Mind Mapping: How I Record Inspiration

I’ve recently gotten into podcasts and I’m in love. I started listening to a few geared toward women-led businesses and creative businesses (Christy Wright, After the Jump, Raise Your Hand Say Yes). Today while listening to an episode of After the Jump, hosted by the creator of Design Sponge, I heard an interesting but simple brainstorming technique that I wanted to try.
Katie Deedy of Grow House Grow was being interviewed, and she was explaining how she translates inspiration into literal form by using mind mapping. She uses this technique to create the patterns used in these beautiful wallpapers, tiles, and fabrics:

This last pattern was inspired by historical women in science. LOVE.

Essentially you write on a piece of paper the theme: she uses the example of the beach, I’ll use the example of a field. You start with your central theme in the middle, then branch out with correlating characteristics or relations. Keep branching off each one until you have a page full of ideas from which to draw. This is grade school brainstorming, but so useful! Clearly you can see in my drawing that it’s not difficult:


I quickly hashed this “field” idea out so you can get the idea. I didn’t try to confine my threads to things I thought would be applicable to design, though most are. Each item on there may not necessarily make sense to everyone, but you know what it means to you. I’m sure I will get better at the more I use it as a tool.

Since my passion is interior design, I want to take note of things that inspire me and use them as jumping points to create a space. Though I don’t think its bad to look to other interior photos as inspiration, I realized I come up with less personal & unique rooms this way. What if instead of only looking at a collection of photos, I started looking at things in life that give me the mood I want a room to feel like. For instance, when creating a bedroom, I would analyze what in my life makes me feel restful or calm. Maybe its a song, a place, an outfit, whatever. Creating a mind map of those things could help me see similarities and create a design plan from there. That way I don’t end up with a room that looks good in photos or is trendy but doesn’t have the right feel. 

Apparently I’m on an inspiration kick for no particular reason, so I also went for a walk by the river with my friend Keely. I am NOT a good photographer (most of the photos weren’t even fully focused ha!), but it was fun to use the camera as an excuse to pause and study things I’d normally overlook.




After our little park walk we stopped by a local antique store, and I snapped a few quick pictures just for future color & texture inspiration.


Love the blue/green in the back. All of those little keys were wooden!


And this green…how pretty is it with the little bead details?!

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AHHH THESE CHAIRS. Except they are $600 and rusted on the bottoms.

I suppose all this talk about inspiration comes from the desire to not regurgitate the creativity of somebody else. Now, I have NO problem with being inspired by others’ styles or sources! I think relying on each other is a great thing. Rather, it is important to me to try and make a space that embodies a feeling or mood rather than striving to be pretty or trendy. I don’t want to produce the same thing as somebody else; it makes one of us useless.

Do any of you have a method from which you begin to plan a space or whatever creative endeavor you take to? I’d be interested to hear them!

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About Briana

Hey! I'm Briana, the author behind this blog.

I'm a self-taught interior designer from South Carolina who loves sweet tea, cats, and open windows on a nice day.

If you prefer a home with soul and life over a "perfect" home, then browse on my friend.