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?

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