Inspiration you say. Well that’s easy. I like industrial stuff and I’m on Pinterest. That’s a good start, but if you don’t dig deeper you’re missing out on how inspiration can guide real decision making.
Inspiration works best if you can find a way to observe and experience the world around you and take mental notes of the things that speak to you. To help do this, be present and be open. Don't be afraid to note specific things and dig deeper - For example, “Wow, I like that couch!...” Then go further and ask yourself, “because of the color? The texture? The form?”, or “I love the light in that space! What is happening here? The window location? The materials in the room?”, maybe something like, “That artist is amazing - is it the color? The subject matter?”, etc.
The same mentality works for images in print or online. Instead of just grabbing images you like, take a moment to say, “why do I like this?” then imagine yourself in the space or walking around a light, furniture piece or addition. A trick I try to help me understand spaces I like is to envision the whole space or object in my mind. This is easier in some cases with a floor plan or several pictures, but even without you can still try to imagine yourself in the space. This will help you “feel” the space and get your mind wrapped around it to help answer why some design move is speaking to you. So, Why all the imagining? The digging deeper? The “feeling”?
Because you want those inspirations ready to recall to help make design decisions.
Ok, its “Idea Time”, then quickly “Decision Time”. When you are creating something new and are looking for ideas or need to decide on something, you can recall those experiences and observations of the inspiration that spoke to you- the ones you mentally noted (or even grabbed pinterest images of). Now when you have to decide how, for example, the light should feel coming into your kitchen, you remember the natural light you noted from some location/picture/etc. … and because you “felt” that space, you can recall details like greenery, and wood can warm up natural light (for this example)… you now have a starting point.
Because you asked “why” when you were studying images or walking through a space, you now are able to apply the idea to your needs. It sounds hard, but once you try, it will get easier.