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Using Houzz for Design Inspiration

Millions of people are using Houzz for design inspiration every day, and the phenomenon is changing the way people design their homes. Houzz is a visually oriented home design community with more than 6 million high quality design photos, and many more added daily. With the enormous volumes of content in the Houzz galleries, one of the biggest challenges for users is finding the specific content they are searching for. Most searches return an overwhelming number of results. As a result, Expressive Homes is providing this guide to help you get more out of Houzz and find the inspiration you are seeking.

 

5 Ways to Search Smarter

Chances are, Houzz probably contains a good example of exactly what you are looking for, if only you can find it. In a way, Houzz is challenged by its own success. So much content exists that it is actually hindering the ability to deliver relevant content to its users. Most search terms return tens of thousands of results and a user can spend days searching through them to find that special idea. After a while, everything starts to look the same. Here are five tips and tricks to help narrow down your search results in Houzz.

1) Multiple Word Searches:

When conducting a multiple word search, enclose the search terms in quotations such as “walk in pantry” to ensure all terms are searched as a complete phrase. Otherwise your search may include results from just one of the search terms in isolation, and your results will not be as relevant.

2) Multiple Criteria Searches:

To conduct a search using more than one criteria, separate each search term with the plus (+) sign. This qualifier will return results meeting all the search terms (e.g. “open kitchen” + “wood floor” + island). Using this technique, your results will be more specific and narrowed down considerably.

3) Filter Usage:

For almost everything you search for in Houzz, you will be able to refine your results through the use of filters like which room in the house, architectural style, geographic location, budget, and general size of the room or area. These filters do help, but still leave an enormous amount of results to weed through. When you search for certain items, additional filters will sometimes become available, although this is hit and miss.

4) Photo Digging:

Photo digging is the method of searching which builds upon a photo you may like. Once you find that needle in the haystack, click on the photo and you will notice two additional ways to find similar inspiration. First will be an area where you can see related photos based on people who also liked the photo you clicked on. Second will be the ability to look inside the ideabooks where others have previously added this photo. Each of these techniques potentially yields additional photos similar to that inspired you enough to click on it. Sometimes this is an iterative process to start honing in on the specific design element you are looking for.

5) Google Site Search:

If you are still not finding what you want, tap into the power of Google to assist your search. Google will perform a site specific search for any website. Simply type in the following into the Google search box “site:houzz.com your-search-term”. Replace the phrase “your-search-term” with whatever you are searching for. Once the results populate, simply change your view to Images and see if you are better able to find the inspiration you are looking for.

Getting the Most out of Ideabooks

Ideabooks are the heart and soul of the Houzz community. An ideabook allows you to save particular photos, products, or ideas to your profile and organize them for future reference. Ideabooks may be categorized any way you like—by room type, by style, by product features, as a wish list, or even as a way to organize all the ingredients you ultimately want in your home. When working with an architect or designer, this is a great way to share some insight into your preferred style and desired home features. For more information on sharing your design ideas with an architect, read the article entitled Architectural Programming and Requirements Planning. Once an ideabook has been created, Houzz uses an algorithm to predict other photos or ideas you may also be interested in.

 

Finding Tips, Guides, and Articles

The entire Houzz community is based on user contributions. For example, most of the content is provided by professional designers who are trying to catch your attention and win your business. This is the reason so many high quality photos are available. Similarly, professionals also post many tips and articles about any topic you can think of. These articles are filled with pictures to illustrate their points and hopefully drive volume to their websites. If you want to learn more about architectural styles, window treatments, color palettes, or anything else, then this is a good reference. Homeowners benefit from these discussions if you can find them.

For some reason, articles in Houzz are called stories. When conducting a search from the main search box, simply scroll your mouse down to the “Search in Stories” option. Once you find a story relevant to what you are looking for, you can add it to your bookmarks making it easier to refer back to it again.

Other useful techniques include the ability to post questions and have an active community ready and willing to provide insight. Use the messaging features and forums to get the advice you are seeking. If you find something on the Internet outside of the Houzz community, you can even add a bookmark within your profile to help keep all your inspiration in one place.

See also Creating an Inspiration Portfolio for more insight on the topic of discovering home designs that inspire you.