As a sequel of sorts to my 'Picture Perfect' post, I don't completely avoid lovely photos. I try hard to squelch the jealousy and instead use those pictures to inspire my own pursuits here at home. I started with the first photo, evolved to the second one and later this spring, I managed this:
Well this is my version of the look. I currently have a nice crop of basil in one pot and I keep trying to get mint or parsley to grow in the bucket nearest the steps...Not having much luck with that at present I'm afraid.
Now looking at the first photo, I note that the containers are combined in a closer formation, something I should do in my own version of the flower bed. My bed is slightly irregular in shape just as the inspiration photo, and well mulched. I got that right as well. I didn't have flat stones to use as bases for the pots but I did put down bricks to use as lifts. There's not quiet enough variety in height in my items either, but over time perhaps I can alter my look a bit further. I also need to tweak my plantings so that I have more texture and color than I do at present. These are things I can easily work on without spending a great amount of money. In fact, I've moved the containers closer to each other already. It allowed me to roll the water hose up at that end of the bed and not have it lying on the lawn. Water hoses never seem to make it into inspiration photos...
Another way I use inspiration photos is to try to beef up my wardrobe. I start with a Pinterest or Polyvore photo such as this one:
Then I take pieces I have already in my wardrobe and put them together like this:
You'll note that I don't have the gray flats nor did I have the green bead earrings (or nail polish) but I did have a green glass necklace and bracelet and the textures of the Inspiration Photo purse is balanced by the texture of the wide ruffles on my own purse. The greens used are very similar in color as well and so while the look isn't exact, it is very similar. I created the look for less using what I had.
You can do the same in décor as well. I admit, most of my décor inspirations and my realities are worlds apart. I can seldom find exactly what I wish to recreate from an inspiration photo in an affordable version but now and then I manage to pull off a look that pleases me even if it's not as closely related as my garden areas or my outfit inspirations.
I do the same with my hair and makeup inspirations as well. If I see a photo I like, I try to recreate a similar look. My current hairstyle is not an exact duplicate of the inspiration photo I carried into the salon, but the short cut is close enough and flatters me and my facial features. I like my current style so well that I chose to carry it through the cooler months, which I've not done before, preferring to let my hair grow out when it's colder. Two years later, I am still very happy with my look and don't have current plans to change it.
A few years ago I walked into a department store with lovely table settings. I was blown away by the aqua colored glasses and chargers with white plates on the table...And boy did I want that look. It took perhaps a month or two but I found at a dollar store an acrylic charger in the same translucent aqua color and acrylic stemmed glasses. I snapped them up in a heart beat and for $8 soon had my table looking almost as lovely as that pricey one at the department store if not exactly the same. I only had Grandmama's set of white ironstone plates and not fine china but it was close enough. It made me smile every single time I walked into the dining room, because of course, being so pleased with it, I kept the table set almost all the time...I spent a lot of time washing, drying and resetting that table, but it was worth the little bit of happy it gave me.
So the next time a photo, a mannequin, or a table setting catches your eye, rather than let envy get hold of you, try to decipher what is attracting you. Then determine how you can use that attraction to create something similar in your own home or wardrobe. Let it be a source of inspiration, not a tool of punishment!