During a creative process such as interior decorating, even skilled professionals can find themselves staring at a blank wall. Literally, because we sometimes have to design a gutted room from the floor up; figuratively, because from time to time the well of inspiration just runs dry.
Perhaps, like a pro, you’ve taken interior design classes at an interior decorating school. If so, you know first hand that inspiration does not always spring from within like magic, unprompted; instead, inspiration is part fusion, and part reaction to ideas you see around you. Future designs build upon past decorating efforts, whether your own or from the minds of others.
Interior decorating magazines can help you see the future of your room, right in your hands, by showing you creative solutions to issues of space, color, function and style. Rarely, however, will you find an off the shelf solution to fit a different room.
From any given idea, your mileage may vary. Moreover, any single issue or title among the interior decorating magazines at the newsstand may reflect a specialty, focus, or style entirely inappropriate for your current project.
Magazines make great, nearly free interior design classes but, to gain the most inspiration from them, we should narrow the field down to those most suitable to our own homes or interests.
Rifling the Newsstand for Inspiration: Six Issues
Specific rooms. What part of the house are you designing? Interior design magazines often focus on particular areas or rooms. Scan the newsstand or search online for highly focused publications to take advantage of their greater density of targeted ideas from subject area experts.
Style. Shabby Chic or Cottage Living may not be of much use to you during the redesign of a formal dining room in a luxury home.
Target markets. Try as we’d like to forget it, but magazines are advertorial. Articles are written or solicited to be the vehicle for the publisher’s advertising market, which means that the looks and products might be impossible to reproduce within your budget, and the homes on which they focus present issues with which you may never deal. Be realistic. If your budget is Design on a Dime, why buy Contemporary Castle?
Dig deeper. Flip through the magazine. Ideally, you will see in-depth articles complete with source and materials lists. If you need how-to assistance, make sure it’s there- an interview with a designer might be interesting, but less helpful.
Size up the situation. If your living room is due to be featured in Sprawling Mountain Mansion, dipping for inspiration into Snug Streamside Studios will probably prove fruitless. Magazine content is often geared to the scale of a home, and this impacts layout, furnishings, and budgets.
Write your own magazine. Web graphics now rival and in many cases are superior to their print brethren. You can bookmark your favorite online publications, or try your hand at using the RSS feeds from various news, blog, and online magazines. You can aggregate several feeds into one, and set search criteria to retrieve only links tailored to specific areas of interest. Best of all, this is free, so you can increase your decorating budget!
Once you hone down the universe of potential sources, a collection of interior decorating magazines virtually provide an inexpensive class in interior design.