For interior designers, summer is a time when schedules shift to a different pace than the rest of the year. As clients scatter to various vacation destinations, you may find yourself with the rare opportunity to slow down, unwind, and explore your interests outside of your day-to-day duties. While most of the general population would squeal with excitement at the thought of time off, designers aren’t always eager to take time away from their passion. If the idea of dropping the reins seems far-fetched, consider this: your design muscle needs rest to grow stronger! Even a small slice of leisure time this summer can become the most productive time of the year if you allow yourself to relax, reboot, and discover new sources of inspiration with fresh eyes. Here is a list of five things you can do this summer to up your design game while on your upcoming vacation, staycation, or lazy summer afternoon.
Go to a Museum
Whether or not your summer plans include travel, you can always count on a trip to a museum to spur new intellectual curiosities. If you will be visiting a city other than your own, run a quick search to see which museums are located near your travel destination and whether there will be special exhibits going on when you’ll be in town. If you want to dive a little deeper into the local avant-garde scene, find out where the art district is and amble through the streets to check out the galleries and other storefronts.
If you plan to stick around your hometown, you can still get a fresh culture injection from the same museums you have explored many times before. Because summer is a high traffic time for museums in general, your favorite local institution will likely have at least one new temporary, traveling exhibition. Besides, sometimes seeing the same piece of art again and again somehow feels like a new experience each time. There is also a good chance you have neglected a local museum or two, and this could be the perfect chance to make up for lost time. You never know what spark will set off your next creative fire.
Take a Trip
Planning a trip can be tricky for designers. Sometimes time off comes unexpectedly and other times cash flow is slow. If you have the fortune of foresight and the monetary means, planning a trip to an international destination is the most impactful thing you can do to expand your creative palette. The experience of plunging into the lifestyle of a foreign place — eating the food, becoming enveloped in the language, and soaking up the surroundings —is powerfully transformative.
If an adventure abroad is just not in the cards, visit a special nook closer to home. If all else fails, carve out some time to be inspired by the beauty in your own backyard. The idea is to be rejuvenated by a change of scenery, but since designers are so caught up in work most of the year, you may not even have had time to stop and smell your own roses.
Get Lost in a Good Book
Whether your summer plans take you across the globe, across town, or across your yard, you won’t regret toting along a good book to pass idle time. There is nothing like the power of prose to transport you to a different place and open your mind and heart. Keeping abreast of the popular summer titles can also give you something to talk about at parties, giving you a little boost in the networking department. The New York Times Best Seller List is a solid source for the latest and greatest in fiction and non-fiction.
If you have a one-track mind for design, there is plenty of material out there to steal your attention. You can catch up on some classics, or get cutting-edge. Also, brushing up on the history and theory of design is never a bad idea. What is old becomes new again, and it’s important to understand the context of the aesthetic themes you gravitate towards.
Cook with Friends
Having time to cook is a luxury many designers rarely have time for, which makes it a perfect activity to try on your summer break. The act of cooking will give all 5 of your senses a workout. Challenge yourself to make a dish that not only tastes great, but shows off your impeccable sense of color, balance, and scale.
Make the experience social to maximize the good times and potential to learn something new. Take a cooking class with pals or throw a dinner party for friends and associates. Bonding with others over a meal will nourish your body and soul. It might even help you land new clients!
Learn a New Skill
If you just can’t shake work off the brain, use that summer lull in your schedule to advance your professional knowledge and skill set. There are plenty of design podcasts that will keep you informed of the hot topics in the industry, which can conveniently be enjoyed on the go. Taking some time to explore the wide world of design apps might uncover new tools that can help take your business to the next level. If you have time to settle down at your computer, try that new software you’ve been meaning to give a whirl, or take a new webinar.
Whatever You Do, Have Fun!
Having fun is the most important thing you can do this summer to up your design game! Step outside of your daily routine and let the outside world inspire you in new ways. Exploring the new and rediscovering the familiar will ignite creative burners you didn’t know you had. Taking some time out to learn new professional skills will give you a confidence boost to last you all year. Sometimes slowing down is the best way to get the spring back in your step.