When does inspiration for your room turn into plagiarism?

This thought has come to me over the past few days, as you will know from my last post I am agonising over what to do in the living room.

I’m still agonising now, but I had thought I’d narrowed it down a bit when something struck me.  We all see lovely images on Instagram and Pinterest with clever people and beautiful rooms and ideas – and most of us take something from those images to use as inspiration for our own decor.

I suppose it’s rare we each come up with a perfectly unique idea, after all we look around us and pinch things from different places to come up with our own style.  But at what point does taking inspiration become downright plagiarism?  And should we speak to those who inspire us to ask it’s ok to use their ideas?

I’ve come up with a few ideas for my living room update.  A couple of things I’d seen on other people’s Instagrams and Pinterest boards really struck a chord with me.  The first one being the fabulous Cole&Son Prism Wallpaper.  I’d seen this in the hallway of the beautiful Pink House and in the living area in Sophie Robinson’s home to name but a couple.  Now, I love this wallpaper.  It’s so bright and vibrant and happy.  I decided early on I’d quite like this in my living room.  So then I started to look at paint combinations to go with it and like the other two ladies before me, came up with very similar colour schemes, a turquoise or teal paint would work well as it picks out colours in the paper.

Should I ask their permission to use this same scheme?  If we weren’t connected via the interiors family of social media, would I care I’d picked the same scheme?  Did I steal it from them or did I just use their images as inspiration?

Should I care – at the recent meetup for Interiors Bloggers, Sophie Robinson told me that the wall with that paper on will make way for an extension eventually and I know from Instagram that Emily from The Pink House is moving house and leaving that paper behind.  So should it matter – or does it look like I can’t come up with my own ideas?

img_2452The reason I worry about this so much because of a car.  A few years ago, I bought a new Mini.  My first ever new new car that I specced myself.  Brand new, shiny and mine.  Not the highest spec, I couldn’t justify extra cash, but a nicely specced car (is that a word, by the way?  It is now!) and I was pleased with myself.  I went into work and told my colleagues about my new purchase whilst I waited the 6 weeks for it to be be built.

However, before my car could arrive, a colleague who changes car every couple of years got ‘inspired’ by this and went out and found a 6 month old Mini and bought it before mine arrived.  It was same colour.  Same year, some of the same gadgets.  Except hers was a top of the range, far more expensive than mine and with extra bells and whistles.  I went home and had a little cry.  She had stolen my thunder, and my idea.  I mean it was even the SAME COLOUR!

Anyway, the point of the story is that I got so upset that she went and stole my idea and upstaged me,  with bells on, that it’s made me cautious of doing the same to anyone else.  So I worry.  Alot.

I probably shouldn’t worry – after all on Instagram many of the Interiors folk who like the #styleitdark theme have many of the same accessories in their homes, the same posters or wall art or cushions.  They all have similar dark walls.  I wonder if they mind?  (I don’t think so as there’s lots of mutual love their homes).

Last night I thought I’d settled on a scheme when this very morning I see the exact same scheme in the living room of Nick Snow and it’s about to be featured in a magazine next month, so I can’t really do a similar thing, can I?  I was even looking at similar colour accessories.  Great minds think alike I suppose 🙂

img_2848I suppose we take inspiration from the images we see, and it’s ok to take some things from these images, but lifting large parts of the scheme feels like it falls into copying territory and that’s where I become wary.  Do I change my scheme, ask them for permission or go ahead regardless knowing any images I put on Instagram or the blog then look like I can’t come up with my own ideas, even if we’ve both arrived at them independently?

Should I do just what I want and to hell with what people think?

What are your thoughts on this?  Have you had ideas stolen, do you think it’s flattering or a downright cheek?  I’d love to know in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “When does inspiration for your room turn into plagiarism?

  1. Interesting topic Vicki, I can totally see where you’re coming from. I think anyone with an interiors blog is hoping that they will inspire others though and like you mention, you probably wouldn’t give it so much thought if you weren’t a blogger. I think if you love the wallpaper you should go for it. Even with a similar colour scheme, you can totally put your own stamp on it.

    1. Thanks, I thought it was an interesting idea. We do all pinch things from time to time as is natural! And I’ll accessorise it differently so it should be fine !

  2. It’s interesting that you bring the concept of plagiarism to interiors. I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being inspired by someone else’s house. However, I have seen people copying Pinterest images to the last detail. To the point that they removed an original Victorian fireplace (*screams*) to make it look like a Brooklyn brownstone apartment! Yes, maybe someone else has a nicer Mini than you, but only you rock it in your particular way! 🙂

Leave a Reply