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Where do professional designers draw their inspiration? Insight from Bullard & Xenides Interiors

One of my favorite parts about the La Vie Partagée lifestyle page is the insight to home design it provides to its readers. Recent posts from designers and design enthusiasts offer up the latest trends and design tips to inspire readers to create great spaces of their own.  With such great inspiration so readily at hand for readers, you may have wondered … where do professional designers draw their inspiration as they create new spaces for clients?

While it’s true that a creative mind never really rests (I often have dreams/nightmares about client projects), there are times when an extra boost of inspiration from an outside source is just the remedy to reignite the creative process.

One such boost can be counted on every spring for people in the design world. High Point Market Week is a mecca for designers, architects and retailers. It is essentially a chance for vendors of furniture, design accessories, artwork, lighting, fabrics, wallpapers and many other crafts to put their best foot forward in hopes of driving popular trends in the design industry over the next year or two to come.

And boy, does it ever deliver. Prints used in fresh, gasp-inducing ways, furniture pieces repurposed, and a convergence of the softest textiles and the coolest metals all combine to produce a feast for the senses.

As a designer, this year’s visit left me feeling truly energized and ready to attack my work with some new creative tricks up my sleeve. While these are best used as part of a larger design strategy, there are some simple strategies anyone can use to impact a space. Here are this year’s takeaways from High Point Market Week:

1.  Color: The right combination of colors can be a great refresher for any space. Just as in fashion, there are new go-to colors in design each year and really, each season. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change the color of your walls every 4 months. You can always choose a timeless, neutral and versatile base color and liven up your space with pops of the season’s hottest accent tones. A couple of my all-time favorite neutral paint colors are Benjamin Moore’s “Abalone” and “Smoke Embers.” Then, show a flare for current trends by switching up the covers on your throw pillows and changing out throw blankets each season. Red tones such as Marsala, and Red Dahlia from Pantone are forecasted to be big in the interior design industry in the coming year. Pantone has a great website ( to check out the upcoming color trends for fashion and interior design. Pick colors that suit your tastes and day-to-day lifestyle to make your space your own.

Paint color: Abalone

Source: Benjamin Moore’s Abalone

Source: Fashiontalk

Source: Fashiontalk

2.  Create Symmetry: Being a resident of one of New York’s many tiny, oddly laid out homes has taught me how important symmetry can be. A room that isn’t a perfect square or rectangle with too many doorways seems like a huge headache for furniture plans, but oddly shaped rooms create a perfect opportunity to flex your creative muscle and make intimate, functional seating groups. Pull the furniture off the walls. Let your sofa and a pair of armchairs float in a square formation in the center of the room. Anchor this with a large rug that all the furniture will fit on comfortably. Pick a focal wall in your space (usually the biggest wall that is furthest from the entrance), and hang artwork or a mirror above a beautiful console table. Place a pair of matching lamps on the console at either end of the hanging piece. This creates a symmetry that will give a big presence and draw the eye all the way across the room. You don’t have to have these exact pieces to make these ideas work. The point is to trick the eye into thinking a space is large by creating the illusion of symmetry.


Source: Bullard & Xenides Interiors

3.  Room Remix. Maybe you are working on a budget, but you are completely uninspired by your old stuff. Even if you don’t want to spend the weekend spraying your furniture down with a new paint color, repurposing old pieces can make them appealing once again. Take those old low black filing cabinets, and pair them with a top to make an industrial-looking console for your living room. Use that old bistro table as a grand side table for your sofa. Place a large tray on the leather ottoman that was once paired with that over-stuffed chair, and use it as your new coffee table. In today’s world, we usually design a space with function in mind. Let that be the driving force to let you see the full potential and versatility of the furniture you already have.

Of course if you want help pulling together a completely custom look, you can always hire a designer. We work hard to not only stay up on current trends but to be trendsetters. Designers love to maximize the functionality and, foremost, the beauty of the spaces they create.

Inspiration is everywhere. Find yours.

For more related articles, visit our DESIGN page.

Author:  Paul Bullard

Bullard & Xenides Interiors

Bullard & Xenides Interiors

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Life is full of possibilities made only meaningful with the people we share it with. This site is a place where friends can share our point of view on food, travel and design.

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