How interior designers stay inspired during lockdown


Many count on interior design social media accounts for decorating ideas. But where do interior designers go for interiors inspiration? Considering lockdown has taken its toll on most people’s creativity and drive, we were curious to know how the interior design community has been motivated to create content and beautiful homes during this difficult time. Unable to seek ideas from art galleries, the natural world and new places, designers have instead had to gather ideas from the comfort of their great indoors. Here, some experts share their tips on how to stay inspired, along with advice on crafting spaces that boost productivity.

Take Advantage of Your Space & Let Your Hair Down  

Jessica Buckley of Jessica Buckley Interiors has a myriad of tips on how to make a scheme – either in your home or client’s project ­­– an instant mood elevator. First, position your desk near a window to “maximise your exposure to natural light and fresh air while you work”. “A view over a garden, if you have one, can be very therapeutic and inspiring,” she adds. No garden? No problem. Why not incorporate plants and flowers into your workspace for that connection to nature?

If you aren’t up for a complete redesign, take comfort in Jessica’s advice: “even the smallest changes can alter the look and feel of a room; give existing pieces a new lease of life by changing the cushions, lampshades or placing slipcovers on chairs. As the season switches from spring into summer, choose lighter, breezier fabrics such as linen and cotton”.

If you’re working with a space that’s a little chaotic, Jessica advises that “symmetry and balance can help instil a sense of calm and order”. “A pair of bookcases or chests of drawers on either side of a fireplace is a classic look, complete with pairs of lamps and mirrors or framed artwork hung on the walls above,” she says.

Regular breaks can help reduce stress, so don’t forget to take time out. When night falls, swap laptops and mood boards for a relaxing cup of tea or ‘happy hour’ drinks. Jessica’s ultimate home bar includes a “large tray, an assortment of pretty glasses and an ice bucket,” along with “some of your favourite bottles” so you’re “ready for 5 o’clock”. 

Find Inspiration In The Unexpected

Stuck in a creative rut? You could see what’s on Netflix…

Lucy Barlow, co-founder of Barlow and Barlow Design Studio, recounts her favourite movies to watch for interior design inspiration. Marie Antoinette, directed by Sofia Coppola, is included in her edit because it’s the perfect watch “for the ultimate sumptuous, colourful, extravagant regal French interiors.” If you prefer more contemporary style, add Call Me By Your Name by Luca Guadagnino to your watch list. Lucy recommends it as its setting is “such an atmospheric and totally effortless Italian country villa that just oozes traditional Italian beauty and culture”. The London-based interior designer’s last pick is Nancy Myers’ Something’s Gotta Give. “Diane Keaton’s beach-front house in the Hamptons is the coastal home we’d all like to own and it is also very OKA,” Lucy says.

Pass us the remote, please.

Prioritise Self Care

Interior designer Henry Prideaux has also found inspiration and relaxation in television. He’s lost himself in cookery programmes for “a bit of escapism”. Bear in mind that not everything you read and watch has to benefit your work in some way. It’s important to create time for yourself and allow your brain to switch off from your job. Inspiration can strike at the most unexpected of times, however, so if you do happen to pick up ideas in your downtime, treat this as a bonus.

Henry sought comfort in revisiting his old CD collection: “after being swamped by media about the current pandemic, I’m conscious about trying to reduce the ‘noise’. I am rediscovering my CD collection and enjoying the associated nostalgia of listening to albums I forgot I had”.

Why not follow suit and don your headphones for a bit of a pick-me-up? Throw-backs, audio or otherwise, can do wonders for your mood.

The interior designer has also found inspiration in the book Good Vibes, Good Life, by Vex King, which is about “turning negatives into positives”, and The Perfect Kitchen by Barbara Sallick, which gave him ideas when he was renovating his kitchen.

Stepping away from the small screen and pages of his lockdown reads, Henry has created a compact workspace in the corner of his bedroom, hailing it as “the quietest room” which benefits from “lots of natural light”. This dedicated workspace also provided him with a “sense of normality”.

Create Your Dream Workspace

When it comes to transforming your workspace, Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock of design studio Turner Pocock also have you covered – tidy space, tidy mind, as the saying goes…

They share their expertise to help you get into the creative zone. If your client is looking to fashion a new home office, these tips also prove useful.

“If your WFH station is only temporary, make sure to buy furniture that you will easily be able to introduce into the rest of the house… do you really need a desk chair on wheels?” they ask.

They’re also fans of introducing a verdant touch: “plants are a perfect way to add life into an office environment, but we feel that flowers add a little more diversity… something we all need in the WFH world”.

If your current desk isn’t doing it for you, consider this advice from the design duo: “don’t overlook dining room tables as an option. Desks and dressing tables may come with built-in storage, but dining tables are made to look pretty on all four sides, and are easier to design around, especially if the desk is in the middle of the room, and not pushed against the wall.”

Lastly, to make your workspace cosier and less corporate, they say that “natural materials are key. Introducing leathers, woven materials and linens will help the space feel less like an office and more like a well-considered addition to the home”.

Looking for another quick read? Take a peek at our recent post on sourcing during the pandemic.