I have been religiously watching my fave designer, Sarah Richardson, for over eight years now. She has had several shows on HGTV, and has recently been airing shows on how to reno a home "Sarah-Style." ("Sarah-Style" translates loosely to "the best design you've ever seen-style") Essentially, Sarah is famous for her transcendent designs. That is, they transcend the realm of "amazing" into the realm of "perfect." I realize I am gushing, but really...she's the best.
Exhibit A: The Living Room
Exhibit B: The Dining Room
Exhibit C: The Master Bedroom
I really could go on and on, but you can clearly see where I am going with this. She makes neutrals look so bold with the use of pattern and texture, and her designs are very classic...you know they'll still be beautiful in 10 years (good thing too, cuz you'll have spent a mint on them!)
My design inspiration comes from her principles (she has a design column in the Globe and Mail), and of course from pictures of her exquisite work. I really hope that my apartment is even half as beautiful as any of the rooms she creates.
The best design advice I have gleaned from her show came as an off-handed comment she made in one of her episodes. She said that when she is envisioning a project, she actually creates the finish project in her mind, and works from that. As a non-designer, that was totally a novel idea to me...Until that point, I had just been adding random pieces to my decor and praying that they fit...Hopefully this time everything will turn out as a result.