Things That Inspire (Beyond Pinterest)

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Essay by Sarah Stone & Photograph by Death To Stock


To begin a project is to create a mess. And that is why I struggle to begin so many projects: the initial chaos stresses me out. Once the creating begins, I thoroughly enjoy organizing that mess into a masterpiece, but I need inspiration to begin. Every time.

Here are six things that have fostered creativity lately:

Radiant Orchid

Right now I'm on the hunt for a rug with small touches of Pantone's color of the year. Even when browsing clothing collections I am so drawn to anything Radiant Orchid! This beautiful shade of purple is fresh and alive and rich and versatile – I love it teamed with blush and gold for an outfit or white and grey for the table.

Home Decor From the Mid-1990s

My local library has two shelves devoted to home décor and gardening, and I love to flip through the Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart books from the mid-1990s! Not everything I see is stellar, but I've found some great inspiration for minimalistic living rooms, Shaker-like kitchens, and airy bathrooms.


The energy that a living plant brings to a room is unmatched by any other decoration. After researching the heartiest indoor plants, I obtained one for each room. Each plant was less than $10, and my black thumbs haven't killed them yet! I promise you, a plant on your desk will whisper words of encouragement every time you get creator's block. [She finishes typing and pats her Spider Plant on the top leaf, feeling no stress at all.]

Reading About Elsewhere

I've been reading a lot of Peter Mayle: a British author who makes a living out of living in Provence. While I'm reading his books, all I want to do is spend a budget-free holiday in the south of France and eat truffles until there are no more! But for now, I'm just creating meals inspired by what I read: galatte, roasted vegetables, Nicoise Salad, lavender-infused anything, etc.

Old Movies & TV Shows

Costume and set designers don’t get enough credit. The first time I realized Wes Anderson films have specific color palettes, I was mesmerized. I remember pouring over You've Got Mail when I was in college, desperate to mimic Meg Ryan's clothes and apartment. (Yes, I took notes.) Do we even need to discuss the Art Deco of the Fred & Ginger films?

Lately, if I have half an hour to kill while dinner cooks, I'm usually watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The clothes, the furniture, the kitschiness – it all makes me want to move to a studio apartment in Minneapolis/St. Paul (which is just insane).


Every time I open the Instagram app I am greeted with beautiful art; fancy food, beautiful mountain views, busy city streets, and unique objects trigger my imagination and inspire me to create or find something similar. Bonus: Instagram's Weekend Hashtag Project is a great exercise in creativity!