Interior Design: 5 Things You Should Know

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Some things come naturally to certain people: baking, drawing, decorating a room… For the rest of us, it takes an education. When I decorated my first apartment, I knew what I wanted but had trouble bringing that vision to life. I guess you could say I was overwhelmed. The daunting task of pulling together a space that wasn’t just a bedroom in a fully furnished house, seemed like an impossible chore. As with all things, it took practice, a few moves, and some divine (design) inspiration to finally feel comfortable decorating my home.

Whether your space is simply a room or an entire house, there are a few things I’ve learned about interior design to help you conquer your design demons…

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#1: Personalize your space.
Your home (or room) should reflect who you are. If someone were to walk into your home, they should know that it’s yours. The best way to achieve this is by including accessories that reveal your hobbies and interests. What’s important is that you distance yourself from what the stores are telling you to buy. Often times we are drawn to ideas that are trendy or pre-done: “Of course this white lacquered elephant statue would look great in my bedroom!” But is that really you? Maybe not. Instead, aim for pieces that compliment your personal clothing style. You may be surprised to discover that styling an outfit isn’t too different from decorating a room. So take a look in your closet. What colors are you drawn to? Do you prefer mod or modern? Clean cuts or lacy ruffles? Use your taste in clothing as a style guide for your home–it’s an easy way to ensure your space is 100% you.

#2: Work with your surroundings.
It’s important to understand your design limitations. Be familiar with the size and scale of the room. Also, consider your environment and respond to it. Whether you’re in the city or the countryside, it helps to take a cue from your surroundings. In turn, you can narrow down your choices based on the context of your space.

#3: Keep comfort in mind.
Have you ever purchased a piece of furniture simply because it was pretty, only to discover that it’s painfully uncomfortable (or useless)? I don’t know about you, but I am definitely guilty of this offense. Nevertheless, the silver lining of this mistake is that I learned an important lesson: comfort is key. When I think of “home sweet home,” the first word that comes to mind is cozy. Making your home comfy and cozy is a must. Nothing is worse than going to a friend’s house and awkwardly balancing on their post-modern chair. Your space should be inviting and comfortable.

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#4: Stick with the classics.
There’s a reason classic is, well, classic. Incorporating pieces that have withstood the test of time gives you the freedom to translate them as your design style evolves. Using classic furniture, prints, and fabrics provides you with a basic foundation to build on with trendy or personalized accessories and finishes. Let’s say you find a gorgeous antique credenza or a traditional armchair. You love the shape and feel of the piece, but the finish or fabric is all wrong. In this situation, I say: invest! There are plenty of ways to transform an older, classic shaped piece of furniture. If it’s a sofa: reupholster, add throw pillows… An aged dresser: paint it! The possibilities are endless when it comes to updating a timeless piece.

#5 Less is more.
Keep it simple. You don’t want to overcrowd your space. If you edit the items in each room, the area will appear to be cleaner and even bigger. Just remember, you can always add more!

I hope you find my tips helpful the next time you find yourself face-to-face with an interior design project.

If you have any additional suggestions, please share them in the comments below!

XO Lauren

Photos: citified, weheartit, urbanoutfitters
Categories: Decorate, Lauren Conrad
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  • Katherine S

    Thanks Lauren, This is exactly what I needed to help me with my new home reno project (black and red baseboards? I think not!!!)

    I think this will help me get those little finishing touches together. Will post my photo results when I’m done! :)

  • Jennifer Houlahan

    These are such good tips for me because we are signing a lease for an awesome new apartment today! It’s bigger than our last so I need ideas for how to personalize the space! I’m so excited! :)

    http://fitnesshealthandfood.com/

  • Melissa Short

    Thanks Lauren! I’m looking to redecorate my small room and am realizing I have too much furniture in there. Channeling the ‘less is more’ mantra for the project, hope it works!

  • Drita Selimi

    Hi Lauren, I love this post because it’s important to feel comfortable in your own home. It is also important that your guests feel comfortable.
    I wanted to share with you the thing that makes me feel relax and happy. I love having a waterfall wall in my living room or as a screen between two spaces in a room. The sound of falling water relaxes me completely. