I'm fascinated by using traditional needlework designs in a fresh, modern way. Most needlecraft books I use are from the seventies and early eighties, and style wise, that's not really my period :-).
If you want to get an idea of how to use a traditional design in your own way, making a mood board can really help. It's a way to visualize what your design might look like, and in what type of interior it might be used.
Here's one I made for the throw I'm working on right now. I'm making it for our bedroom, which I want to be warm, soft and cozy :-) I tried to play with contrast by to using different textures (apple wood, wool, linen, silk, paper) and a combination of dark and light colors.