Decorating with Inspiration

When I revealed my living room on this blog, there were a few comments eluding to it as Pottery Barn-esque. It seemed a couple of people assumed that’s were I had drawn inspiration from. Truth is, if you had mentioned Pottery Barn to me a few months back while I was in the middle of decorating it I would have assumed you were talking about some kind of terracotta factory!

(In fact, I do recall having that vision when I did first hear the name though before you assume I must’ve been living under a giant rock somewhere, bear in mind that I do live on the land of them  – Australia that is – where there’s no such thing as Pottery Barn, Lowes, Home Depot, Anthropologie and lots more of these other cool stores I’m now always hearing about).

My Living Room

So what’s my point?

Well, while I’m not too sure whether drawing a parallel between my living room and a Pottery Barn catalogue is a good or bad thing (I know it was meant as a compliment, so thanks ladies), I’d like to think my style of decorating has a bit more soul than that.

Truth is, the journey to my finished (for now) living room was a patient, intrinsic and very personal one – though seriously, let’s not go toooo deep, while I do believe our homes are our castles and it’s important they nurture and reflect us it’s still a good idea to put things in perspective sometimes by remembering they are still inanimate objects.

Like all of you, I love looking at and admiring images of beautiful interiors and whilst I might find myself motivated by them, truth is, I rarely drawer direct inspiration from one.

We and our homes are all so individual that at times ‘borrowing’ a template a little too precisely from someone else just won’t work. For a space to feel right it needs to have ‘you’ in it.

That said, there are certain design factors (such as balance, scale, harmony) which are pretty universal and when well-contrived can create a generically appealing space, though in the end it’s the uncontrived elements – the unique personal touches – which really make a home sing.

So, there’s a pretty tricky balance to strike.

Except for in nature (and rare moments of subconscious human brilliance), there’s little we find beautiful that’s not planned and considered in some way – and really, without any thought or care, how can what we create have meaning?

Though it’s finding that at times elusive harmony between intent and instinct which gives truth and personality to design.

I’m lucky enough to be at a point now where I know what I like and what I don’t and, most importantly, what I can live with as opposed to what I like to look at. That doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind about little things every other day, it just means I’m pretty certain about the general direction I’m heading in. It also doesn’t mean I’m just gonna close my eyes from now on and go forth blindly. I still, and will continue to, cherish my ever expanding folio of inspirational home images.

Before I started this blog, only a few short months back, I felt kinda lost. I was devouring image after gorgeous image and idea after clever idea though with no outlet to filter the massive mountain of information I was feeling totally overwhelmed and, to be honest, a little deflated.

Though slowly but surely, through the writing of posts and reading of comments, a certain clarity has emerged along with a motivating confidence.

Somehow this little blog of mine has taught me to trust myself more, be more decisive, unafraid of making mistakes.

And if for some reason I’m ever feeling confused or uncertain again, I know I can come back to this blog for direction and reassurance….and if that doesn’t work it’s also given me the best group of people to share my little dilemas with and ask advice of!


  1. The most important thing we can all come to grips with is “what we can live with”. I see so many gorgeous room and so many different styles and even though I admire many of them and think they are gorgeous, what can I live with day to day that makes my heart sing is what counts. So, I guess I am just learning that while trying a few new styles or accessories for a short time is fun, in the long run I just come back to my own “loves.” Your home is gorgeous and totally reflects you and that’s what makes it wonderful. Hugs, Marty

  2. Anna says:

    Hello Lovely…a very interesting point.
    As like you …Im not familiar with most of these US stores..although I have heard alot about them…Im only envious that we dont have as many available to us here in Oz.

    I have to admit..I have never liked my style to be labelled or boxed in any particular category…and to be honest..I dont think that it could be.
    I prefer words that describe the style…eg: electric, homely, spacious…rather than it being described as a style that has been cookie cut straight out of a catalogue or magazine…having said all of this…it is still a these are the catalogues and magazines that MANY follow and try to create the same look…so I guess if your home reminds them of something similar..that can only be a good thing?

    I know I look to these magazines..images online as sources of inspiration..constantly…I find alot of great ideas.. suggestion of colour mixes, textiles and pieces of furniture that I never may have thought worked well together..but when you see it makes you think outiside the box…looking through magazines it kind of plants the seed to then create my own interpretation of that…pick out the bits I like…whilst staying true to my own personal style and using the things I already own. Whats good about this…as you that you know what you like..and dont like…and so somehow you manage to create a space that YOU feel comfortable and happy with…I think thats the key….and I think thats what you created….even better if others love it…but at the end of the day…would it matter?
    I dont think so…because you love it :) xo

  3. thank you thank you thank you!!!! can i just say it makes me sick to my stomach that pb now sells “vintage” goods like coke crates, old bottles, etc. and they sell vintage inspired quilts, etc…. i can’t stand it. i don’t think that vintage charm should be so commercialized. half the fun is thrifting and meeting the people who onwed the vintage pieces and gave them breath and soul. i do think elements of pb can be drawn out, but i can’t stand when a room looks like it just came out of the catalog (i am nto eluding to yours at all) but when i see a nursery and every piece and art and textile is from pb kids. i am with you- rooms need to have life and soul, and to me pb just takes the soul and life out of items that they put in their stores now to turn a good profit. ok, sorry for the rampage. i do shop there once a year, but rarely really find anything i can’t live without or that isn’t seriously overpriced!

