Head out to your favorite home shops, local cafes, or other retail and public spaces that you admire – the more the merrier – and snap some photos! Designers, stylists and editors have been doing this forever – it’s a super-effective way to start getting a handle on what appeals to you visually.
If you can’t make it out and about, do the the same online, except instead of snapping, you’ll be saving. A combo of both is great, too.
The one rule for this exercise is that there are no limitations allowed! Practicality is not the goal. Just let your eyes and heart be your guide – this isn’t about finding the exact piece of furniture that you need, paint colors that seem sensible or prices you can afford. This is for simply discovering, recognizing and recording what looks really good to you, right now. Don’t worry about finding things for a specific room – you’re simply seeking beauty, ideas and inspiration.
Take photos of whatever appeals to you, from single pieces of furniture to whole room setups, from the perfect blue vase to a cleverly displayed wall of prints – if it is visually attractive, capture an image of it. A wild wallpaper pattern in a hotel lobby, your friend’s great green shoes, a garden full of wildflowers, a secondhand chair with great upholstery at the thrift store, a bright movie poster – all are fair game.
Remember this is about inspiration, so we’re thinking about color, pattern, shape, texture and scale more than specifics – while you may not ever even consider buying any of the sofas you photograph this weekend, you may learn that you consistently are attracted to compact loveseats with wooden legs, rolled arms and high tufted back cushions or that dark blue is showing up in your favorites more consistently than any other color.
Snap up info too – if there is a great paint color on the wall and you can find out from the shopkeeper what they used, note it down. If you see a chair that might be perfect for that corner of the bedroom take a picture of it AND its price tag, along with the measurements.