By: Kelly Smith; Photos by Brooke Dennis and Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

Gathering inspiration offline is such an important process to keep things fresh and authentic. And best of all it, doesn’t have to cost a thing. Here are my top ten ways to find creative inspiration that don’t dive into your pockets.

  1. Take a walk outside. You might find inspiration from the things you see, the sounds you hear, or just the opportunity to clear your head from regular distractions.
  2. Hit up your local thrift shop or flea market. Look specifically for styles and textures that catch your eye. This is also a great opportunity to search for photo props.
  3. Visit with an older relative. Strike up a conversation that ignites your imagination. Ask them what life was like, what trends have stuck out in their minds, what romantic tales they are willing to share, and what home purchases have been their absolute favorite over the years.
  4. Look through magazines. Whether is is Anthropology, West Elm, or something you have never heard of but showed up in your mailbox somehow – look beyond the products and into the styling. Find the trends being portrayed and consider what you could incorporate into your aesthetic.  
  5. Watch a fave movie already in your collection. Have a notebook ready so that you can jot down favorite lines, sketch scenes, or gather thoughts to come back to later.
  6. Check out a flower shop or nursery. Get inspired by the textures, colors, and shapes found through nature.
  7. Hit the local library! This place is the jackpot for gathering loads of inspiration. Look through different categories of books – picture books, biographies, decorating, architecture, science, old magazines – or just walk through and take note of the building itself, the stacks of books, and the type of people inside.
  8. Local attractions. Sometimes we take for granted what is near to us. So go check out your local attractions with a fresh eye and listen to what the people around you are getting excited about – tap into what inspires them.
  9. Visit your favorite store. Look at the things that you are attracted to and think about what it is about them that you enjoy – the shape, the texture, the color, the mood.
  10. Look through photographs of yourself as a child – family vacations, birthday celebrations, time together as a family. Think about what inspired your interests, excited your daydreams, and encouraged your style.

So on days when you are feeling less than inspired, pick one of these options and you are sure to get back on track in no time at all.

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