Design Mom Asks: Inspirational Quotes

By Gabrielle.

Inspiration often hits when we least expect it, and that’s always a welcome event. But what about more intentional motivation? Are there words or advice you’d like to keep close? I’m curious: If you could graffiti any quote or word across your living room wall — or maybe just have it hanging where you could see it daily as you needed it! — what would it say? Four new friends kindly agreed to scrawl their own ideas on the pages of Design Mom. Please enjoy their answers.

Jennifer Cooper of Classic Play:
I freely admit that I am a quote junkie. I collect them like people collect…well…whatever it is that people collect! If I could, I’d totally wallpaper my house in quotes. Those from Dorothy Parker always make me laugh, and I have a print of one of my favorites by Ralph Waldo Emerson at my desk: Be Honest, Be Silly, Be Kind.

But I think this quote from Kurt Vonnegut deserves a special space on my wall: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'”

Christine Dinsmore of The Plumed Nest:
It was difficult to choose a favorite quote! There are many I remember throughout my days, but this one by Winston Churchill seems to be one that has been most dear to my heart lately: “Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

It has taken me years to really understand the meaning behind this. In fact, it took the fear of living without trying to realize my dreams to finally outweigh my fears of attempting to reach for them. Of course, as I get older, I have come to see that if one never tries, one never knows what could have happened at all.

Emily Peck of Peck Life:
I’ve always struggled with using words or sayings in decorating to the point where I don’t feel like any one phrase or word sums up life enough to warrant being on the wall! It’s the same reason I don’t have any tattoos; there isn’t anything symbolic enough that deserves its very own tribute. To me, our life is this interwoven mix of a million words and thoughts all the time.

On the other hand, if I could have a giant mural on the wall of the forest with big tall trees, a little creek, and some birds, I totally would!

Ania of The New Diplomat’s Wife:
“Welcome.” Our living room is the heart of our home: it’s our family space, our play room, our sun room, our movie theater, our cocktail lounge, our party room, our overflow guest quarters, our own mini embassy. When people come over, nearly everything is centered there, and I would hope that our family and guests feel welcome right from the start to pull up a chair and linger.


Thank you, Ladies! I’m inspired…but still looking for that perfect quote to grace our walls. I think Emily made a beautiful point when she said “Our life is this interwoven mix of a million words and thoughts all the time.” It’s hard to pick just one to stay for a while, isn’t it? Perhaps a chalkboard is the solution!

How about you, Friends? Have you pinned anything lately that could potentially live comfortably on your walls? I’d love to hear the words that most inspire you!

P.S. — You can catch all of our Design Mom Asks conversations right here. If you’d like to participate in the next one, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you!

73 thoughts on “Design Mom Asks: Inspirational Quotes”

  1. I’m not a big quote collector but I do have a few favorites:

    Mary Poppins: Enough is as good as a feast.
    Dr. Seuss: It’s fun to have fun but you have to know how.
    Dylan Thomas: Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.
    and one I pinned mostly because of how it evokes my beloved grandparents: which reads “The people you love become ghosts inside of you and like this you keep them alive” by Robert Montgomery

  2. Hey, some of my fave bloggers taking part!

    One of my favourite quotes is by SARK:

    “Stand tall, laugh loudly and be who you truly are”.

    We spend far too much time and energy being who we THINK everyone else wants us to be. I have this quote posted on my bulletin board above my computer to remind me to “be Sandra”. (another quote but from Gretchen Rubin!).

  3. Yay, I love Emily and Jen! :)

    I have so many quotes that I love. I filled a whole board on Pinterest.

    These are two of my favorites.

    “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

    “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

    And this one is for fun.

    “Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.” – Unknown (but obviously someone brilliant)

  4. This is my personal motto, and at one time it was painted on my kitchen walls. It’s from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Lantern Bearers”:

    “And the true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: To find where the joy resides and give it voice far beyond singing.”

  5. For my own inspiration I like:
    Everything you need is already inside.

    And for a wall, I would use this:
    Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.


  6. Just the other day I discovered a famous English poem (not being English it’s no wonder I didn’t know it) and I digged for the story of the poet. It’s so encouraging and beautiful that the last verse (well, two verses) has been haunting me for weeks:
    “i am the master of my fate / i am the captain of my soul”.
    Indeed I am!
    Also, being a “writer” (unavoidable inverted commas, by now at least) and part-time illustrator I find this quote by Ani Difranco really inspiring:
    “art is why i get up in the morning”

  7. Not sure where I first saw it, but I have this quote on the wall of my home office/laundry room/household HQ (yes, all one room):
    “Too blessed to be stressed.”

