of places we’ve traveled, treasured gifts we’ve given each other over the years, stacks of books we’ve read and loved, shells we’ve collected on family beach trips and inherited antiques from my grandparents — they all inspire me every day and remind me of what matters the most to me, a life well-lived.

Do you have a home that inspires you? What are your favorite things?



Shelley @ Calypso In The Country April 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm mentioned the island of Lanai. We honeymooned there about 14 years ago and stayed at Manele Bay but visited and had dinner at The Lodge – absolutely beautiful! I also get a lot of my inspiration from places I have visited but lately I spend way too much time getting inspired over at Pinterest! I could also hang out for hours in Pottery Barn! I love the curtains you picked for your office. The design for the room is so beautiful! I enjoyed your guest post!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room April 8, 2012 at 12:22 am

Thanks Shelley! I’m glad you have been to that hotel, we were there about 20 years ago but it was beautiful :-)!! It definitely inspired me!

Maria @ All Things Luxurious April 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Such a great post, Melissa. You know, I have never thought about going window shopping for inspiration, but I think that is a fabulous idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

Nickie April 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I am not a natural decorator, but I love decorated spaces. I will have to check out Sarah’s House. Thanks for the tips!

Rene April 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I do some design work on the side. I was so inspired by your line “I’m so much more creative when I’m offline! Sometimes the internet zaps my creative energy. I don’t care too much for trendy items to decorate my home, I am not much of a crafter, but I do love traveling, making special memories with my family and just living a full meaningful life — experiences are what inspire my home design more than any other single resource I can think of.” I am always telling my clients that the personal touches that I put in their home is what makes it “their” home. No designer or decorator can re-create your life through the home without imput of the homeowners, belongings and memories. Thanks for putting into words what I have thought for so long.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room April 8, 2012 at 12:23 am

Hi Rene! Glad we are kindred spirits when it comes to decorating! ;-)

Susanne Csongor April 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Hi Melissa. In keeping with what you have written here, I am hoping to catch up with your daughter. May I have a way to contact her? Photo gallery and memory walls somehow must be incorporated into our home. Wall colors that truly work, would be great for starters…lol. Sometimes we just need a bit of help pulling our favorite things and lists all together. Much thanks and blessings to you and your family this Easter weekend.

June April 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Great post! I love those curtains as well :)

Grace @ sense and simplicity April 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm

You read my mind and spoke from my heart. That is exactly how I’m inspired. I love your idea of framing a map of all the places you have lived – a different twist on the subway art which is a bit overdone these days.

Julie April 7, 2012 at 8:15 am

I enjoyed your post and I think you are right more time off line-I think pin is great for inspiration and I too love to window shop my favorite spots include The Black Lion and Home Tours and Designer Show Cases-I think trend in a few accessories is fine but to much trend is just to much in my feeling Chevron screams 2012 and I think it is really being over done and the brights-I am a real color person but NEON-Really I think folks will pitch all that out before to long. I make my travels meaningful too. I try to add a Christmas ornament and I often frame post cards though the map idea seems to have peaked my inner creative diva (LOL)

Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home April 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

Melissa, while reading this I’ve realized that curtains are what I need in my drab eat-in area of my kitchen (although maybe not ones so fab as yours). It’s needed something and I think that’s it. Thanks for the inspiration!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room April 8, 2012 at 12:24 am

Sure, I’m glad it inspired you Dawn! There are so many fabulous fabric patterns out there I’m sure you’ll find something to add a little punch to your kitchen!

Kiki April 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

Loved your post, you were able to put into words what swims around in my head. I just returned from Lanai and went to the Lodge for lunch. We also stayed at Manele Bay, it is easy to see why that beautiful island remains an inspiration to you. Thanks, you have inspired me!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room April 8, 2012 at 12:25 am

Thanks Kiki, so jealous you go to be there recently!! Such an amazing island. And it smelled SO GOOD, didn’t it?

Ashley April 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm

What a great post!!!! Your blog inspires me everyday, and I love all the ideas that you shared in this post! What a beautiful home you have.

xoxo, Ashley

Melissa @ The Inspired Room April 11, 2012 at 3:26 am

Thank you Ashley :-)

Kay April 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Love your thoughts. You’re so right … being online too much CAN zap creativity. I love taking walks outside … the colors of nature inspire me. One of my family secrets for inspiration – visit open houses! The staging has to be current. And they always have one or two GREAT focal pieces.

Diane | LongabergerLifestyle April 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Confession time. I HAVE been spending too much time online. AND…my creativity has disappeared. Hmmmmmm. Thanks for the poke…I needed that.
Window shopping is inspiring for me too. Especially when done with creative thinking friend. I’d love to go window shopping with YOU!

Melissa @ The Inspired Room April 11, 2012 at 3:25 am

:-) Let’s plan a blogger window shopping extravaganza!! I’d be all for that. How about window shopping in Carmel!!!

jessica@fourgenerationsoneroof April 10, 2012 at 7:40 am

This is just wonderful! All my favorites right here on this blog. Great series Chris! Melissa, you just described every store, magazine and how I “jump start my inspiration butt” into gear . I like how you hung the frames on the angle with the chair…I might have to try that :)

Chris April 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Thank you, Jessica! I don’t mess around when it comes to guest bloggers, eh? Still can’t believe they agreed to it! :)

joan April 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

Your visits to stores and interesting places describes what Julia Cameron terms an “Artist Date”. It is a time you set aside weekly (yes, weekly) to recover your “creative self”. These visits set your creative dial to “receive” because now you hear hunches, inspiration, and guidance. I have taken Artist dates to the zoo, on the bus, light rail, the library and walks in my neighborhood. This process is quite nurturing and restorative.
Julia Cameron has written several books about awakening your creativity. These books were helpful to me in recovering my “creative self” (and no, I am not Julia’s publisher lol)

Wendi April 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I’ve enjoyed reading these blogs about inspiration and all of the things that touch your heart are also one’s that have inspired me too! I am wondering about the bookshelf on your office inspiration board – would you be able to provide the manufacturer’s name? It looks just about the right height for my office! Thank you so much Melissa!

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