Creative Event Design With Steve Bales

For our February ‘Influencers and Innovators’ guest blogger we’re thrilled to welcome Steve Bales, Creative Director of Bold American Events! Destination South has collaborated with Steve and Bold American many times over the years. Steve’s designs are always unique and inspiring. In this blog, enjoy insights from Steve on what sparks creativity for his designs.

Steve Bales, Creative Director of Bold American Events has been producing and designing events for over 25 years. Bizbash Magazine named Steve one of the top 35 event designers in America and he has received dozens of awards and recognitions for his work in floral design, tablescapes, themed décor, and event innovations. His work has been featured in several magazines such as Special Event, Flower Magazine, Modern Luxury, and Grace Ormonde.

Over the years Steve has judged numerous award competitions for the event industry, and has been featured as guest speaker/presenter at “The Special Event” international conference, Event Solutions Conference, and United Way of America’s National Convention, just to name a few.

“Although finding inspiration is so important in event design, it is a difficult thing to concretely describe or inorganically create for yourself. The creative process is different for everyone, but here are a few areas that frequently spark great ideas for me.” – Steve Bales, Creative Director

I love taking long walks and letting the outdoors naturally inspire me. Gardens are a great place to do this because they are so many different spaces to explore, and they change so much with the seasons. Gardens are full of color and texture, and oftentimes the melding of the two can be surprising! I do my best to walk around and open my eyes and mind to what nature presents me.


Some stores can have truly breathtaking window or in-store displays these days, and each has a different personality that you can draw from. West Elm has intriguing uses of raw wood and hanging elements. I also love their tablescapes and trending color palates. Conversely, Anthropology has great use of color and craft installations using all types of paper products, from coffee filters to newspapers, old books and tin cans. Polo is always a go-to for a more classic feel; they have a great use of home interior elements and always beautifully repurpose old finds like airplane propellers or window frames. If you’re in the Atlanta area, the new Restoration Hardware is well worth a trip! Their staging of rooms is fantastic, and I love their accent pieces.


If you don’t feel like getting out and exploring, there are a lot of ways to spark creativity at home. I love listening to the calm and soothing tones of classical music. In the age of the internet, it’s also very popular to find inspiration online too. Some of my favorite blogs and websites are BizBash, Revelry Event Design, David Stark, Todd Events, Kehoe Designs, Event Eleven and Design Lab. Seeing what other people in the event space are up to is a great way to spark ideas of your own.

When you love what you do, it’s easy to find inspirational ideas in everyday life. The most important thing is to utilize what you’re passionate about, whatever it is-photography, painting, cooking, etc. Then allow that passion to guide you in creative ways. Like Vincent Van Gogh said, “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” Harnessing those ideas, or “painting that dream” can be a difficult next step, but once you concentrate on one “area” or “focal point” of an event, and you use those areas of inspiration to guide it, you’ll be able to shape or evolve the event from there.