12 Places to Find Design Inspiration When You’re Stuck

Our world today is flooded with images, videos, articles…everything you could want at the touch of a button. Yet, sometimes we still find ourselves starving for inspiration. We can easily get into a routine of looking in the same places, checking the same apps, browsing the same websites. To get new inspiration, you have to do something new. Such a simple concept, yet we seem to forget it too easily. Design exists everywhere, in the most unexpected places, so here are 12 places, things, or activities you can explore to get those design wheels turning.


  1. Museums – Curators pay careful attention to the design of museums. Notice the way they place lighting, the color temperature of the lights, the arrangement of art pieces and the flow of the exhibit. And, of course, the art itself can be inspiration for style, colors, and concepts.
  2. Music Events – Music venues, whether a symphony, rock concert, or piano recital, all have different designs for function and ambiance. But music can take your imagination to new places. It accesses a different part of your brain and can help you imagine fantastic places, feel hopeful, make you cry, or wake up your senses. Try to imagine how you can recreate those feelings in a design.
  3. Restaurants – From cultural food to the music they play, to the lighting design and art on the walls, going out to eat somewhere new can provide all kinds of inspiration. Plus, who doesn’t love some delicious new food?
  4. Fashion Shows – Fashion trends often trickle down into interior ones, and styles can easily be translated between mediums. You don’t have to buy tickets to NY Fashion Week, just look up some runway shows online, flip through magazines, or check out fashion blogs.
  5. Local festivals and events – The design of a home is largely influenced by it’s location. The culture, landscape, and people all have an impact on the surrounding designs. Get involved in community event to get a better feel for where you’re designing.
  6. A new TV show – Set design on a show is incredibly important to set the right mood, express the time period, and create a totally new world. Just like Mad Men has had a large influence on mid-century modern design, other shows can provide inspiration for your own projects.
  7. Antique shops – Vintage or antique products and stores are full of so many unexpected finds. Even if it’s not your style, you can reimagine existing objects into something new and modern. Or you might find a piece that inspires you so much, you want to design a whole room around it.
  8. Travel – Traveling internationally will fill your brain with so much inspiration, you’d be amazed. But if you can’t take a big trip, just take a day or weekend to explore somewhere new. Find a new location, a new culture, a new landscape to spark your creativity.
  9. Crafts – DIY projects allow you to continue creating while taking a little break from your usual interior design work. You’ll still have to choose a style, colors, materials, and create a plan, but you get to use your skills in a new way that will expand your creative talents.
  10. Cooking – Even if you’re afraid of the kitchen, there is a lot that can be learned from cooking (or cooking shows). Balance of flavors, plating techniques, and range of color are just a few. Exploring new ways to create beautiful, colorful work will get your brain thinking in a new way.
  11. Volunteer work – When you volunteer, you not only get to help people, but you learn their stories, their struggles, their victories. You may end up designing for them directly to give them a more beautiful, serene place to live or work in, or their stories can provide inspiration for other projects. And you’ll likely learn something about yourself in the process.
  12. Gardening – From choosing the colors of flowers to arranging a bed of vegetables, gardening has little bits of design sprinkled throughout it. It can also teach you values that aren’t so concrete, like the patience it takes to finish a project or the importance of small, daily tasks for a larger outcome.


To get new inspiration, you must go out and live your life! Yes, immersing yourself in design 24/7 can get you plenty of inspiration. But going out and exploring, experimenting, and socializing in new avenues will give you insights and ideas that are unique to only you. You may be surprised by what you find and how it influences you.


What unusual or unique ways have you found inspiration for interior design?


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