Nature notes

The natural world has inspired designers for centuries and continues to do so. Nature’s impact can be delivered in many ways. It may be something as simple as a colour. The rust of autumn leaves or the brilliant blue of a summer sky may be enough to spark the imagination and start a train of thought. The rust might be captured with the use of copper work-surfaces, or the blue with bold splashbacks.

Then there are textures and natural finishes. Wood is the obvious example here – not necessarily recreating the rustic wood of nature, but instead using it in a sleek and sophisticated way. Similarly, natural stone can be harnessed to create kitchens of real depth and style.

Consider also the way that natural light influences the environment, bringing clarity or drama. These qualities can be mirrored through clever lighting, enabling moods to be altered and specific areas to be highlighted.

Pretty palettes

Getting the colour-scheme right is crucial. Today’s materials enable finishes in every colour imaginable – there really is no limit to what’s achievable. But what works, and what doesn’t? The real answer is – there is no wrong answer. For every champion of bold and contrasting colour-schemes there are advocates of muted tones and hushed palettes.

Inspiration might come from a favourite kitchen utensil or piece of crockery. Or ornaments and soft-furnishings used in other parts of the house might spark ideas for the kitchen and help to create a sense of continuity.

Certainly, tastes in colour change as the decades progress. The magnolia 70’s, the monochrome eighties, the sage-greens and soft greys of more recent times. But don’t be swayed by fashion. This is your space, yours to live with and enjoy.

Favourite colours needn’t dominate. They can be used as accents, drawing the eye to specific areas and defining the space. Alternatively – make a statement and use the colour daringly.

Small screen, big ideas

TV can really help the creative juices to flow. Certainly, there are numerous home décor and home improvement programmes in the schedules. Even if the properties in focus are of a different size and scale to your own, such shows can help you decide what you do like – and often what you don’t!

In fact, shows that aren’t interiors-focused can have as much influence, if not more. Consider TV as a constantly evolving mood-board, allowing you to view other people’s worlds and identify the styles and tastes that best fit your own. It’s often how designers work, assessing the current cultural taste and mirroring it in shapes, palettes and materials.

Social media magpie

The internet may be the cause of the problem – offering too much choice, too many avenues to explore. But get organised and you can tame this sprawling beast to deliver a refined edit.

Don’t restrict your searches to homes/interiors sites – make these your destination once your thinking has been shaped. Follow brands you admire, designers you like, fashion-houses you wear. Find interesting and fresh voices and start to curate using Instagram or similar sites.

In time, you’ll build up a collection of ideas, links and images that drive you to an overall style. If what you’ve chosen seems to have no real link, then that’s your style – contrasts and clashes over uniformity and continuity.

Eyes open for inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. The beauty is that whatever inspires you can be captured and recreated in the choice of finishes and colours now available to today’s buyers. The only limit is your imagination. Where will your inspiration take you?