  4. Trish says:

    I really enjoyed this post as much as I love your decorating style. I am also new to blogging & have found you do become overwhelmed & lost in all of the beautiful images but as you sollet the ones you love a general style seems to show thru. A house isn’t a home unless we fill it with pieces thatWE fall in love with individually rather than buying the whole display off the show room floor. I congratulate you on your beautiful style in what looks like a very welcoming home. I am also a fellow Aussie & new to Pottery barn images.
    Cheers to you stylish lady!!!

  5. Anna, that’s so true. Inspiration images work to give us a visual reference for something we maybe might not have considered (or found hard to imagine) and when we like what we see, we can go on to create our own personal interpretation of it.

  6. Cassie, I’m hearing your frustration! I guess the problem is that when something is so good (like vintage decor) it becomes popular which inevitably means it’s gonna become commercial too. Like you said, it’s the story behind a genuine vintage piece which gives it a life of its own and makes it unique though.

  7. Doing a new style in my home has me so overwhelmed at times but I know one thing…it has to be me not a page off of a magazine. I don’t think I’d be to happy with that!

    Love your home and your living room! I will be going to PB next weekend and last weekend I did see the PBK’s store, beautiful things but so over priced!


  8. kristine, your post was well-versed, well-thought out and complete. just like your style.
    it is hard to feel truely unique sometimes, but like you said, for a space to feel right, it has to have “you” in it.
    you’ve also inspired me to actually ‘write’ more on my blog. i always think that people dont really read stuff…but i just sat there and read yours, your opinions and heartfelt feelings.
    thats how i’m using my inspiration…!

  9. Mirela says:

    always love reading your posts. i think it’s nice to have your home be inspired by beautiful things you admire and adding vintage but it also has to be what your home really means to you.i think how you decorate really shows what personality you are as a person.home is where the heart’s ok to take risks in decorating and not being afraid of trying new styles of designs you see in magazines or on the web. i totally agree with you when you mentioned “has taught me to trust myself more, be more decisive, unafraid of making mistakes.”
    the blog world is an amazing place to learn a lot of different things in life but also great place to find your inspiration on how you would love to decorate your home.Love your post today very inspirational sweetie as always xxx

  10. Kerry says:

    That was a very thoughtful and thought provoking post. I thought that I had my style sussed out a long time ago, and I mostly have. Blogging, and particularly my top ten pic post each week has help me continually refine. I always come back to a colourful boho look which I know doesn’t appeal to all (if many!) but it’s me and what I am most drawn to. I think the best compliment anyone can ever give me when they come to my home is that they feel my home is welcoming. For me, that happens with colour and texture. For others, I’m sure it’s the opposite. And how dull the world would be if every home when went into, or looked at was like a catalogue shoot! Yuck.

  11. Sarah B says:

    Interesting post. When it comes to my home, I just decorate with what I like, sometimes it’s also a matter of what I have and what I can afford (unfortunately!) I am happy with a mixed up look that really doesn’t have any angst placed against it. I see pics I like ( so many on the net and in blogland) but I don’t know how strongly I’m influenced by it. I really just want to be comfy (and at times stimulated) in my surroundings.
    ps there is a lot I would like to change at my house but it wil be a long, slow process. I’d love new couch covers in blue, a new funky rug etc etc but I’ll make do with what I have for a while :)

  12. Jenny says:

    Hi Kristine, interesting post and something to ponder for sure. I got to a stage where I decided to decorate the way I wanted and it doesn’t matter what other people think or say because it is your home, your reflection of how you want to live. It has certainly made it more fun!

  13. Boston Bee says:

    As I am sitting upon my pile of laundry that needs to be folded and looking at toys all over, I agree with you! Your style is all your own and whatever makes you happy. I am happy creating my home, like yourself. I would drive myself crazy trying to replicate everything that I see and like. Plus, who has the time? Did I mention the pile of clothes I’m sitting on? Well, as I look around my home everything has meaning and that’s what makes it beautiful to me, sounds like you’re the same. I am inspired by my ideas, my love of nature, light colors, small intimate cottages that I’ve seen on Martha’s Vineyard, fabrics that catch my eye and make me smile, and just living in such a historic place. ;)Alyssa

  14. Abby says:

    Great post Kristine, I was contemplating this the other day. I really struggle to find a look, or direction with our place. I’m sure if a designer or stylist came through here they would be cringing and tut-tutting all over the place. I don’t have a style. Though I’m sure a home decor mag would still find a box to put me in like – ‘mid century deco-mod meets shabby-beachy chic’ or some such. I think there is just so much I like, I don’t really settle into a box, so to speak. But, it’s my home and I love it, which is what matters, of course.

