Where We Find Inspiration

Day to Day

We'd like to share a few of the places we often look for inspiration during these cold winter months. We hope our examples will help to wash away any January blues...

We’d like to share a few of the places we often look for inspiration during these cold winter months. We hope our examples will help to wash away any January blues!


Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a paintbrush. We find this an accessible and easy way to start thinking differently about colour and form. Staring at a blank piece of paper and expecting a masterpiece to come to you is not the way to go. We always recommend getting out and about to sketch and paint things in person. You never know where that drawing will take you and what it might inspire! Our friend and artist SJ Axelby began painting interior schemes in lockdown. Her delicate watercolours capture every detail of a room. She then compiled these paintings into a wonderful book. You can find signed copies of her book ‘Interiors Portraits’ at Shop Kit Kemp.

If you are looking for inspiration at home to liven up a room or bring an old piece of furniture back to life, painting is also a great way to do so. The joy of paint is that it’s not permanent and you can change your mind as much as you like. At our Design Studio we love to paint antique furniture to give pieces a new lease of life. Approaching this with no design or style in mind can be daunting, so the brilliant Annie Sloan has created various Stencil Gift Kits. The kits come with Annie Sloan ChalkPaint, design tips and stencils that can be used multiple times.

Our ‘Tasha’s Trip‘ fabric for Christopher Farr is a great example of how flowers and foliage have inspired our designs. Here it is seen in room 1101 at Crosby Street Hotel.

The Great Outdoors

Going for a walk in the countryside, (when the weather allows!) is a great place to find inspiration. Take a sketchbook with you and start drawing what is around you. The varying shapes of trees, leaves, flowers and animals are used in our work all the time. Other times, just going for a walk and taking some deep breaths of fresh air is all that’s needed to return to the studio brimming with new ideas. It’s a good chance for us to take the pups for a walk too!

We couldn’t forget our Rockin’ Robin light collection with Porta Romana. Each design has a branch-like frame, softened with organic twine, accompanied by a beautifully crafted funky robin and a glorious warm glowing egg. If it wasn’t hanging from the ceiling you might think you stumbled across this in the woods!

We also collected a selection of cards with various costume designs printed on them. These were hung from a rustic piece of wood. Find our ‘dos and don’ts’ for creating collections here.

Collage and Collecting

Sometimes even the most mundane of objects can become an interesting focal point when grouped together in a collection. This could be anything from magazine pages, a selection of your favourite colours, glass jars, stamps or cards. For WOW!house at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, we created a Day Room and filled an entire wall with Mimi de Biarritz’s cardboard hats, placed on Perspex shelves.

In 1916, surrealist Jean Arp developed a technique called ‘Chance Collages’. This is where he tore paper in rough shapes and dropped them from a height onto a large piece of paper. He would then stick these pieces onto a larger piece of paper, creating an artwork. These shapes can inspire new designs for fabrics or even new colour combinations.

Something New

We love to read and what better way to feel inspired than by images of beautiful interiors. Here are just a few of the books we are looking forward to getting stuck into…

Living in Colour : Colour in Contemporary Interior Design by Phaidon Editors, with texts by colour historian Stella Paul and interior designer India Mahdavi

Interior Affairs: Sofia Aspe and the Art of Design by Sofia Aspe and Cristina Morozzi

Atlas of Interior Design by Dominic Bradburn

Where do you find your inspiration? Share your sources with us on Instagram @KitKempDesignThread.