Enliven everyday life with an inspiration board

One of the things I really appreciate about The Creative Family, aside from the great practical ideas on how to create as a family, is the general mantra to keep beauty and creativity in your home. I believe Amanda advocates simple living in her own unique way, because the things she recommends are not things a family can do if they’re filled to the brim with television, too many after-school activities, and other busyness.

A complicated life doesn’t have time to slow down and create.

In order to create as a family, to make your home more beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing with your own creations, you have to make the time to do it.

That’s why for me, I set aside one block of time each week to create – just a few hours, really. Creating relaxes me, fuels me, and exercises my thinking. I can attest from experience that I am a better wife, mother, and friend when I take the time to be creative.

Now, “creating” can be a whole slew of things, which is really part of its beauty. The options are nearly endless if you’re searching for ways to imbibe a bit more creativity into your everyday family life. Right now, mine are:

  • sewing
  • writing
  • graphic design, and
  • decorating

These are the creative arts that tend to come easiest for me, so this is what I gravitate to when I need to relax and use my hands. Everyone is different, and we each have different skills and passions.

This brings me to one idea in The Creative Family I truly appreciate – an inspiration board. This is common practice in the interior decorating world, as well as many other fields of artistry. But Amanda suggests creating your own inspiration board in your home that you can let evolve and metamorphize over time, free of boundaries and limits. In short, this is a little area designated just for you to place the things that inspire you.

Mine is a simple bulletin board. I removed the cheap frame so that I was left with cork, and I wrapped it in sturdy denim fabric. It is propped against the wall of my desk, resting just behind my laptop – an ideal viewing area for me as I write and design.

Next – I simply hang what inspires me. I tend to thrive when I celebrate the seasons, so right now, mine has a very summery feel. I”m also itching for the fall already (yes, I know it’s July), so there are a few items that keep me jazzed about the upcoming cooler weather. There’s family photos, a snippet of typography I admire, Flickr photos I found and love, and magazine clippings that use great color and design. It might have a flower my daughter picks for me, a pretty wine label, or a quote I read and jotted down.

The beauty of inspiration boards are that:
There are no rules – whatever inspires you, go with it!

  • It’s free, or at least very cheap
  • It’s an easy creative outlet that has no end
  • It instantly adds color and art to your home
  • It’s a good idea for the whole family – Amanda advocates letting the kids have one, too

Your inspiration board can be anything – a cork board like mine, a wire with clothespins for hanging, an empty frame you hang on the wall and fill with whatever, a cookie sheet with magnets. Maybe even a refrigerator door.

The beauty of this idea is found in its simplicity. It forces you to slow down and appreciate beauty in everyday things, and then to enliven your home and make it more of a haven. It provides a sacred place for the things you find lovely, and are just waiting to blossom into something usefully creative. It aligns with my favorite quote and homemaking philosophy – “Have nothing in your home that you do not find to be beautiful or know to be useful” (William Morris). The things on my inspiration board, to me, are beautiful.

Do you have a space in your home designated soley for you? What do you do with it? If you don’t, does an inspiration board sound like something you’d enjoy? What’s keeping you from doing it?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I whole-heartedly agree with you about the need for long, unstructured periods of family time.

    We have made inspiration boards together as a family…the girls loved finding things to include in theirs and the conversation as we were making them was very insightful.

  2. @Mariah – That’s true. I love hearing why my 3-year-old finds something beautiful or interesting. Usually it’s a silly animal or something pink – some of her favorite things. 🙂

  3. I use a notebook to jot quotes that speak to me, ideas I want to remember, websites I want to bookmark when I get home, etc. I sometimes paste in clippings from magazines that I enjoy as well. It has become part planner, part journal and it’s something I always have nearby.

    I love the idea of an inspiration board! I have a file folder with clippings that speak to me from the magazines I get, I’m sure that will be the perfect source for much of my board…it will also allow me to reduce the growing “clutter” of the clippings I’ve been keeping by helping me find the ones I most enjoy and discarding the ones I can’t remember why I cut out in the first place 😉

    Steph @ Problem Solvin’ Moms last blog post..Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  4. @Steph – I have a file folder, too, but that’s more of my “idea file.” I clip and save photos of things I actually want to do, remember, or use as part of something I’m going to make. Like if a magazine has a photo of a room with a wall color I like, I’ll save it in the file if it’s a wall color I’d like to try in the future.

    If it’s a photo that inspires me in general, like the overall room and its color conveys something special to me – but I don’t necessarily intend to replicate it – then I’ll put it on my inspiration board.

  5. I use the painted panel wall of my sewing space to hold all of the pictures of things I want to sew or just think are pretty. One of my other general inspirations is the ME Home Companion. I just love to look at the pictures of artists and crafters studios, and at the end of the month I rip out the things that inspire me the most!

