I’m heading to New Orleans this weekend to celebrate my best friend and bride-to-be; and as much as I’m looking forward to the much-needed girl time, I’m also feeling ready to be inspired. I find myself most energized when I’m surrounded by old architecture, eclectic styles, interesting foods, and new experiences. Oftentimes I return from a trip with the urge to refresh my home with design ideas I picked up while traveling. Restaurants, homes I visit, museums, boutiques, and the overall feel of a city fill me up with inspiration to tide me over until the next opportunity I have to travel. Where do you go to get inspired?

Instruments as art – The walls of the rooms and the parlor at the Henry Howard Hotel in New Orleans’ Garden District are all adorned with musical instruments. Of course this is perfect for the birthplace of jazz, but I’m sure many of us are inspired by music in all of its forms. If you have an old instrument that’s been gathering dust in a closet since high school (guilty) try giving it new life by hanging it up as a piece of art.

Indoor garden – The entire city of New Orleans feels like a garden. The garden culture just might be why I love it so much. Indoors blend with the outdoors in this city, and tropical plants climb the walls and cemeteries, thriving in the heat and humidity. You can bring the look home by hanging Boston ferns on your front patio or in the corner of a room. They look like exploding fireworks and are fairly reasonably priced for the statement they can make in a room.

Outdoor furniture inside – Another way to blend the lines between outdoors and indoors is to use garden patio furniture inside. If you live in a place like Texas that’s too hot to lounge on the patio for most of the year, this is a great solution. We’ve seen this done beautifully with peacock rattan furniture and the Acapulco chair, and you can do the same with outdoor sofas like this striped one. If you’re someone who’s rough on your furniture, the fabric and materials of these pieces are typically sturdier as they’re made to stand up to the elements.

Antiques – New Orleans is a treasure trove for antiques. Mix an antique mirror or chandelier (or pieces that look the part) to capture that French Quarter feel. I have my fingers crossed that I’ll find a small memento on this trip to remember it by.

*Sources: inspiration photo the Henry Howard Hotel parlor, photographed by Alison Gootee, chandelier FlorenceAntiqueDecor, Boston fern Home Depot, poster Jazz Fest, tuba Latelierbellelurette, chair One Kings Lane, vase Bulletin, mirror Overstock, striped sofa CB2

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