• Inspiration Is All Around Us

    Personal style can be hard to find, but once you do, you never want to let it go. Personal style is a form of self-expression that can reveal itself in a penchant for 500-count Supima cotton sheets, a collection of your favorite planters on the porch, a carefully styled picnic dinner or picture-perfect arrangement of signature peonies. Our personal style is a reflection of what we love and what inspires us – colors, ideas, images, sounds and places that come together to tell a story.

    Refreshing or discovering your personal style can be as simple as changing up your routine and casting a keen eye on the inspiring ideas that surround us. Here are five tips to get started.

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    What’s Old is New Again. Yard sales, antique barns and second-hand shops are often unexpected places to find design inspiration. The eclectic and the quirky can catch our interest and spur us to look at things in a new (or old) way.

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    Play Against Type. Are you a country music fan? Try the opera. A photography buff? Visit a ceramics gallery. A pizza aficionado? Sample sushi. The idea is to stretch yourself, experience new things and get a new take on what inspires you.

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    Find Your Muse. Style icons can range from the classic (Coco Chanel) to the current (Jonathan Adler) to the campy (Elvis Presley). Whether your style preferences range from the little black dress to blue suede shoes, the key is to know what you like and to like what you know. Then, take snippets and nuggets from your inspiration and look to incorporate them into your exterior home design.

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    A Change of Perspective. Live in the city? Check out the country or your local farmer’s market. Live in the suburbs? Take the metro or bus to nearby urban area. Often just a change of scenery can be inspiring – different sights, sounds and smells can evoke new design ideas.

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    Heighten the Senses. Why do we find colors, sounds, tastes and textures so incredibly compelling? Because they play to our senses. But when one sense is dampened, the others are heightened, creating an amplified opportunity for inspiration. Listen to your favorite music with your eyes closed. Walk through your area’s botanical garden and breathe in the fragrances. Watch your favorite movie with the sound muted. See, feel, touch and smell what happens!

    No matter how you search for design inspiration, it’s important to document what you discover. Do what feels most comfortable. Notes, sketches, digital pics, samples (or a combination of some or all) are easy and fun ways to document your ideas and your inspiration. Even mementos can remind us of what inspires -- a ticket stub from an incredible concert, a flower petal from a botanical garden tour, a menu from a memorable restaurant.  When you’re ready to apply that design inspiration to other parts of your home and your life, you can reflect on colors, textures, sounds and feelings to identify the style, features and colors you might like.

    You can also look to design visualizers, like Dream Designer, to help bring your inspirations to life. How do you find or record your design inspiration?  "Think Outside” and let us know!