As a visual person and design lover, Pinterest has always been one of my favorite social media outlets to explore, compile, and share images. I have a type-A personality and like to be very organized, so compiling ideas and imagery into specific boards is something I really enjoy doing. It feels much more organized than my other social platforms. I use boards to document my personal journey in design, like: things I shared on the blog, resources for things found throughout my home, renovation specific boards (before images, resources, DIY projects, progress, the reveal, etc), and I even have a board filled with the images I share on Instagram. Aside from my Room for Tuesday boards, like everyone else (if it wasn’t already obvious in my “10 Pins” series)– I love compiling design inspiration and using Pinterest as a tool. It has turned into such a fun, creative space for me, but I often hear people say Pinterest, in general, feels overwhelming. It’s pretty easy to get sucked in and feel like you’ve gathered allll the inspiration, but then feel overwhelmed when it’s time to apply different ideas to your home. As a designer, I thought I could help you translate Pinterest into real life, and decipher why it’s so important to be intentional about WHAT you gather and more importantly, WHY. Click through for some tips on making the most of Pinterest and ways to apply your saved inspiration to your own home.
Find Your Personal Style
If you haven’t quite figured out your personal aesthetic (or the overall style of your home), Pinterest is a great way to understand what you love and gravitate toward. Begin by looking through your home interior inspiration boards, keeping an eye out for repetitive elements… do you see more warm or cool tones? Neutral paint or bold colors? Do you see modern, minimal spaces or traditional vignettes? Is it more of a mix? Maybe your aesthetic is very eclectic. By understanding what you like (and don’t like), you’ll be ready to design, implement, and tackle projects in your preferred aesthetic. It’s also a good self reflection exercise that can help you better define your style, so when the time comes to makeover a room or explain your aesthetic and preferences to designers or contractors, you’ll be equipped and ready!
Search Wide, Then Narrow It Down
When you’re looking for inspiration, you shouldn’t restrict yourself at first. Let yourself go a bit wild and gather images that catch your eye or give you that feeling you’re looking for. Most people automatically know when an image feels good or attractive to them (pin that one!). The tricky part is knowing WHY you like it. Sometimes I even find myself pinning things that aren’t necessarily my aesthetic, but they spark ideas I can apply within my own home.
For example, when we were designing our kitchen, functionality was super important to us. I really wanted to squeeze the maximum amount of functionality out of our kitchen, so planning everything down to the cabinetry inserts was a must. I made a list of things I wanted to include, based on a serious Pinterest search. I uncovered cabinet features I didn’t even know existed… like our built-in knife block. I pulled that idea from a kitchen that looks TOTALLY different than ours and isn’t even close to being “my style”, but that little knife block was the coolest thing I had seen, and I knew it would be wonderful in our own kitchen. All of that to say, Pinterest was a great way to not only gather inspiration, but it helped me compile a detailed list of features I knew I wanted to include when the time came for me to meet with my Lowe’s cabinetry specialist. It’s a good way to gain knowledge and product info, without having to visit a design showroom or display.
On another occasion, Emmett and I were on vacation and I fell in love with a vintage glass door in our hotel bathroom. The glass had the most beautiful texture! I knew I wanted some sort of textural glass for our kitchen cabinets. After some time on Pinterest, I finally narrowed it down and discovered that I prefer reeded glass after seeing it in so many different applications. It’s nice to be able to see how materials translate in the wild.
Pinterest gives us a unique opportunity to see how these types of things translate in actual homes. My point being- begin by searching wide, then narrow it down and use keywords to better discover specific design elements you’re into.
Be Realistic (About Your Home & Budget)
You may be inspired by an image with a library ladder in the kitchen (guilty!), but your kitchen might not have the room or ceiling height to include that particular element. It’s important to be realistic with yourself in terms of the square footage you have to work with- and your budget. Certain things you see on Pinterest might not transfer well to your home, and if I’m being honest- lots of things probably aren’t even feasible. Instead of being bummed, figure out why you’re attracted to the library ladder in the kitchen image, in the first place. Is it the vintage wood tone of the ladder against colored cabinetry? If so, figure out a way to pull natural wood elements into your bold kitchen cabinets… perhaps a drip rail? Or an island? Do you like the height of the ladder that leads your eye upward? Maybe you brainstorm adding a slender bank of cabinetry that runs from floor to ceiling. Or maybe you just dig a pretty ladder. Would it better fit your budget if you used a readymade ladder towel rack in the bathroom, instead of having a custom one made for your kitchen?
See what I’m doing here? This realistic mindset also helps you prioritize what is best for YOUR home and budget.
