Saturday, 3 July 2010

How to find and save kitchen inspiration

When I'm not thinking about refurbishing the kitchen, most of my life is spent being a bit of a digital information junkie - both in my work and my spare time. So when we decided to start looking for ways to update and improve our kitchen, I started to research it in the same way as my other projects, using some handy internet tools.

Finding inspiration:

Blogs: Blogs are great ways to find new inspiration. Not only are they written by other people who are generally passionate about the topics they're writing about, but quite often they'll pick up on more obscure items that wouldn't make it into a mainstream magazine. The simplest way to start finding good blogs is to just search Google for a term like 'kitchen blogs' and find any that you like. If you want to keep up with them on a regular basis, you can normally subscribe either via email, or in an RSS reader like Google Reader

Photos: An image can often be worth a thousand words - especially when you're looking for visual ideas. You can find a huge amount of images via Google Image Search, but probably my favourite place is Flickr, as you can comment and find out more about the images that you like.

Websites and magazines:  There's a bit of crossover here with blogs and print magazines, as the bigger websites combine elements of all of them. There are loads of DIY and design sites worth taking a look at, and non-kitchen sites can be inspirational. For instance, I adore Make Magazine, which is a DIY site for the sort of people who play with electronics and circuit boards. Whether or not any of it makes it into my kitchen is another matter - but seeing what creative and talented people have done at least inspires me to get off my backside.

For real serendipity: One of the best tools for finding almost random selections of great stuff is Stumbleupon. Sign up, select the things you're interested, and click the Stumble button, and you'll be taken to something in that topic recommended by other users. Hit the button again, and you'll get another one. Keep going till you're inspired - it shouldn't take long because the quality level is generally pretty good.

And saving all this stuff for later?
I've already mentioned Google Reader and email subscriptions, but probably the most useful way to keep track of all this stuff for later is a social bookmarking site like Delicious, or Diigo

There are two reasons for this - you can save websites, articles, images etc just the same way as you'd bookmark them in your internet browser, but because you're saving them to an online site, you can access them from any computer (or smart phone), at any time. So if I spot something at work, I can save it and then find it quickly and easily on my computer at home, for example.

You can also 'tag' everything you save, and group those tags together. So if I find a kitchen picture which has a great fridge and a great cooker in it, I can tag it with 'kitchen sink' and 'kitchen cooker', and it highlights the reason I saved it, as well as meaning I can find all the 'kitchen cooker' inspiration in one place.

But I can also create a Kitchen group, and then put all the related tags in one place, keeping kitchen sinks, cupboards, flooring, cookers etc all in a group I can find.

The way I run all of this is to have an account with Delicious, and with Diigo. I use Diigo to save everything (They have a plug-in you can use with Firefox to make it really quick and easy), and I set up my Diigo account to automatically also send everything to Delicious. That way, if one site stops working for any reason, everything is backed up at the other one.

And that's it - when I've had time to find some more inspiration and carefully file it, I'll start sharing it on the site, so you can see everything I've found!


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