Looking for new home design trends or fresh ways to update and brighten your living space?
Whether it’s a one-bedroom apartment or a multi-level home, do-it-yourself and professional home designers and design enthusiasts are turning to the social media site Pinterest for inspiration.
A virtual pinboard or scrapbook, the website allows users to collect and organize their favorite images and ideas from around the Internet. “Pinners” can add their own images to their online profiles, or peruse others’ pinboards and “like” or
“re-pin” their images for future use.
Each image links back to the website from which it was taken, and images can be organized by topic, color, design, event or any other
“I think that we enjoy doing it and we often see people share our images or pin them on their inspiration boards,” said June Flowers, the events and projects coordinator at Alabama Chanin in Florence.
“We also have a few collaborative boards where guests who come to our weekend workshops are invited to pin images or pictures of projects that they’ve done. So it’s been a nice sharing tool for us to keep in touch with people and see the work that they’ve done.”
While there’s not yet a way to quantify pins, style and home decor are among Pinterest’s most popular pinning categories, says Lauren Indvik, an editor at the social media news blog Mashable.com.
Remodeling your kitchen? Create a “Kitchen Makeover” pinboard and scour Pinterest for ideas. Or go more specific: “Countertop Ideas” or “Kitchen Paint Colors.”
“Pinterest is like keeping an electronic clip file — that manila folder with tons of tear sheets from magazines. It’s how I renovated my first kitchen,” said Mary Leigh Howell, a free-lance public relations specialist in Greensboro, N.C.
Debe Robinson, the president and owner of Kitchen Expressions, Inc. in Sheffield, said she started using Pinterest about six months ago when a client brought in some ideas for his bathroom he had printed from the site.
“The pictures are just so much fun to watch, they really are,” said Robinson. “… I’ve gone to my vendors and pinned them on here.
Robinson said she has found the site widely used from people — mostly women — in their 20s up into their 60s.
Women make up most of Pinterest’s more than 10 million users, and are driving traffic to home magazines such as Country Living and Elle Decor in record numbers, Indvik said.
In 2011, Pinterest sent more traffic to marthastewart.com than Facebook and Twitter combined, and House Beautiful magazine has seen triple-digit increases in referrals in the past six months, according to Indvik.
You can join Pinterest by requesting an invite from someone already on the site, or by clicking “Request an Invite” on the home page. Once invited, register using your Facebook or Twitter account.
Once you create an account and install the “pin it plug-in” to your bookmarks bar, Pinterest automatically generates a few generic pinboards for you to begin pinning to. Either nix or rename these boards to something you actually care about so they don’t appear blank on your online profile, advises Brie Dyas, editor of Stylelist Home for the Huffington Post.
Start pinning by searching in the upper-left corner for an item or project (keep it short), or search for brands, stores and TV personalities, browse their pinboards and share what you like, said Sabrina Soto, host of HGTV’s “The High Low Project.”
Click on the “Everything” tab in the middle of the home page to see all images being pinned at a certain time.
Or scroll down to narrow what you’re seeing to categories such as art, design, DIY and crafts, gardening, or print and posters.
You can turn your pinning up a notch by downloading the Pinterest app to your smartphone, letting you pin products or home-improvement ideas you see while out and about, Soto said. “This is so helpful for when I’m looking for ideas on my upcoming products,” she said.
Search often if you’re looking for ideas for a specific room or project.
“Follow someone so that when they update their boards, you will be notified,” said Megan Meloy, design expert for the Norcross, Ga.-based children’s room retailer KooKoo Bear Kids. She said she uses Pinterest every day to showcase the company’s merchandise, at pinterest.com/megankkbk.
If you’re looking for more followers, Dyas recommends making yourself known by following, liking and commenting on other people’s pins, and not pinning everything you like at once.
“Don’t limit yourself to creating a single board dedicated to one topic,” Soto said. “Combine everything that you love and make several boards that cover a wide range of interests.”
She also recommends branching out to pin images from many different websites, not just one.
Blogger Amy Lynn Andrews, who penned a list of Pinterest tips at bloggingwithamy.com/pinterest-tips, advises against cutesy descriptions for pins (“Super cool!” ‘’Love this!”). Instead, use keyword-rich entries (black concrete countertop) to make your pins and boards easier to find.
“Being a designer, you don’t want to give everything away because it would have products I love and it would give people the direct link to go buy that,” Robinson said. “You’re like, ‘no I want them to come here.’ … So it’s good in one way but it also detracts from what can be done locally.
Everyone has the ability to be a great pinner, Howell said.
“You don’t have to be famous or artistic,” she said. “You just have to recognize great visuals.”
TimesDaily staff writer Bobby Bozeman contributed to this Associated Press story.