Finding inspiration for your design project

The material and style you use on your walls will go a long way toward setting the tone for the room.

When it comes to designing a home or office space, inspiration can come from anywhere. You can rely on a childhood memory or incorporate something from a friend or neighbor. You can turn to a favorite book, movie, stage or television show. The options are only as limited as your imagination allows.

Searching for inspiration
While some people will have a very clear idea of how they want their living or work space to look, others might start out with a more nebulous vision. For those whose mental picture of the outcome of their efforts isn't as detailed, try carrying a notebook around with you or using your smartphone to record notes on ideas and inspirations.

Keeping notes is one of the most effective ways of putting together a design scheme. You can track and organize different things that catch your eye, record details of specific items of art or furniture that you might want to incorporate and build a database of different styles or materials that you'll want to use or avoid.

Maybe you'll wander into a friend's home or a professional office and be struck by the way they use bamboo panels or the style of the hardwood floors. You might find a coffee table or couch you find especially appealing. By recording these things you will have a wealth of information to work off of when the time comes to get down to the business of designing your own spaces.

Finding what you want
Once you've built a list of wants, needs and things to avoid it's time to find find those items out in the real world. Hopefully, part of your note taking involved recording where many of your inspirations can be found, but either way there are some places you'll want to look.

If you're going for a classic look, local antique stores and garage sales always present opportunities. Many of the bigger sales or antique stores will be listed either online or in a local newspaper. Much like you've set up a plan to capture and inspiration, come up with an itinerary for your shopping travels. Maybe find an area that has multiple antique stores and come up with a plan that will allow you to see multiple places in one outing.

However, if you've decided that something more modern and innovative better fits your style you will want to look for boutique stores and online retailers to find a range of options. No matter which direction your inspiration takes you, be sure to keep records of what you're doing. They will become an invaluable resource for you.