Managing Inspiration

With the internet, inspiration is at our fingertips.  Sometimes, though, I feel as though it is possible to get over inspired. Let me explain...

Right now I am contemplating what I want to do about refinishing my file cabinet, and have been looking to fellow bloggers and design magazines for inspiration.  My idea list is as follows - whitewashed wood with black hardware, glossy black with brass hardware, glossy white with darker wood drawers with brass hardware (or vice versa), and glossy emerald green with brass hardware.  There were other options, but this is the list thus far.  Ridiculous, I know.

It isn't that I don't know what I want, but it is that there are so many other options that I have to remind myself to not veer off course.  It is the ultimate balancing act - finding things to inspire yet maintaining focus.  With all the flash sale shopping, pinning, instagraming, tweeting, and facebook liking, this is no easy feat.  Why else do you think your boss is all "no looking at etsy on my dime".  

I have found that the best way to stay focused is to start any project by writing down your ideas and overall vision.  Then here is the hard part - you need to try to stick to it.  While you can allow yourself a little wiggle room, make sure you set some perimeters.  If not, then the next time you go to the paint store you are going to act like a kid at a toy store who skipped his last dose of adderall.  

Once you have a basic idea of what you want, it is safe to go online or pick up the latest copy of House Beautiful.  Whatever else you find after you have a vision should serve only as a means of installation or implementation - not make you feel like you need to start over from scratch.  This is also a great way to not find yourself shopping for stuff you don't need or will later have to return. 

Now say you don't really have a vision or your vision is wanting to mimic the style of someone else.  That is completely ok - but watch out for the tricky grey area.  You see, there is a fine line between seeking inspiration and out right copying.  

Say your want to build a house, but don't know where to start.  Drive around and see which styles you prefer or look up house plans online and find a few to make your own.  Just don't be the jerk who builds an exact replica of a unique home that someone else probably spent years creating.  Even worse, don't be a local designer who copies the work of another local designer - I saw this done recently and was shocked that they were hired to design and all they did was install the hard work of someone else.  I mean, who the hell wants to pay for a Picasso that was drawn by someone else?  Let's be professional here, folks.  This isn't Sips n Strokes.  

While I think it is great to seek out new ways to be inspired - don't forget to use your own creatively.  It is more interesting, and quite honestly, is a hell of a lot more satisfying.

Do you find yourself brainstorming and then finding photos for inspiration, or starting with nothing and searching for something? 


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