    Our family is far more creative and HAPPY when our tv is not in use! We have set up an art center in the dining room and the kids are creating on a daily basis!

    On another note– I just came to your site from SouleMama and LOVE it. Thanks for the downloads and wonderful articles! You will now be a daily read!

    HobbyMommys last blog post..100th Post Winner!

  6. We too are striving to have more simplicity. Life is so much more enjoyable when you don’t have to run around everywhere!

    Monicas last blog post..What is Frugal?

  7. I love this! I’m a very visual person, and have a bulging file of great “stuff” that I seldom take the time to look at. I think I even have a corkboard around here to do this today. Great project.

  8. I’m so excited about the idea of taking a cheap bulletin board (I often see them at the Goodwill) taking off the ugly frame and covering it with a pretty fabric. Thanks for the inspiration. Now I know how I’m going to incorporate an inspiration board into my home office.

    ninas last blog post..Tell me…(and a book post in disguise)

  9. Like you, I have a store bought cork board over my work space. I also have a few files folders labeled with things like “Ideas” with clipped things I think are pretty or want to make one day. I dig them out once a year or so and get inspired all over again.

    Jonah Lisas last blog post..Subscribe to The Toby Show!

  10. Thank you for the wonderful ideas. I have just made a post on my blog about your giveaway of Amanda’s “The Creative Family.” Thank you for the opportunity to win the book, and thanks for the simplifying inspiration!

    Gardenmamas last blog post..The Creative Family giveaway

  11. I love the idea of an inspiration board! Right now, we are working on our “vision” board — it has photos of our dream home and cars, back yard, the building my husband would love to buy for his dream business (which, thanks to Photoshop, now features his logo) and other tangible dreams. As a graphic designer and a lover of interior design, it makes sense for me to have an inspiration board, because it will help me find my center and identify the styles, colors, fabrics, patterns, photos, etc. that I really love and use often. The idea of an inspiration board actually “inspired” (no pun intended) my latest series, Green Rooms in a Box, which shows how you can achieve eco-friendly rooms within certain budgets. I’ve done living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms thus far, with kids’ rooms and nurseries to come. Check it out: http://www.greenyourdecor.com/?cat=1028

    That’s why I called it an “inspiration series”…because that’s what I want it to be for readers. And in fact, that’s what the series is for me, too 🙂

  12. I have a bulletin board where I hang up anything that catches my interest or anything that I need to remember. I like your idea of decorating it to match the season. You have a beautiful blog here.

  13. I’ve enjoyed having one, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me that kids would want one too. Great idea!

    Rachels last blog post..Welcome Get Rich Slowly Readers

  14. I do this but the format is more of a “Vision Journal” , along the lines of the “Dream Boards” you hear people talking about. I paste in words and pictures of things I want, goals I want to see come true.

    But recently I decided to do what you’re suggesting too. Oddly enough I saw a board like this in a movie, P.S. I Love You, and just loved the look of it. Then you blogged about it. Funny 🙂

    Carrie at Natural Moms Talk Radios last blog post..Natural Moms Podcast #91

  15. Oh, I was just getting my clips together for my own board. I love the photos you included. I have to get out my book again!

    Debs last blog post..Invisible Power

  16. Sounds like everyone has good ideas!

  17. Simplicity… I need more in my life. I will be coming back to your site for inspiration over & over. Even the look of it makes me calm.

    Heidis last blog post..Shout out to my girl

  18. elizabeth says:

    i have an inspiration board – though i’ve never called it that. it’s a cheap corkboard covered with project ideas, notes from friends, quotes (i just found a new one for it this morning!), lists of books i’d love to read, a funny drawing by my little girl – etc! 😀 i think i need one for each of my kiddos, too, so they can tack up pictures and snippets of things they love!

  19. As a follow up to my original comment and your response, do you have suggestions that work for you on how to organize the idea file you keep (other than to occasionally purge it, which I’m notorious for not doing well…sigh) I find mine gets too big and then it’s overwhelming.


    Stephs last blog post..Where has the summer gone?

  20. What a great idea! You know I always complain that I don’t have one single space for myself in our house. I have a couch in the corner of the playroom, but now where to show my personality. Making an inspiration board to hang (behing my couch) would be a great way to put my creativity in the space. I do crochet and paint sometimes, but not as much as I should. Thanks for the reminder to be creative!

    Kalisha @ Mommy Lounge´s last blog post…Mi Vida Loca! TT #4

  21. There are so many different lifestyle decisions, and your approach is a great start at simplicity. I created a Tech version, RSS feeds that were positive and spiritual to help ease my cluttered mind.

    LongLife´s last blog post…I got some problems regarding my son (16) and the thug lifestyle hes puttin out?

  22. thank you so much for mentioning this concept. i’ve used it in the past with a lot of effect and i want to try it again. thanks for jogging me towards doing it.

    3mily´s last blog post…christmas open house

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