Tammy Hart, I.D.D.P, CAPS is a graduate and tutor of QC Design School as well as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist from the National Association of Home Builders. She is the owner and award-winning designer for Designer Chick Co., and she’s the previous director of the National Board for DDA (formerly CDECA). She is a professional speaker and has spoken at venues like IIDEXCanada and the Small Business Forum. She’s been featured in East in the City Magazine, has had a guest spot on Daytime Durham, Rogers TV and has won the HOUZZ Service Award 2017. She works to empower young women to become successful future leaders and supports ocean clean-up efforts.

I am a firm believer that you’re either born creative or you’re not. I don’t think true creativity is something that can be learned. Do I think you can hone in on your creativity? Absolutely. Do I think you can develop skills that strengthen your creativity? Absolutely. Otherwise, schools like QC Design School wouldn’t exist. I also believe that you can find inspiration to trigger your creativity virtually anywhere, at any moment.

So this month, QC Design School asked me to chat about just that topic – inspiration. Where do I find it? I’ll be honest, I laughed when they asked this because it’s one of the most difficult questions I get asked. It made me laugh even more because when I do work in my own home, I often hear my husband ask, “I love the idea. But how did you come up with the concept?” Half the time he gets, “I don’t know. My head?” Because in all honesty, I don’t know.

interior decorating job - creative hexagonal shelves

I surround my life with inspiration. So much so that sometimes, I don’t know if it was something I saw years ago that was just waiting for the right moment to surface or if it was just recently that made me think, “I’ve got to find a use for that now”.

Obvious places to find inspiration for interior decorating jobs

Here are some obvious places to find design and decorating inspiration:

  1. Online
    1. Pinterest
    2. Google searches
    3. Favorite Blogs
    4. YouTube DIY Projects
    5. Instagram (if you’re not on this, you need to be on this)
    6. Facebook (I don’t, but I suppose you could by following your fav designers)
  2. Offline
    1. TV Design Shows
    2. Magazines
    3. Trade Shows
    4. Coffee Table Books
    5. Furniture/Décor Brick and Mortar Shops
stylish interior decorating student researching online for decor inspiration

Unique places you can find inspiration for interior decorating jobs

Then, there are the not-so-obvious places. These are the places where I truly become inspired.

  • Other Designers/Decorators—Don’t be jealous or critical of their work. We all have strengths and need to appreciate and applaud them. Be open to learning from others.
  • Traveling—I love and hate travel. I hate to travel because of all the packing, the whole airport experience, and the fact that I get homesick. But I love to travel because you learn so much about different cultures and are constantly surrounded by inspiration from buildings and architecture to interior finishes and food. My phone always comes back loaded with pictures.
  • Nature— Even though I’m a high heels type of girl, I was born for nature and will often pull inspiration from the flowers to the ocean to the autumn season, walking through the Rouge Valley and seeing the branches, flowers, and colors.
  • Fabric, Hardware, Paint and Wallpaper Stores—Maybe this is a bit more obvious than not, but I can spend hours (ask my husband) in these stores soaking in the inspiration.
  • Antique Markets and Auction Houses—These are two of my favorite places to find inspiration as I value reusing and upstyling. I love the story behind true vintage finds and the craftsmanship that goes into manufacturing products.
  • Dreams—I don’t know about many of you, but sometimes, I’ll wake up with great ideas in the middle of the night. Sometimes, I get so excited about them that I can’t sleep until I write them down. But as creative people, I think when we allow ourselves to have a rest ( when the gears finally stop grinding) we actually can delve deeper into our creative processes and find inspiration.
flea market vintage

There’s no right or wrong place for you to find your inspiration. What I find inspiring, you may not. And that’s okay. No matter where you find your inspiration, I’m going to challenge you to think outside-the-box and to challenge your clients to think outside of the box. For example, I’m so over grey and white bathrooms and kitchens. Because of that, right now, anything with color inspires me, and I’m presenting that to my clients.

My final words of advice: Always have your camera and notebook on you. You never know what is going to inspire you to create the next design trend or client project.

Where do you find your inspiration? Leave us a comment!

Just earned your interior decorating certification and looking for a job? Here are 5 unique places to find an interior decorating job!

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Cherelle Miles says:

    I thought I was the only one who will dream of different ideas. That is good to know I am not alone. I love looking at HGTV and also get ideas. The key to my decorating in my own place is to come up with ideas that unique and a relection of myself or something I saw in my dream. I am always taking picutres wiith my cell phone. Pinterest is addictive lol love it. I also love to go to model homes or apartments and get plenty of ideas there.

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