  8. My family room has the quote “Gratitude: turns what we have into enough.” Which is meaningful to me in so many levels.

  9. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says: I will try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

  10. Hi there. I am brand new. Now that my twin girls are 6.5, I can try to read blogs. I write one as well and I often use quotes as inspiration for my posts. I love wordy quotes and, thus, there’s not enough wall space for those.For my family right now, I love this one, though: “Everything you can imagine is real.” ― Pablo Picasso

  11. The Roald Dahl quote gracing our kitchen chalkboard: “if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

  12. I am sorta obsessed with quotes for my kids’ rooms. In fact, I have a running word document where I put them every time I find one I love.

    For my daughter, all these ones to build confidence:
    ~”Let her sleep. For when she wakes, she will move mountains.” I have no idea who said it, but I have seen it on pinterest and etsy, and I just love it.
    ~”Don’t you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at things that shine.” from the Taylor Swift Song. Cheesy, I know, but it is hard being a girl growing up. Plus, she loves that song. :)

    1. I know that feeling! For me, it’s the state of myinbox and the state of my bedroom (not just the bed) reflects the state of my head. If those two things are tidy, I’m in my happy place.

  13. my latest fav, “your life might be the only bible someone reads”-author unknown. maybe it is because while i’m deep in faith, i’m light on religion, but i like the idea that you live your life as an example. i know my 2 wee ones are always watching.

  14. “Depend upon it, you see but half. You see the evil, but you do not see the consolation. There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere— and those evil-minded observers, dearest Mary, who make much of a little, are more taken in and deceived than the parties themselves.” Jane Austen, Mansfield Park.

  15. Mark Twain (who is fabulously quotable, don’t you think?): “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

  16. I too love a good quote. Like scripture verses it always seems the right quote finds me at the right time. My all time favorite – and the one I use on my email signature is: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss). It came to me during a difficult time and honestly can be applied to almost any situation. Whenever I’m feeling low I think of this and can smile because no matter what – something good is associated with everything.

  17. I am a foodie and pasta junkie, so my favorite quote is bound to be food related. It is perhaps not inspirational, but food for thought in this diet obsessed world: ” Everything you see I owe to spaghetti!” (Sophia Loren)

  18. I am a huge collector of quotes, started my collection back in middle school. I love a lot of the ones above and I love the idea about the chalkboard so it can be changed periodically.
    It’s hard to choose just one but here are two I like:

    At the end of the day, it’s all about who you love and letting them know. -Jodi Hills

    And a reminder to stay humble –

    The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. – Victor Hugo

  19. I love the Vonnegut quote, too, and many more by him.

    My favorite comes from my son, when he was 5. We were watching fireworks and for the first time he was hit with utter amazement that something like that could be created by a person. He turned to me with pure fire in his eyes and yelled, “I may be little, but I have a BIG mind!”

  20. “Live as if you would die tomorrow. Learn as if you would live forever.” Mahathma Gandhi

    “I think, therefore I am” Rene Descartes

  21. Right now on the chalkboard in my office, I simply have the words “Dare Greatly!” (inspired by Brene Brown’s awesome new book, Daring Greatly). I like using the chalkboard because I can switch out the quote or phrase depending on my mood and what I’m thinking/dreaming about in any given week or month.

  22. On my mind a lot as of late: “The patterns of the past are not sufficient for the challenges of the future.” David A. Bednar. Making me take a hard look at my life patterns to see what my family and I need in order to really face the challenges coming our way. And on a bright note: “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.” Buddy from the movie Elf.

  23. I’m all for the chalkboard philosphies! We are (hopefully!) evolving daily and collecting wisdom along the way. I totally get the reason some people get tattoos to mark their progression, establish identity or express emotions. For me, those life events and views change as well, and I would rather have a way to express myself in a way that will change with me. I have a friend that used a section of soffiting in her breakfast nook to paint their annual family motto. Others like to change their focus more often than that (or to express supporting ideas/thoughts) so chalkboards or changeable frames fit the bill. As for my ‘motto’… too many to choose from and a few that are way overdone!

