Ideabooks and Pinboards

How much time do you spend in a week keeping up with current design trends? Do you actively research popular interior glass designs or do you simply wait for your clients to ask for a particular color or pattern glass and then hustle to find what they’ve ask for?

I’m old enough to remember life before HGTV and the Internet. Back then it took longer for design trends to emerge. We relied on magazines, newspapers, and retail stores to show us what was in style. Keeping up with what was trending took time and money. Today there are many places on the Internet to view beautiful interiors within seconds. The amount of content that is uploaded daily is staggering.

Two very good Internet sources to view current design trends are Houzz and Pinterest.

The popular website, Houzz, is a site where design professionals showcase their portfolios, sharing their work with a community dedicated to home and landscape design. Homeowners collect their favorite photos and save to ideabooks, find design professionals in their areas, upload photos of their homes and gardens, and swap tips and questions with other members. At the time I am writing this blog post, Houzz boasts more than 391,000 photos and more than 162,000 products available to view. In addition to just looking at photos, you can create a Houzz account for your decorative glass business for free and upload photos from your portfolio. Did the mention of free marketing get your attention? How about local sales leads? Houzz has more than 1,200,000 home improvement professionals registered and will allow you to search by location to find businesses in your area.

The second site that makes keeping up with design trends easy is Pinterest. While Houzz is a database website specific to home interior design and landscape, Pinterest is a social services site that allows you to “pin” photos of anything you like onto boards to share with others. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social websites in the world.

This is how Pinterest works. After creating an account, users create their own pinboards or “boards” in various categories such as Architecture and Home Décor. Once users create a board they can then “pin” photos they like to their boards. If they like a pin on another user’s board they can “repin” to their board. Boards can then be followed by other users. For example, on my Pinterest account, I have a board that I named “Glass.” When I see a photo of glass that I like, I pin that photo to my Glass board. I currently have 181 pins with 174 people following my Glass board. Pinterest also allows for “likes” and comments, but I won’t go into those details now. Knowing about pinning and repining is enough to get you started.

The big difference between the two sites is the content. Houzz is strictly for home interior and garden design content, whereas Pinterest is open to any content. If it’s commercial interiors you are looking for, Pinterest would be a better choice. Be warned that you are just as likely to see a food recipe or wedding photos on Pinterest as you are decorative glass. Don’t panic, over time you can create useful boards and follow other boards that will help narrow what you see.

In addition to design spotting and free marketing, both sites can be a useful tool when working with clients. I’ve talked to a number of interior designers who are using both sites with their clients to help define what the client wants for a project. These designers created and shared Houzz ideabooks and Pinterest boards with their clients to share project and product ideas.

Not too long ago, we used to cut or photocopy our favorite design ideas from magazines to share and to keep. These days we can find and save photos from our phone or tablet device (both Houzz and Pinterest have free mobile apps). Houzz and Pinterest websites make keeping up with design trends, marketing our businesses, and working with clients faster and easier than any other time in history.