3 Unexpected Sources for Design Inspiration

For your next project - maybe you are thinking, “I don’t want mine to look like everyone else’s, I want it to be a meaningful space.  Something I can truly call my own”.  Finding inspiration for interiors doesn’t have to be difficult, one just needs to know where to look.  I will give you 3 unexpected places to explore that can help drive your design.


Look at your surroundings.  Are you surrounded by a beach, mountains, a beautiful backyard garden or a bustling urban area? Consider integrating your interiors with your surroundings, or bringing the outside in.  It will make your space feel more expansive and will connect you with one of the reasons you chose your home- location!  Below are some excellent examples where homeowners have achieved this integration with their surroundings.  Here is a beautiful beach home, with a backsplash to remind them that fun is only a few steps away!

2-Tone Kitchen Design with Dura Supreme Cabinetry: Sierra door style in Knotty Alder with "Cashew" stained finish and Holland cabinet door style shown in "Pearl" paint with a "Slate" paint accent cabinet finish.

Why shut your kitchen off from this beautiful ocean view? Who says a backsplash has to be tiled?  Below is another great example bringing in the surrounding cityscape, lending a contemporary urban vibe to this great kitchen.

Quarter Sawn Oak kitchen cabinets from Dura Supreme finished in the "Cashew" stain and Sherwin-Williams "Gale Force" paint.

Below we have a homeowner who loves their backyard and decided to forego upper cabinets all together.  The effect is dramatic. And while this may not be a very large kitchen, it sure feels expansive.  Other notable features are the use of black architectural windows, a trend we are seeing more and more of, and the smart use of a single shelf across the back wall, creating a more human scale to the room.

Stunning interior design with dramatic black architectural design elements.


If looking outward does not provide inspiration, maybe looking inward will.  Consider connecting with your family’s heritage and incorporate elements that speak to your roots. 

Asian design utilizes clean lines and simple architecture, embracing a peaceful, serene feel, connected to nature.  Color schemes used with this kind of design include black, beige, pale green, white, gray and red.

Photo courtesy Guia Para Decorar. Interior Design Inspirational Photo.

Design by Melissa Redwood Interior Design, Western Australia. A A Scandanavian or Nordic interior design for inspriation.

A Scandanavian or Nordic interior would have many of the same unfussy lines as Asian design, however it is less sleek, not as channeled in to nature and the color scheme can be more intense.  This aesthetic can range from minimalist to a more industrial version.  Below is more of a Nordic farm interpretation.

Interior Design Idea in London using White and Blue painted cabinets.


A third place to look for inspiration is a piece of art or a collection.  This could be something you already own.  Going this route can really make your design authentic to you, especially if the piece holds personal meaning for you, or in some way represents your journey through life.  Below is an example of someone who may have a love for the open road considering their collection of vintage license plates and road signs.  It works here, and I would imagine this homeowner feels very at home cooking in this space.

Industrial Kitchen design by Stosa Cucine, Florence, Italy

And while the example below may not be for everyone, it shows how art, whether it be 1 piece or 5 pieces, can be appreciated in a kitchen. The art could also be a large piece near the kitchen table, providing a jumping off point for colors and textures in the rest of the space.

Dark and Rich Forest Green Kitchen Design by Bon Atelier Limited, Stephen Bonnington in London, photography by deVol Kitchens

Art- be it a painting, print or textile can also be fused behind a special glass in a backsplash application.  This would definitely make for a unique personalized kitchen.

I am of the belief that there should be rooms in your house that make you smile a little inside every time you enter. Integrating your surroundings, dialing in to your heritage, and surrounding yourself with art that is meaningful to you are three great ways to elicit that internal smile.  Armed with these three inspirational cues you should be ready to take on your next design project!



Sandy Kloncz's picture

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