  24. The first is from Susan B. Anthony, “Failure is impossible.”

    The second is from my daughter when she was 2. She was looking at a necklace I was wearing that had a Venus of Willendorf figure hanging from it & naming the body parts. She asked me what the figure was & I said, “She’s a goddess.” My daughter replied with her arms thrown up in the air, “I AM A GODDESS!” And she is.

  25. LIFE ISN’T ABOUT waiting for the storm to pass.
    IT’S ABOUT learning to dance in the rain.
    (Author unknown)

    I found the quote a few years after I found and hung on the wall an art print by Vettriano – a formally dressed couple dancing in the rain while a maid and butler hold opened umbrellas over them. I taped the quote to the frame. Perfect!

  26. I love quotes, I collect them and insert them in scrapbooks/photo books. My favorite is “Know in your heart that you are far bigger than anything that can happen to you.” -Dan Zadra

  27. I love so many, but would probably choose one of my favorites from Eleanor Roosevelt – “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I love how hopeful and uplifted it makes me feel!

  28. I’ve always been struck by a line from a worship song, “… my portion is Him, And I’m more than blessed.” I think it’s a beautiful reminder to be thankful for all we are given and remember that we needn’t worry or want for much if we have faith in Jesus. I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate this into a modern large scale (but subtle) wall quote in our dining room.

  29. “Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

    I read this years ago, and it’s been the “locked” screen on my phone ever since. It literally changed the way I see myself and my life.

  30. “And above all watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl!

  31. “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~Thornton Wilder

    There are many others that I love, but this is the one that’s in my email signature.

  32. i am a total quote junkie. here are three of my very favorites:

    Learn to… be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not. -henri frederic amiel

    if you seek some special life outside of daily activities, that is like brushing aside waves to look for water. -wu-chun

    ring the bells that still can ring
    forget your perfect offering
    there is a crack in everything
    that’s how the light gets in.
    -from the song “anthem” by leonard cohen

    1. The Cohen quote is my personal mantra….since my oldest son was diagnosed with autism and dyslexia, forever changing our lives…. yet he is the most laidback, the kindest, the most creative and of all my kids, the most inclined to take care of others. Since then, I have been immersed in this reality: there is no perfection, there is only what is…and embracing it and enjoying it is the secret. My son knows he is different and has challenges but he has a happy heart and is a joy, not to mention always having something to say that is out of the box but on point. Inspiring kid.

      1. chrissy, your son sounds amazing. i love what you said, “there is no perfection, there is only what is…and embracing it and enjoying it is the secret.” that is exactly how i feel. the cohen quote has been my personal mantra for a while too. living with depression and anxiety has made my life so different from the one i envisioned for myself when i was younger. but it is a wonderful life, and i try to remember to ring the bells that still can ring.

  33. My mother copied this quote into a card to celebrate the birth of my first daughter. While I wouldn’t write it on the living room wall, it means a lot to me privately, and I look forward to sharing it with my girls one day:

    “The mother forms the character of the future man; the sister bends the fibres that are hereafter to be the forest tree; the wife sways the heart, whose energies may turn for good or for evil the destinies of a nation. Let the women of a country be made virtuous and intelligent, and the men will certainly be the same. The proper education of a man decides the welfare of an individual; but educate a woman, and the interests of a whole family are secured.” Catharine Beecher
    A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1842)
    Chapter I: Peculiar Responsibilites of American Women

  34. This was a great post.

    I am goose-bumped to read the comments.

    My mom always said,

    “There are lots of fish in the sea. Most of them are herring and mackeral. And, you, are a beautiful dolphin. Be picky.”

    Mom’s quotes are the ones that repeat over and over in my mind. That’s the way it should be.

    If this one of hers becomes viral…I wish I could pay her for it.

  35. I’m not sure if this has already been posted but I recently did one of those Pinterest Song Lyric on an oil painting projects with “Decide what to be and go be it.” (Avett Brothers) :)


  36. At the entrance to our family library/ reading room we have :

    ” Family is where your story begins.”

    For me personally (lots of difficulties to deal with over the past few years):

    Be like the bird who, pausing in her
    flight awhile on boughs too slight,
    feels them give way beneath her, and
    yet sings, knowing she hath wings.
    ~Victor Hugo

  37. this is my favorite quote for navigating relationships. And families have a lot of those. Great post.

    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” – Rumi

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