Apply Inspiring Elements To Your Space
So you’ve saved loads of images you found inspiring, you’ve organized your boards, you’ve figured out what images you’re most attracted to and why, AND you’re in the realistic mindset as to how you can apply that to your own space… now what? Make it happen! It’s time to make your home a place you love just as much as those beautiful photos you pinned! Where do you start? If you’re already on Pinterest, in addition to inspiration- I also find it to be a great shopping resource. In sticking with the ladder example, search “bathroom towel ladder” and prepare to be amazed with lots of product options, DIY project tutorials, and more inspiration on that topic.
I also create secret boards for my shopping lists (because I’m sure nobody wants to see those). For each room renovation, I compile allllll of the products I plan to purchase or use in a single board. It helps me see all of the products together (almost like a moodboard), and it also gives me a resource to use if I ever need to click back into each product for specs, share the resource link with you all, or place another order (like I’m about to do for more marble tile for our basement, argh). I’ll also pin resources like paint colors, so I can always refer back to my secret board, like a digital master file for the room specifications. Even though it gets a lot of flack, Pinterest is a really amazing, handy, FREE tool we should be taking advantage of.
If I’m not working on a room renovation, but see something I like- I’ll pin it to a specific resource board (lighting, plumbing fixtures, furniture, paint colors, etc) to reference later. Who knows… maybe I’ll want to incorporate that gorgeous faucet that popped up in my feed yesterday into our future master bathroom. It’s worth pinning, just in case!
If you’re interested in checking out some of my Pinterest boards, I thought I’d make some lists for you below…
Personal / Room for Tuesday Boards…
- ON THE BLOG
- SHOP MY HOUSE
- INSTA INTERIORS (as seen on @roomfortuesday IG)
- OUR KITCHEN RENOVATION
- PREVIOUS KITCHEN RENOVATION
- BASEMENT BATHROOM RENOVATION
- MY HOUSE (as seen on the blog)
- ONE ROOM CHALLENGE BATHROOM
- ONE ROOM CHALLENGE LAUNDRY ROOM
- ONE ROOM CHALLENGE FORMAL LIVING ROOM
Interior Design Boards…
- KITCHEN DESIGN
- BATHROOM DESIGN
- LAUNDRY ROOM DESIGN
- DINING ROOM DESIGN
- ENTRYWAY DESIGN
- OFFICE DESIGN
- BAR DESIGN
- HALLWAY DESIGN
- FIREPLACE DESIGN
- KIDS ROOM + NURSERY DESIGN
- BEDROOM DESIGN
- CLOSET DESIGN
- MEDIA ROOM DESIGN
- LIVING ROOM DESIGN
- HOME GYM DESIGN
- INTERIOR DESIGN + DECOR
- ARCHITECTURE + MILLWORK
- PET DECOR + DESIGN
- STORAGE, SHELVES, + STYLING
- STAIRCASE DESIGN
- MOUNTAIN CABIN
- BEACH HOUSE
Exterior Design Boards…
Design Resource Boards…
- LIGHTING (lamps, sconces, ceiling lights, etc)
- FURNITURE + DECOR
- PLUMBING FIXTURES
- WINDOW TREATMENTS
- ART + PAINTINGS
- PAINT COLORS
Miscellaneous Boards (Things I Just Like)…
- PLANTS + GARDENING
- RECIPES + FOOD
- DIY PROJECTS
- CAMPER RENOVATION
- BEAUTY + HAIR
- FASHION + WARDROBE
- FLORAL DESIGN
- PATTERN + PRINT
- COCKTAIL RECIPES
- MUST LOVE DOGS
- WISE WORDS + QUOTES
- TRAVEL + ADVENTURE
- DESIGN + TYPOGRAPHY
Do you love Pinterest as much as I do? I hope those tips help you feel inspired and ready to tackle your next project! Speaking of which, we are moving right along on our basement bathroom and are focused on finishing up the shower wall tile tonight and tomorrow. You can see all the live updates on my IG stories!
PeggiFebruary 12, 2020 at 4:43 am
Great advice! I’m still trying to help Pinterest understand me. (Hey, it’s a tough job.🤣) I think some of my problem must be search terms. I tried “Laundry room wallpaper” or “dark laundry room” and felt like I got meh results. Do you change your search terms or go to one image and use the “more like this” feature? I do love to create individual boards for projects, but I had never thought to use it like a resource binder of all the products. So smart! Do you go through and reorganize and remove images regularly? I am very guilty of pinning images and then never going back to look at them! Just curious. Are you on Pinterest every day? How much of your time on there is for a specific purpose and how much is just for fun? I feel like you’re my Pinterest sensei, and I’m here for your wisdom!💖 Thanks for sharing!
