Most military-connected folks will tell you that one of the downsides to this life is the seemingly constant moving from one place to the next. But this transient lifestyle presents you with a unique opportunity as well. With each move, you get to leave your own distinctive decorating mark on your new home. You can experiment with different colors and mediums without being committed to them over the long haul. All you need to do is roll up your sleeves and let yourself be inspired.
Whether you like to read digital magazines online or prefer the feel of a real “book” in your hands, magazines are a great source of design inspiration.
You can start with lifestyle magazines like Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, and Good Housekeeping. These types of publications usually cover leisure, fashion, health, decorating, and culture, or some combination of any of these. They’re the same magazines you’re likely to find in the checkout aisle of the grocery store. The ones that promise they’ll show you how to organize your kitchen, pull off the perfect outdoor barbeque, or keep up with the latest fitness craze. They’re not marketed as design magazines, but they’ve got their finger on the pulse of what’s new and trending.
Interested in a lifestyle magazine focused specifically on military spouses and families? Check out Military Spouse Magazine. You’ll find page after page of beautiful photos and inspiring stories about people living this life and how they make it work. (And how they’re handling the frequent moves, just like you.)
If your taste is eclectic, or if you’re not sure what your taste is just yet, there are a whole host of magazines geared toward interior design and decorating. HGTV promises real-life solutions for all the things that homeowners deal with every day. Interior Design showcases the latest design trends and ideas. Elle Decor markets itself as home design for the fashion-conscious soul. House Beautiful offers inspiration for home design and lifestyle. Architectural Digest features both classic and contemporary design styles.
Magazines like Town & Country, Veranda, and Luxe cater to an upscale, luxury crowd. While admittedly, “upscale” and “luxury” aren’t typically words you find in the same sentence as “military family,” don’t let that deter you from sourcing them for ideas. You can create a budget-friendly version of practically any high-ticket item design if you’re resourceful and creative enough.
Then there’s a whole niche market of design magazines. Like a country aesthetic? There’s Country Living, Southern Living, and Country Sampler to name just a few. Dream of a home inspired by life on the water? That’s Coastal Living’s focus. Fond of Victorian stylings? Then grab Romantic Homes and Victorian Homes. Prefer a beautiful ranch feel? Try Atomic Ranch. Modest 20th century homes? Pick up a copy of American Bungalow. Modern flair? You’ll find that in Dwell.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what’s out there in terms of magazines focused on interior design. There is something that fits everyone’s sense of style. The wonderful thing is that you don’t have to be committed to any one look or feel; you can choose across styles. Let magazines like these be inspiration, but not gospel. For example, you may have modern taste but find the perfect piece of furniture in a country design magazine that you can make work with your other more contemporary pieces.
And think outside the box, too. A magazine doesn’t have to be labeled as a design or lifestyle magazine for it to be a great source of design inspiration. Peruse the magazines you see in waiting rooms or at your local library. That copy of Outdoor Life or Field & Stream might just remind you that there are other applications for camouflage besides military uniforms and tanks. Or check out the latest issues of top fashion magazines—like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, or InStyle—for tips on trending colors, patterns, and fabrics.
Pay attention to whatever catches your eye or draws your interest. Inspiration can come from anywhere!