Design More by Letting the Past Breathe

Have you ever stopped and contemplated that maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves to “Create, Create, Create?” When we obsess with drawing out hidden, introspective inspiration from ourselves, we often forget about revisiting impressions from our personal and cultural past.

These inspirations and desires are generally romanticized and revered, but often seen just as that – passive, nostalgic themes of yesterday. The changing landscape of expression caused by technology and social media also lends itself to this trend, for we are easily swept up solely by recent and digitized communication.

We can help give credence to our artistic ancestors (both internal and external) by incorporating their taste and design into our modern lives:

1. Pick a traditional school of thought or time period and let it inspire you to refurbish beautiful antique furniture. For example, restore a French armoire motivated by Sartre, or a Victorian bookcase provoked by Dickens. Go online to find the right piece of antique furniture.

Antique Furniture

2. Unearth your favorite family heirloom and incorporate it into your current design as a bold “new” centerpiece. Here are some tips to incorporate completely unique antiques flawlessly into your decor.

Antique Decor

3. Take a look in the mirror and dig up an old piece of your own artwork. Whether it’s from elementary school or college, try to recall that time in your life and extract feelings from your past, but in new form. Incorporate the piece itself into your current space, or use it as a muse for a deeply-rooted new creation.

4. Do your relatives have old artwork you’re keeping in storage? Shake off the dust and let it see the light of day. This will strengthen the connection to your past and give a more visual depth of meaning to your living space.

5. Draw inspiration from your old journal entries, writing and poetry (pre-social media). We become so entangled in the current-drama in our lives that we often forget the struggles and happiness we met on the road to get here. Revisiting these thoughts and emotions can help break down the barriers of “creativity block” and motivate us to create new content based on our personal journey.