August 25, 2015  

Finding inspiration beyond Pinterest

One question I get asked fairly often is where I find inspiration for my craft and home decor projects. Today, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of some of the ways I get inspired. If you need a burst of inspiration and creativity, maybe some of my methods will work for you.

1. Pinterest

I’ll go ahead and get this one out of the way first. I do spend quite a bit of time on Pinterest. There are so many DIY projects and pretty photos, that it’s hard not to! When I look at Pinterest, I try to search for specific things that I have a need for. I’m currently working on decorating and organizing our kitchen, so I often search things like “kitchen organization” or “DIY backsplashes”. I find that having a specific need in mind helps me focus my pinning efforts into somewhat productive time rather than just scrolling through the millions of pins in my feed. Seeing too much inspiration like that can be overwhelming and will often confuse my own creativity. Pinterest is a fantastic tool, but I try to use it to find specific creative ideas I can actually implement. And if I see a craft project I love, I challenge myself to dream up a way to make it my own rather than just copying it.

2. Magazines

While I love the Internet, it is pure joy to flip through the glossy pages of magazines. I read Better Homes & Gardens regularly, but I also find inspiration from plenty of other magazines. Pretty much any magazine with beautiful photos will be a gold mine of inspiration. For instance, recipes are often accompanied by gorgeous, styled images of table settings, kitchens and dining rooms. And parenting articles often show kids having fun in their homes, giving you glimpses at the home’s decorating style. I find myself often concentrated on the background of a magazine image. Magazines spend so much money styling their images and great care is taken to create a beautiful backdrop. So look behind that casserole or smiling kid and you may find pretty decor you’d like to recreate or even just a great color palette you could use.

3. Homes

I enjoy visiting other peoples’ homes because everyone has their own unique decorating style. I almost always see something in a home that I would like to replicate in my own. Maybe their furniture is arranged in a way I would never have thought of, or their walls are a color I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen from a paint swatch. Sometimes they share a great tip about where they bought a pretty accessory, or they have a great organization system I’d like to try.

4. Bloggers

Bloggers share so many useful tips and ideas, plus gorgeous images. I especially enjoy reading the home tours that many bloggers post. These are great ways to get inspired and to learn from how they combine elements to make a cohesive home. Since I try not to be creepy and just ask random people off the street if I can tour their home, I love snooping on bloggers’ homes because they are willing to share and I don’t have to earn an actual invite into a person’s physical home. If you aren’t sure where to start looking for blogger home tours, do a quick Pinterest search and you will find plenty.

5. Thrift & Antique Stores

Some of my favorite places to get the creative juices flowing are thrift stores and antique stores. Any place full of random objects is great for sparking creative ideas. I play a game with myself sometimes, picking random objects and dreaming up ways I could decorate them or repurpose them into something awesome. The insane amount of odd objects in thrift stores are the starting points for many of my projects.

6. Home Decor & Craft Stores

Another fun place to be inspired is to walk down the aisles of a craft store or a home decor store. You will see so many pretty things, many of which you could probably recreate for a fraction of the price. At least that’s what I usually think. Creating my own projects has been ingrained in my brain, so I often stand in aisles and ponder how I could make a similar decoration myself. Sometimes I conclude it will be cheaper to buy the item than it would to get supplies and put in my time to DIY it. But other times, it is a starting point for an idea for my next craft project. If I see something I love in a store, I will usually take a photo of it. That way I can pull it up later for another look at the color they used or the way it was put together.
Where do you find inspiration? I’d love to hear your tips…leave me a comment below!
Inspiration Beyond Pinterest

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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  1. Awesome! It’s really funny because sometimes, as much as I love Pinterest, I find it limits me creatively. If I think of an idea, I look on pinterest & if there’s not something similar I may think it’s dumb :p I also love magazines though I never thought of looking at the smaller, less obvious details (background table settings…etc!)

    1. Pinterest can be amazing for inspiration, but also really limiting. I find myself copying what others are doing rather than dreaming up my own ideas. I am hugely obsessed with glossy magazines! Thanks for visiting, Sam.

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