Problem Solving and Interior Design

Inherent in the interior design process is the process of problem solving. When faced with a design problem, an interior designer must draw from their creativity and experience to come up with solutions which exude beauty and wonder. An interior designer must be focused on form and function, aesthetics and functionality, as they approach an interior project. Every design project involves unique design problems which need to be solved with creativity and innovation. light bulb

To solve a design problem, a designer must have a collection of ideas and inspiration stored away. This collection must be compiled before a design problem occurs; this collection is built on a daily basis. To build a collection of inspiration and creative ideas, a designer needs to spend time daily looking for inspiration and creative ideas. The designer also needs to find a way to store these ideas for later use; this storage process could include a journal, online document, or note taking device which stores creative ideas. This is the hardest part of collecting ideas, but being disciplined in recording and keeping good ideas is the key to creative problem solving. Creatives, innovators, and artists have been using this process of collecting inspiration for centuries. Check out what several artists have to say on the topic of inspiration.


Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.

Jim Jarmusch

A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

T.S. Eliot

Most artists are brought to their vocation when their own nascent gifts are awakened by the work of a master. That is to say, most artists are converted to art by art itself. Finding one’s voice isn’t just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses. Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.

Lewis Hyde

If an artist may say nothing except what he has invented by his own sole efforts, it stands to reason he will be poor in ideas. If he could take what he wants wherever he could find it, as Euripides and Dante and Michelangelo and Shakespeare and Bach were free, his larder would always be full, and his cookery might be worth tasting.

RG Collingwood

Every idea is a juxtaposition. That’s it. A juxtaposition of existing concepts.

Steven Grant

By collecting design inspiration and storing it away, we can be prepared to face design problems that come our way. Inspiration can be found everywhere we look; from a walk in the park, to a trip to an art museum, to songs on a playlist, to a good book, we can find inspiration in any place. The key is collecting this information so we can have it ready when we need it.


Another important way to solve problems is combining ideas or inspiration from various mediums which may be seemingly unconnected. For example listening to music, going to a sporting event, visiting a nature museum, or visiting a new restaurant, could spark creativity and inspiration which leads to a solution to a design problem. The key is being open to inspiration from any source; by being open minded, we can find inspiration when we need it.

This kind of creative collection takes a different approach in our daily routine; we must learn to notice the small things in our daily lives. This may involve people watching on the subway, taking time to view our surroundings during our morning commute, or even going on a shopping trip. Inspiration can be found in fashion stores, parks, and restaurants; it can be found in art museums, sporting arenas, and music concerts. As we keep our eyes open to creativity, we will begin to notice things others do not notice. We will begin to see the world with fresh ideas; we will collect creative ideas for design problems on a daily basis. When we are faced with a design problem, we will have a wealthy of ideas to find creativity and solutions. By looking through our creative journal and collections of inspirational ideas, we will have solutions others do not have. The daily practice of finding inspiration and storing away creative ideas will cause us to find design solutions which delight and inspire.