    I made the mistake of decorating Noah’s nursery straight from the window of our local baby store. It was a Kidsline extravaganza – I had the matching cot set, wall hangings, clothes basket, the whole kit and kaboodle. I have no idea what I was thinking. I did love it. For about 5 minutes. Then all the baby gifts came – and they were Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh, etc. And nothing matched. It was terrible! In contrast, Sam’s room is full of things I really love, and special gifts from family and friends, it is just that much more special because it is full of things that have meaning.

  15. It all rings so true Kristine…Reading this is how I feel – being new to the blogging world and not being in the ‘know’ of certain stores and their ‘signature’ looks…I struggle at times to know if its my style and what makes me purr, or from something Ive seen in a magazine. A comfort to know I can take in the ideas and inspiration, but go from there to acheive ‘my look’ from my fellow blogger friends…Thank you for this thoughtful and inspiring post.
    Rebecca x

  16. Alison says:

    Great post and said so well.
    I think we all put our own spin on things we see anyway. If someone has to copy exactly what they have seen in magazines, shops etc. then thats a bit sad. Really they are just inspiration and we all need to put our hearts into creating our own homes. So long as what I have in my home makes me smile as I walk past it then I know I have got my style right. It’s whatever makes me happy not what other people are saying should be in our homes

  17. Dharma says:

    Hey, I can relate. I remember hosting a work party at my home once and a guy came through the door and said “It looks like a furniture showroom in here.” Now, I know what he was *trying* to say and I appreciated his compliment but it also made me feel like a huge pretender and that my home looked generic enough to be the window display at a PB or otherwise…

    And that is what I feel when I look at very staged catalog layouts….they feel generic to me. I have really started to spread my wings and I am embracing what really makes me happy in my style. It’s such a work in progress but I am enjoying it, and I guess that ultimately is the point.

    Food for thought here lady, thanks :)

  18. Katie says:

    Hey Kristine! You are so sweet to answer my question and you truly have a wonderful sense of design. I think combining elements of a room with pieces you love is what makes the room so special. I think I will keep my light colored wood to add some depth. I agree with you about not keeping everything so monochromatic. All the textures and colors make a room unique! Great post!

  19. Shaunna says:

    Hey girl! I, too, went through a stage where I questioned my style and even had to ask for help from my sweet cousin fluffing up my living room. Then I realized I was trying to change my style, and since I’ve made choices that feel good to ME, the home reflects that…it says, “I’m comfortable.” I still love some pottery barn, but I love the idea of finding all my “pb” pieces from all over. :) Thanks so much for your sweet comment on the party! Hope you can link up on Saturday b/c I know you’ve cranked out the projects over here! -shaunna :)

  20. Tara says:

    Hi kristine, I believe do what makes YOU happy.Make your house the home you want it to be.Your home is beautiful and I gain a lot if inspiration from your blog..Thanks for being true to you..

  21. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a house that looks like it’s PB inspired. I don’t think people mean it looks like you bought everything from a catalog, but PB has kind of a unique look. Very homey and comfy. They have a lot of items that are supposed to look ‘old’, but I think it’s so much more gratifying to find the pieces on your own.

    • Amir says:

      There are some interesting pionts in time therein clause but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to eye . There is some validity but I will hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner besides.

  22. helsalee says:

    You are really very genius that you have done so much nice and intelligence use of all the things. I got very inspiration from your work and also got to know some useful ideas.
    Desk pedestal

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ooooh, you’re in Australia?! I just happened upon your blog a day or two ago (promptly fell in love, bookmarked it and passed it on to friends and fellow design lovers), but didn’t dig deeper to find out the background of the lovely Painted Hive. Many thanks from an American who has a love-hate relationship with Pottery Barn, Anthropolgie and the like. Better to create our own personal rooms. :)

  24. Thank you so much for your post. I’ve just recently started a blog for the very same reasons. I felt like I wanted to share all these creative ideas and beautiful finds I’d had rumbling around in my head. I need an outlet. It’s so nice to find like-minded individuals like yourself. I hope I find the reassurance you’ve found through yours.

    I do have a question if you wouldn’t mind answering; How did you create any kind of following at first? I’d love to be able to share my ideas with others and have a wonderful group of people to give me comments, advice and inspiration as well. It seems like such a wonderful thing, yet I have know idea how to begin. Any help from you would be incredibly appreciated. <3

  25. Cheri Mello says:

    I like the rooms . One with alot of pictures is ALOT for me, but room is nice. My mother is a hoarder and theres not one iota of wall space in here house! It was that way when I was a kid and makes me too clostrophobic. lolol. I DO like Pottery Barn decorating ;-)

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