Design Inspiration

Interior design inspiration is everywhere. We don’t even have to leave our homes to find it. Thanks to the internet, a vast source of decorating ideas is right at our fingertips.

Whether you’re planning to freshen up your home or give it a major makeover, a little inspiration can go a long way and provide you with a vision and roadmap for your project. Having your ideas in place before heading out to the stores can keep you from getting overwhelmed and potentially making costly mistakes.

Here are my go-to interior design websites for kick-starting a home improvement project.

Houzz has the largest database of home photos in the world. You can browse or search for photos and ideas, and save images to an online ideabook. You can make notes about each image, so you can remember why you saved it… for the coffee table, mantel surround, paint color, etc.

This site allows you to search photos by room and by design style (traditional, modern, eclectic, etc.). Or you can type something more specific into the browser (like gray sofa, green walls for example). Many times the designer shares product sources, helping you track down specific items.

Houzz can be used to find products and local professionals, to get help with your design dilemmas or to share your ideas with your contractor or furniture salesperson. When you’re just starting out and needing ideas, Houzz delivers plenty of inspiration.

Pinterest is another great site for decorating. Chances are you may be familiar already with this image-sharing website that lets you create and manage photo collections in the style of a pinboard.

You can search for photos on Pinterest, or “pin” images from anywhere on the web. Your photos can be organized on boards that you categorize for your project. For example, if you are looking for inspiration for a bathroom remodel, you can create a “bathroom” board where you pin images of tile, faucets and lighting you like.

Try searching Pinterest for ideas on specific rooms or features (modern bathroom, blue ceiling, brass faucet, etc.). Or, if you have no idea where to begin, just do a broad search and start pinning the photos that appeal to you. Most images link to the original site where you can get additional details about them.

Design Sponge is a blog that gives sneak peeks into beautiful homes around the world and shows inspiring before and after home improvement projects. Usually the homeowner provides details about paint colors and products. You can search for homes by location, size or style. Before and after projects can be searched by difficulty level, cost and technique.

Decorpad is another source for decorating inspiration. You can share photos and ideas, and create a virtual library of photos. Search by room, product or paint color. This site also offers a helpful “look for less” feature.

Magazine websites

The glossy pages of home decorating and shelter magazines have long been a source of interior design inspiration. And the magazine’s websites bring detailed slide shows and photo galleries to your computer screen. Check out,,,, and for ideas.

As you search online, stay focused on your project. Determine what your space needs, and what you want for it. Once you’re armed with a vision for your decorating or remodeling project, you can walk confidently into the furniture or paint store and make that inspiration a reality.

For more great ideas, visit Carolyn’s blog at www.sweetchaoshome.

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