The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Observation: New Twist on Stripes July 31, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

“Observation” is a new series of posts where we will all share our observations on the day’s photo. There is no expected, right or wrong comment. Just share what you see, what you notice, what is unique, what you love, what strikes you, or what is something you might have learned about design from this photo.

You don’t have to love the room to observe things about it. We’ll study all kinds of rooms (don’t worry, we’ll do other posts too, not only these!)

This exercise is both to stretch our own creativity and to help ourselves and others see from a new perspective.

Need more help with what to look for? Read the explanation post here. Have fun observing!

photo: Home & Gardens October 2007


Observation: Green Striped Sofas July 29, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

“Observation” is a new series of posts where we will all share our observations on the day’s photo. There is no expected, right or wrong comment. Just share what you see, what you notice, what you love, what strikes you, or what is something you might have learned about design from this photo. You don’t have to love the room to observe things about it.

This exercise is both to stretch our own creativity and to help ourselves and others see from a new perspective.

Need more help with what to look for? Read the explanation post here. Have fun observing!

This photo is from Country Home

Learning the art of design through observation July 28, 2008

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am


Since starting my blog, I have come across a few people who question the value of looking at beautiful homes in photos. Not through comments on this blog, but on other blogs. It occurred to me that some people really may not understand the value of observation. And that is OK. We are all wired up differently and for some people this is not as fun as it is for me! Plus, I understand that sometimes looking at something beautiful can lead to discontent with what you have or a fixation on perfection, and that is certainly not a desirable effect. It all comes down to perspective, and what it is you are looking at.


I choose to study certain types of beautiful photos because they inspire me. I learn a lot from observation of details. While on the surface you may think, yeah, looking at beautiful photos inspires me to want something I cannot have! But I think there is value in studying something that is well done but not OVER done. You can absorb an ability to replicate beauty and ideas (on any budget) by studying the right kind of images.

Having an eye for beauty doesn’t mean you are obsessing over material things, or desiring something you cannot have. Obviously we don’t want to make beauty an obsession. Rich or poor, fancy or simple, in every different decorating style, we all have a need to find beauty in our life. Some of us find more pleasure in beauty than others, I realize that. For those of us who appreciate beauty, the ability to recreate appropriate beauty in our homes should lead to contentment, peace, gratitude, joy and a desire to share our home through hospitality.


There is beauty in the simple things of life, the way light pours through a clean window in the morning. The way a collection of white dishes look all piled behind a glass cupboard, the way a reading chair can invite you in to a moment of solitude because of the way it positioned in a room, the beauty of simplicity when you see a pleasing arrangement of beautiful objects on top of a console table, the joy of a burst of color in a mostly neutral room. The serenity of a certain color scheme. The contrast between an antique and new. The balance of texture in a room, or the way a room comes to life with a bouquet of flowers. The way a colorful table creates a festive atmosphere for company. The feeling of peace when you see a room free of clutter. The intrigue of a pile of beautiful books on a bedside table. Lovely photos can reveal creative ways to accomplish a beautiful composition or pleasing space and even a well-lived life.

All of these things can be inspired by simply looking at a photo. Whether you are setting up a table for a party, decor for a wedding, designing a blog or a room, good things come from observation.


You can duplicate beauty on a budget, using & arranging what you already have or can find at a garage sale. But first you have to understand what looks pleasing to your eye. You can learn by observation. Have you heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out?” Ok, then. If you spend a lot of time looking at things that are poorly done or poorly designed (even in your own home) in an effort to keep yourself from discontent, you will not develop your eye for beauty. And your surroundings will reflect what you look at everyday. If you get used to clutter and junk, and refuse to look at clean, pretty & orderly rooms, your home will reflect that.

We all might have a different perspective on what is beautiful, of course. But you can learn from the composition, even if you were to change a few things for your own taste.

I love to look at rooms that are imperfect but yet still lovely. Those rooms are attainable and are the most intriguing to me. If I look at perfect or sterile rooms, I get a little squirmy. I have to look at rooms that people, kids, and dogs could actually live in! Furthermore, I learn design principles from photos that don’t even show actual rooms. We can learn from all sorts of lovely photos, if we allow our minds to stretch to see beauty.


So, let’s start a new game on The Inspired Room. One I like to play myself. A learning game. I will share photos for you to observe from time to time on my blog. Sometimes I might share them for a whole week in a row, sometimes just on occasion here and there. So when you see the word “Observation” in the blog title, that means it will be a single photo for you to observe.

I will choose photos that have inspired me in some way (both new to you and maybe some from previous posts). I may or may not share some commentary on the photo, but either way, your job is simply to observe. You don’t have to love the room, the style, or the colors, but try to learn something from each one. If you enjoy this little exercise as much as I do, I’ll keep doing them.


