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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Translating Inspiration

Have you ever flipped through a magazine or browsed online and seen a room or an outdoor space that really captures your heart and imagination? You love everything about it...the colors, the textures, the emotions it elicits. Everything.

I keep pictures of those spaces to use as design inspiration, and finding creative ways to reinterpret their charms in my own home is my own weird version of fun.

Focusing on reinterpretation -- rather than replication -- has several benefits. Not only is it more practical than overhauling your home to look exactly like someone else's, it also provides flexibility: a beautiful living room can provide inspiration for your bedroom. A mountain gardenscape can even provide inspiration for a guest room, as it did for me!

These lush gardenscapes from issues of Southern Living served as my inspiration. 
Once you choose your design inspiration determine precisely what elements appeal to you and why. Here's what I love about this look:
  1. The color palette. Sticking to a basic palette of greens and yellows, along with pops of pale blue, leaves room for a multitude of textures to work together. The result is something visually interesting without being overwhelming. I also find this color combination relaxing, which is how I wanted the guest room to feel.
  2. The guest room is small and looks out over our garden. Using a gardescape as design inspiration visually connects the indoor and outdoor spaces.
  3. It works with items I already own and could use in the guest room. I've built a collection of  lamps, bedside tables, art, pillows, and rugs that can be mixed and matched and rotated from room to room to create different looks, and I knew I had items in my design arsenal with the right look and feel to reinterpret this gardenscape. 


My house's walls are a pale grey-blue, so I just inverted the garden's color scheme and used greens and yellows as the room's accent colors.

The bird's eye maple dresser and full size bedframe were my mother's in high school and were passed down to me when I was a child. We have guests stay with us frequently, so these heirlooms are still working hard for my family.


The rug evokes the geometric pattern of garden stepping stones and I hung a quartet of vases from hooks in the ceiling over the bed to literally bring the outdoors in. Garden twine wrapped around the neck of each vase allows them to hang.

The vases were leftover from my wedding and I keep them filled with evergreens and herbs from my garden, which also keeps the guest room nicely scented. These hanging vases are an easy DIY project that puts a fun and unexpected twist on floral arrangements and keeps the limited surface spaces free for guests' use.


The nightstand is a craft crate I stained and screwed to the wall. A stained glass dish on the shelf serves as a catch-all for guests' hairpins, jewelry, and other small items. The green clip-lamp I originally bought for my college dorm. I love that, twelve years later, I'm still finding uses for it. 

My husband brought the drum with him from Colombia, where he is originally from. It is both decorative and a nice additional surface for bedside items. It is also handy in case our guests have any late-night musical urges. 


The faux-wood blinds came with the house but I wanted to add curtains to make the room feel cozier. The space is too small for two curtain panels per curtain rod. It felt cluttered, and only one panel is really necessary to cover each window anyway.

I hung the curtain rods well above the top of each window to make the windows look bigger and ceiling feel taller.





Keeping with the garden theme the lamp has a plant and bird motif in greens and blues, and the art in the room is all original and sports a nature theme. The photo over the dresser was purchased at an art fair and the picture over the bed is one I took of a cottage in Wales.

Some DIY art hangs on the wall opposite the bed. My dad made the frame, and the art itself is a collage of images from a sketch instruction book on the human form that I cut out and pasted to a foamboard backing.



My guest room may not be a literal garden, but it embodies the central elements of my inspiration photos: peace and tranquility. Reinterpreting the spaces you love can be a fun project that pushes the boundaries of your creativity, so get out there and use your imagination.

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