If you were thinking of redecorating your home and you were looking for ideas, the first thing you’d probably do is search online for inspiration — be it for colour palettes, furniture styles, or room rearrangements. In your search for the perfect new design, you’d probably end up bookmarking or saving images from many different sites and would need to go back and forth between them, perhaps even printing the pictures out in expensive colour. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if you had one central site where you can collect all the images you like and post them onto a board layout so you can compare all the palettes that caught your eye, for example, or see which chair looks best by comparing them side-by-side? Well, with Pinterest, you can.
What Is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a new, photo-based social networking site that’s growing fast and gaining new users by the millions. The site is made up of user pinboards, which are online versions of bulletin boards or scrapbook pages. On these pinboards you pin photos; these photos can come from anywhere on the Web (search engines, blogs, or websites) or from other pinboards on the Pinterest site. You can then categorize your pinboards by theme, so you can pin all your photos for bookshelves on one pinboard, and use another board for tiles, for example.
To understand how Pinterest works, follow this scenario: let’s say you’re thinking of redecorating your bedroom. While clicking through an interior designer’s blog, you come across a beautiful photo of a bedroom that not only has the wall colour you’re looking for, but also gorgeous bed sheets, a cute nightstand, and lovely curtains. Using Pinterest, you can ‘pin’ this photo from the blog to your pinboard. Then, you can carry on browsing the Web and repeat the procedure whenever you come across a great new bedroom design. When you have several photos on your pinboard, you can share it with your friends and family who are helping you choose a design or who are perhaps also looking for interior decorating ideas.
Another great way to search is simply staying on the Pinterest site and browsing the pinboards of other users. In effect, this is like having access to a free online catalogue of great home decorating ideas compiled by people who love interior design. You can browse pinboards dedicated to tables, wood finishes, linens… the list goes on. Whatever you’re looking for in home décor, there’s probably a pinboard for it. In fact, you could probably get all the decorating ideas you’d ever need just by browsing through pinboards.
Here are a few worth checking out:
- Joy Cho’s “For the Home” pinboard
- The “For our new loft” pinboard by Hijiri Shepherd
- Bonnie Tsang’s “Living Spaces” pinboard
In addition to home decorating, Pinterest has really caught on in several other uses:
- Wedding planning, where you browse the Web or other pinboards for the perfect dress and flower arrangements to pin and share.
- Recipe collecting, where you pin a photo of a delicious new dish and follow the link beside the photo to view its recipe.
- Personal style, where you pin photos of the latest seasonal looks from the runway or a fashion magazine and build up a pinboard of outfit ideas.
Finally, Pinterest is great because it’s just pure fun to use. Firstly, the site is very easy to navigate, with big buttons that are clearly labelled, as demonstrated by this tutorial video.
Secondly, like any social networking site, it allows you to build an online identity and express your interests. Thirdly, it’s really cool when you start getting followers and ‘repins’ (when a user pins a photo of yours to their own pinboard); that’s when you feel like your taste is acknowledged and you’re starting a new trend. Fourthly, as you find users and pinboards with similar interests as you, you start to build an online community and bond with people who like what you like.
Currently, Pinterest has limited membership. To join the site, you need to either be invited by an existing Pinterest user or request an invite and get your spot on the waiting list. The good thing is that it usually only takes a day or two to gain access to the site. Sign up now and start pinning ideas for your next great home project!