SarahFebruary 12, 2020 at 8:55 pm
I can help! It’s not your search terms… you can start by searching something specific, then you only have to find ONE image you like. When you click into that image, scroll down and it will share similar images. I find that way of searching best while I’m curating my feed, while Pinterest learns what I like. It also helps to save things. If you’re just looking, it can’t read your mind… so actually pinning the good stuff will help your feed. I know that’s a lot of work though and it does take time. Great questions :) I never remove any images, but I do organize often. I also go back to look at what I’ve pinned- I think it’s so much fun. It’s like looking at my very own magazine (I like every single thing in it because I put it there, ha). I am on Pinterest everyday (except weekends). I pin blog post images Mon-Fri (for work), but then after I’m done with those, I spend about 30 minutes perusing just for fun / myself. Idk why it is so FUN for me. Ha! Hope this helped!! xo
LaurenFebruary 12, 2020 at 6:50 am
These are the best tips!! I had saved a ton of home inspiration on my various boards. After about a year I went back to look at those in their entirety, and was able to narrow it down to my personal style, by deleting things that either wouldn’t work in my current home, or didn’t fit the look or feel I want to capture. Once I’ve narrowed things down I’ll go back and organize the board. I find it helpful to modify the description when I save…I keep the initial description, but I’ll add “bathroom window” to the top as a reference point for myself and why I saved it in the first place. I love Pinterest! It’s such a helpful tool! Thanks for sharing these tips!!
SarahFebruary 12, 2020 at 8:48 pm
Yay!! So glad to hear it, Lauren! Such a great point on updating the pin description. On my secret boards for design projects (and products)- I’ll often leave notes. For example, I just notated on our tile that we’re using 1/16″ spacers with charcoal colored grout (in case we ever need to replace or touch something up). I love your idea of noting what space the idea resonates with. Hope you’re having a wonderful week :) xo
CarissaFebruary 12, 2020 at 11:06 am
I’m a Pinterest lover! I find it way easier than instragram or any other source for design. I have Boards I pin to for House Design and then Sections by Area (Kitchen, Master Bedroom, etc). I think I need to look more into the WHY I like things, because I really like a lot of different designs, but haven’t been able to “pin” down (see what I did there haha) the WHY behind it to find my specific style.
SarahFebruary 12, 2020 at 8:42 pm
Me too! I feel like we have the same idea / workflow, Carissa! I like sectioning mine off too. Wider categories, as well as narrow ones. It really is helpful to look back and ask yourself “why” you pinned something. I think it really helps you understand what you like and makes it easier to define your aesthetic. AND- I see what you did there :) so clever!! xo
ArdithFebruary 13, 2020 at 6:46 am
This is an absolutely excellent post, Sarah, all around. You even give me back some of the admiration I once had for Pinterest. That’s saying a lot. Once upon a time I loved Pinterest, for its sense of community as much as its aesthetic. I could actually have conversations with other pinners. But ever since the brainiacs behind the site decided to commandeer my home feed and inject unwanted pins ad nauseum, that community is long gone. For me it simply became a collection of ideas and pretty things. Sigh.
But as I say, you have breathed new life into it for me, so thank you. Now I’m off to pin your energizing insights. Cheers, Ardith XOX
P.S. Did I ever mention that the modern style of a certain someone’s prior home may have played a role in that of our new home?
SarahFebruary 13, 2020 at 11:03 am
Thank you, Ardith! Pinterest is such an underrated tool and platform (in my opinion). I’m happy to have inspired you to give it another try :) … and I’m also ecstatic to hear that our previous home helped inspire yours- that makes me feel so good. Thank you! I hope you’re having a wonderful week. xo
Elena KaloupekFebruary 13, 2020 at 10:42 am
I totally use Pinterest as a design spec tool, too! I have a secret board per project, and use the pin tool on my browser to source things all over the net and pin them in different categories in my board, and then create a category that is for all my final sources. Seeing the final picks together as I go is super helpful, but I also like to have a place I can put all my research, and I find myself going back to it for other projects, too. Shoot, what a great tool.
SarahFebruary 13, 2020 at 10:53 am
Same! It’s super handy for keeping everything organized and seeing all of the products and specs in one place. My thoughts exactly! I’m glad I’m not the only one who takes advantage of it, Elena! :) have a great day! xo
JenniferFebruary 16, 2020 at 9:07 am
So eloquently said and so right!! You even take it a step farther with your sub categories and I LOVE it! I dont currently use mine as a resource list but will now for sure. Thank you for writing this to explain what I love about it so well! :)
SarahFebruary 17, 2020 at 10:32 am
Thanks Jennifer! I’m so happy the post was helpful :) Happy pinning! xo