This post is sponsored by Houzz. As always, all opinions, ideas, and bad jokes are 100% my own.
One of the biggest frustrations we hear from our readers is not knowing where to start with a remodeling or redecorating project. Most people asking for help on our Facebook page aren’t as worried about learning the techniques and mastering the tools for the projects as they are about planning the project so that it finishes well and looks great.
Planning and envisioning an “after” while standing in the middle of your “before” can be a daunting task, so it’s important to take some time and establish a good foundation for what you want from the room — how you want the room to feel, how you need the room to function, and what elements (both functional and aesthetic) you like. And finding what you like in decorating is a lot like Julia Roberts’ character and eggs in Runaway Bride — it takes some time and eating a lot of different egg preparations to find out that you only like eggs Benedict. When decorating a home, that process of finding who you are and what you like involves less eating and more browsing — for inspiration!
I’ve been into homes and decorating since I first decorated and re-decorated my childhood dollhouse. I don’t recall exactly, but I’m pretty sure it was decorated in the style of “Full House.” Since then, as my style has grown up and evolved, and as I studied interior design in college, I’ve realize more and more the importance of having good design inspiration for any project — something beyond whatever is on the latest sitcom (no matter how fashionable the Tanners might have been, then or now). One of our very favorite Remodelaholic tricks for getting inspired is going to our local Parade of Homes.
Lucky girl that I am, Justin likes touring homes, too, so during the weeks of the home show we go on lots to check out the homes in our area and soak in the inspiration, from the classically beautifully styled with space-saving built-ins (swoon!) to the newer trending features like really interesting tile. We’re always on the lookout for interesting wall treatments and painting ideas, and I have a soft spot for gorgeous laundry rooms and organized mudrooms. The Remodelaholics that parade homes together, stay together… or something like that!
We share lots of the inspiration we find there in posts like this and in our Get This Look series because there is just so much that you can learn from looking at professionally designed spaces. Really important features that make the room look *just right* — like scale and spacing and balance. Some people have a natural knack for those things, but the rest of us have to work and practice at it, and immersing yourself in really well-designed rooms is the start of training your design eye to notice those things and be able to implement them in your own home.
Professional designers and architects also often have budgets that allow them to do something non-conventional but amazing in a space, especially in smaller spaces that can be so inspiring for those of us without soaring ceilings and spacious butler’s pantries. I love finding ways to make spaces function better, and it’s hard to get more space-smart ideas than looking at higher end small homes — and of course, tiny houses are a favorite of mine, too.
Not everyone has a great local Parade of Homes like we do, or the free time to visit all the homes, so that’s where today’s post comes in. Today we’re partnering with Houzz to show you how their massive database of home photos can be the same kind of fount of inspiration as attending a home show — and you can “tour” from the comfort of your couch, while in your pajamas, while binge-watching your favorite home improvement show (and now you all know how I’ll be spending my weekend, to take my mind off the mess of our in-progress bathroom renovations).
Houzz has the world’s largest home design photo and ideas database with more that 15 million photos! That’s pretty houses for days and days, and that means that no matter what your style or budget, you can find inspiration and ideas on Houzz, either on their website or by using their app on your phone or tablet. And one of the best parts of their database is that their photos are all sorted and tagged based on rooms, styles, colors, features, and even by size and budget (plus so many other features, like wall color and floor color) — use the categories provided, type your own keyword if you’re looking for a specific color, or just start scrolling and browsing the photos.
For example, if you’re looking for ideas for a small living room but you’re not totally sure what your style is yet, set your parameters and start drooling.
When you see a setup that you really like, just tap (or click) the photo to see more info about the room, save it to your Houzz ideabook, and, for most photos, to see more photos from the same room and home, as well as similar photos. You can also see the professional behind the project should you be looking for a pro to help. (In the app, tap more or swipe up to see more photos and info.)
As you save photos to your ideabook, you can review them and refine what it is you like about each space as you define (or re-define) your style. Is it the accent colors you like? The furniture style? The wall color or flooring? You can add notes to each photo you save to your Houzz ideabook to note what you like about each space. If you see a specific product that you love, Houzz also has a tool called Visual Match which lets you identify the same or similar products in the Houzz Shop and makes it easy to shop the look of your favorite rooms.
As you browse and save your favorites, you can watch for patterns and learn what you like and what you don’t — maybe you’re a genuine rustic farmhouse kinda gal, with neutrals and weathered wood and antique “junk” as your design-love language:
or, maybe, even though your friends are all about Joanna Gaines and you like their homes… maybe you’re more of a colorful mid-century modern momma:
Don’t feel locked in to one particular style — remember, it’s your home, and it’s most important that you’re happy there and that it functions for you and your family, while reflecting your likes and passions. You can select multiple styles on Houzz while you’re browsing, too, so don’t shy away from mixing styles to create your own eclectic mash-up style of what you love most.
Once you’ve assembled a small portfolio of your favorite looks, then you’ll be ready to follow our favorite process for turning inspiration photos into real-world design in your own home and making your own mood board to guide your decorating. You can do this on Houzz using the Sketch tool, which also lets you add text and stickers to photos. And in a few months or years when you’re ready for a room refresher or for a full makeover, hit up your Houzz ideabooks again to find a new paint color… or to decide that yes, you really DO want to take out that wall (guilty!) to open up the kitchen.
So now I want to know — what kind of inspiration are you looking for? Are you working on your kitchen? Master bedroom? I love hearing and seeing what inspires you, so leave me a comment below!