Inspiration from Pottery Barn

Sometimes I surprise myself. I have nothing against Pottery Barn, but there isn't much that they've offered in the past that grabbed me. Same goes for Crate and Barrel, West Elm, and the other chains that fall into this category that I call mainstream decorating stores. They appeal to the masses, but for those of us that are a bit less typical in our approach to design, we tend to go elsewhere for most of our finds or we repurpose what we have.


But lately I started looking at my Pottery Barn catalog again. I'm liking how they're styling their rooms, the great paint colors they've rolled out to help many a home owner, and how they're incorporating a bit more pattern and variety into their collection. I still wouldn't buy a complete room-in-a-box from them because I'm far too eclectic and bossy -- I need to incorporate a lot of me into my home and not someone else's vision, but I don't think Pottery Barn is trying to sell you on an entire room these days. I'm seeing lots of things in their rooms that you can't buy in a PB store so seems they want us to mix it up a bit.

Know what else I'm liking about Pottery Barn lately? Their office furniture and accessories. The variety that they offer for the modern crafter or home office worker appeals to my taste because who wouldn't love a huge linen pinboard like this or to sit on the Ryden desk chair with such pretty trim? And the sofia chandelier would totally work in a petite bathroom. Or for $49, this darling teardrop chandelier is perfect for an entry (marked down from $129) or over a bedside table.

Next time you pick up a Pottery Barn catalog, really get into the rooms they show and try to figure out the mind of a stylist. It's a good exercise to help you spin your own creative wheels, especially helpful if you feel a bit rusty. Take for example this bedroom, the burst of these floral yellow branches coupled with a shot of pink at the foot of the bed looks really nice in this mostly neutral space. You can easily switch around these elements with each season with new colors to add a fresh new look to your bedroom. Simple swap out the flowers, a few pillows, and the throw. Try violet and green, violet and gray, blue and yellow, you get the idea. Another cool tip to steal from this room: the art over the bed. You can do something almost exactly like this by using your favorite wallpaper or fabric and mount it on wood or foam core.

Great example of a well styled wall. These objects all relate to one another via color and size and the groupings here are symmetrical. I remember learning years ago that in order to style a bookcase or shelf, you need to view it as a giant letter Z, in other words, the eye should follow the objects in that pattern, staggering from top to bottom. Interesting concept, isn't it?

Foo dogs! Yay! Now this is a leap for Pottery Barn and I like it. Although I'm not keen on the desk and chair, I do like the turquoise glass and that wall of photos pinned to it (to the right of the desk). It looks very random and I like that. The grouping over the window makes the space feel a little too cramped in my opinion, so I'd leave it alone, but that inspiration wall looks great.

This desk is the ultimate for the modern crafter or even interior designer because you can work either seated or standing and you have lots of places to store your tools. Huge flat space for cutting, sewing, hand drafting, etc. Very nice. I also like the brightly painted accent wall. The rug and those large pictures on the wall -- not so much. I'd put my inspiration board there so I'd have a spot for pinning everything.

This is a bit rustic for my taste but hello, did you see their doggy art wall? I mean an art wall in a Pottery Barn catalog? This is progress people. Maybe they found it all over on Etsy? :) Adorable. That tree coat rack isn't bad though, I would paint it some crazy color or go all white with it, I don't think black does it justice as you can't really see what it is against the dark wood walls.

This blue headboard is really, really pretty. And if you get sick of blue, you can paint it because for me, I don't feel nearly as guilty painting already painted furniture as I do painting over natural wood. I also picked up this idea here: if you're not into bedside table lamps, opt for a mini chandelier.

Rug? Pretty but not for me. Curtains? Ditto. Desk? Yes! Especially with all those pretty things arranged inside. A great workstation option for those with laptops and no dedicated room at home for an office. You can use this for working and then when you're finished, close up shop and no one will ever know that your china cabinet is doing double duty in your dining room. When you need to work, you can pull your dining room chair away from the table and open your cabinet and start visiting all of your favorite blogs again. ;)

This room is an example of what I meant earlier when I said that Pottery Barn is starting to mix color and pattern in unexpected ways. An animal print chair cushion with a modern floral blue rug? Although there's several things I'd alter in this room, I can't take my eyes off of that turquoise vase and those numbers. What is that anyway? A chalkboard? bag? calendar? I can't figure it out.

I really like the medium blue wall behind the bed, the lamp, and the idea of a small bedroom functioning as an office simply by swapping a nightstand with a desk and an ottoman. Great use for a spare bedroom too. The duvet scares me a little for an adult bedroom.

And for those that are a bit color confused, PB has this clever section on their website that I think is extremely beneficial because they feature many painted rooms with the wall colors identified so you can run out and buy it. They even have an entire section devoted to kid's rooms. Keep in mind that lighting plays a huge part in how these colors will look in your home, but still -- it's really helpful. There are 28 of their own Pottery Barn paint colors made exclusively for them by Benjamin Moore (great paint by the way) to choose from so you can click here to view them all.

(images from pottery barn)