1) Look through design magazines. Observe the rooms you gravitate towards. What do you like about them? The style of the furnishings? The overall atmosphere? The neutral color scheme? Some of my personal favorites are Traditional Home, House Beautiful, New Old House, Domino, and Martha Stewart Living to name a few.
2) Browse through your closet. How would you define your personal style? What colors dominate your wardrobe?
3) Think about your favorite season. What do you like about it? Do you like the warm, earthy colors of fall? The cozy feeling of sitting next to a fireplace in winter? Or the soothing sounds and colors of a summer day at the beach?
4) Remember your favorite vacation spots. Where do you love to go? Do you love the fast-paced energy of a ski trip with snowy mountains and rustic lodges? Or would you prefer a relaxing Caribbean getaway with its casual relaxing atmosphere and cheerful colors? Or is your ideal trip a European destination with its old world charm and sense of history?
5) Don't forget your favorite color! Colors say a lot about people - blue is calm and subdued, red is vibrant and energetic, yellow is cheerful and happy....
6) Think about when you feel your best. What time of day do you like the most? The bright, white sunshine of morning? Or rather the warm, amber-colored light of late afternoon?
Here are some unexpected places to look for your design style inspiration: your favorite movie (is there a scene, home, or location you particularly like?), your regular Friday night restaurant (what do you like about the place? the atmosphere?), the stores you frequent (what appeals to you...besides the merchandise?)
After you take the time to review this list and define what you love, it will make it so much easier to decide what you want (and do not want) to incorporate into your home. Once you have some clarity about the direction you want to go in, I would suggest beginning with an "inspiration piece" to guide you throughout the design and keep you focused. It could be a gorgeous rug, your "centerpiece" sofa, or even your favorite piece of art.