pink and blue living roomYou guys know how much I love finding inspiration from my travels for home design. This approach to decorating was at the heart of my second book, Dream Décor. I love how you can discover, and be inspired by, fresh colors, patterns and textures wherever and whenever you travel. They are often so different from what you see in your everyday life that means they are perfect to bring home to us as they can be great catalysts to rejuvenate your home and, well, make your smile on the daily! My friends over at Grandin Road and I ran a competition where we asked a follower to submit a picture from their travels that I would use an inspiration to design a real life room. I’m so exicted to share this with you as I think this example really shows how you can be walking around on your vacation taking pictures and then use that as a jumping off point for all the design elements used to build a room. Let’s dive in and see the travel picture and then I will breakdown how the room came together from the winning photo that was taken in Miami by and blue living room1. Color

One of the first things that immediately stood out to me from the Miami travel picture were the colors, I loved how the pink and the blue played off one another so well. I think travel is a great way to see unexpected color combinations, especially in more exotic destinations as you tend to see bolder and braver examples of color. This courtyard is brimming over with energy and life thanks to these two colors: they feel clean, fresh but not at all cold. You can see in the living room how I used the same colors but in different ways. The travel photo depictured an outdoor courtyard which is a great place to be bold and so it used pink for the primary palette. However, as I translated the palette to the living room, where often you want to relax and recharge, I decided to make blue the primary color and accent with the pink. This helped to create a palette that was at once colorful and calming. I used blue as the main color by painting the built in shelves a shade of blue inspired from the photo, and also using through cushions to bring in splashes of hue to the couch. The pink accents were introduced in the lamp and flowers to break up the blue and provide a fun, fresh contrast. What I also love about this living room is that it shows you how easy it is to update a room from travel inspiration. Simply by painting a wall, introducing some new accessories and placing a new lamp, and you can transform a room.

2. Pattern

The next part of the travel photo I took inspiration from was the pattern. I loved the graphic blue and white patterned tile in the photo – it is so eye-catching and graphic. Therefore, in the room we brought in graphic framed block prints which are perfectly arranged in a four. I love how the different patterns play off one another so strikingly. If your eye was drawn to the blue and white tiles in the photo and they made you smile, why not look for blue and white accessories too! It doesn’t just have to be art. In fact, I also used the color and pattern inspo. from the travel photo as my guide when choosing the Olivia rug for the space. The blue and white pattern is a perfect fit!pink and blue living room3. Plants

Photos from your travels will often include plants yet when it comes to home décor lots of people forget to add greenery to their space. The large potted plant in the travel photo brings so much texture, warmth and a sense of life to the courtyard – so it’s the perfect point of inspiration for bringing a plant into a living room. You will see in the living room setup we brought in large plant to reflect that in the travel picture. A great tip for large indoor plants is to place them inside a basket, such as these chevron ones, as it makes the pot less harsh and feels more at place indoors. Plus, it’s such a lovely addition of tactility to the room. I much prefer real plants but don’t forget there are some amazing artificial plants too like this fig tree!

4. Atmosphere

Lastly, this travel picture really captures the essence of the courtyard: a space that’s light, bright, vibrant and relaxing all rolled into one. It’s important when designing from a travel photograph not to forget about the ‘atmosphere’ element. Perhaps the accommodation or restaurant you were visiting made you feel cozy, relaxed or even rejuvenated? Well, take a look at the materials and textures used as they play a huge part in helping to create that atmosphere! To bring the feeling of this travel photo into the room I used the Pemba Cocktail Ottoman made from natural cattail which brings a beautiful texture and warmth to the room.

I really enjoyed breaking this travel photo down and using it as inspiration to design this pink and blue living room. Let me know what you think and what inspiration for your home you have found when traveling! P.S. You can shop everything from the living room I designed right here.


Will Taylor

Will lives in NYC and is an interior design author and content creator. He's been blogging about his love of design, style and travel since 2009. His #MakeYouSmileStyle approach to decorating and dressing has inspired over one million Instagram uploads to the hashtag from followers across the world.


  1. Catherine B Reply

    Hi Will

    My husband and I try to bring home a piece from each of our vacations. We just came back from Morocco with some wonderful souk rugs that I plan to layer in our living room. Great inspiration here as always.



    • @Catherine – Ohhhh I’ve always wanted to visit Morocco. I bet the markets are incredible, and love your plans for the layered souk rugs!

  2. Leslie-Anne Reply

    OMG! I love this room. You used pink and blue and it was so unexpected. I wish I could just wiggle my nose and have it!

  3. Oh, dear! That’s so amazing – love the colors. So gentle and yet, they do have this “exotic traveler” vibes.

  4. Pingback: 10 Inspirational Pink and Blue Interiors | Flamingo Cocktail

  5. Hey Will, I enjoyed by reading your blog. I also travel a lot, but as you find inspiring ideas for home decor are very impressive and make a change from a trendy look. And how colors change the complete look. I found the pictures really good- pink, and blue is an unexpected and great combination that looks good on the wall and living room. I can see how the same color combination is used differently, and it gives a different look. Greenery also plays a very vital role and I place many indoor plants and put fresh flowers every day in my living room and bedroom that makes me fresh and give positive vibes for the whole day.

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Hey, I'm Will

Welcome to Bright.Bazaar, my make-you-smile style corner of the internet. I’ve been sharing my love of beautiful design, feel-good homes, everyday style, inspiring travel and, pretty much everything in between, since 2009. As well as working as a content creator, I write interior design books and edit a bi-weekly e-newsletter called Smile Mail. I live in New York City with my heartmate and can often be found listening to Madonna’s Confessions album and dreaming up my next home renovation project.