Here are some things to consider:

What is inspiring about the image? What could you duplicate in your own home? What feelings does the room conjure up in your mind? How was a mood created? What makes the photo or room unique or special? What draws you in? Notice the colors, the textures, the placement of objects. Notice the layers. The accessories. The mix of patterns. The lighting. How they hung the curtains. The small details. The overall effect of the room or composition.


During our “Observation” posts, after you have studied the photo for a few moments, share your observations in the comments. There is no right or wrong here, just simply observing to hone our eye for beauty. We can learn from each other if you will all share a thought or two about what you noticed or what inspired you. Sound good? Aw, come on. Give it a try. It’ll be fun.


Country Homes & Interiors via House to Home
Scott Sanders via Desire to Inspire
Decorative Country Living


Sweet Escape: A Perfect Place for Some R & R July 25, 2008

Filed under: Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 5:18 pm
Im ready to dive into that pool...

I'm ready to dive into that pool...

If only I was headed for a vacation like that! Oh well, maybe someday.
Happy weekend, one and all! MUAH!!!!

photo: Architectural Digest
Casa Triton, Mexico

Need a break this weekend? Here are some other great places to escape:

Swim with the Turtles!

A Girl Can Dream!

The Orient Express!


An Adventure Like No Other!

A Scottish Castle!


Style Tips: A Picture Quiz July 24, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Style Tips — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

Need some help defining your style?

I can’t guarantee the results of this, but you can have some fun trying! I saw a link to a fun picture quiz on This is Glamorous’ blog and tried it myself with my spare time tonight (ooo, you caught me playing when I should have been working or enjoying some solitude).

Here is a description of my style, according to the quiz:


You take the inspiration for your home from the surrounding countryside. And why not? The country cottage look has been, and continues to be, the epitome of what a family ‘home’ should stand for: warm, welcoming, cozy and comfortable. There’s nothing at all pretentious about this style, just a love of the good, simple pleasures in life.

So, what do you think? Did that description sound like me? What happened to my coastal cottage style? Or my British Colonial style? Guess I need to figure out just where I am, so I can look to the appropriate surrounding countryside for my style. This explains a few things about why I can never decide what I like best. As you know, I can dream I am just about anywhere. The shore, the French countryside, an English Castle. Whims are like that.

Give this quiz a try yourself and let me know the results! When you get there, just start choosing the photo that best describes each question.

Go ahead and play, it is almost Friday! And besides, knowing your style is serious business.

Have fun!

(kitchen) 25 Beautiful Homes
all others; Country Homes & Interiors
via House to Home


Solitude: A Daily Ritual July 23, 2008

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives,
to our memories, to the details around us.

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

How are you all doing with balanced living? We haven’t talked about that much lately, probably because I’ve been too busy to be balanced! But in the quiet of the evening last night, I thought again about my need for balancing busyness with solitude. Especially in the busiest seasons of life, we need to find time for solitude. It is so important to our well being! But how? How do we find that time when life swirls around us and expectations abound? Here are a few thoughts to stir our thinking:

  • Make the time for solitude and let some things fall through the cracks.
  • Try doing one less blog post per week or read a few less blogs in busy seasons. Blog world will still spin without our constant communication and participation. Your true friends will be there when you return.
  • Save up your emails and deal with them all in one sitting to avoid the constant interruptions.
  • Get up one half hour earlier to enjoy the quiet of the morning.
  • Turn off your phone and computer earlier in the evening. The world can wait until tomorrow.
  • If you have children at home, shut the door to your bedroom or bathroom for a short time each day or evening (if your husband is home or your kids are old enough to be alone!) and tell the children mommy is in quiet time.
  • Set appointments with yourself to do something different each week with some quiet time. Wander through an art museum, read a book at a new coffee shop, walk through a botanical garden, listen to music and daydream.
  • Create a special place for solitude. A clean and inviting bedroom can be a private sanctuary. Put on fresh sheets, pull open a window and a set a bouquet by your bedside.
  • Create rituals for your private time and look forward to those experiences. Light candles, journal your thoughts in pretty notebooks, meditate on gratitude, pray.
  • Learn to say no without excuses.
  • Be selective in how you spend your day, making sure to guard your private time.
  • Give yourself permission to live life at a different pace than others around you.
  • Make ordinary moments more special. A morning cup of coffee can be a memorable daily ritual if we slow down enough to savor it in solitude.
  • Be yourself and live authentically. Trying to impress is a sure fire way to be unbalanced in life.
  • Let go of the guilt for things you can’t get to and things you cannot control.

I’m challenging myself to continue to practice solitude every day in some form or another, even through this busy season (my daughter’s wedding)! Feel free to join in any way you can! I promise, it will be life changing if you are not in the habit of it!

Photo: This Old House, Eric Piesecki. I love that wall color!

Related posts by The Inspired Room:

Disconnect Challenge

Balanced Living in 2008

Grace Notes: Morning Solitude

Grace Notes: Alexandra Stoddard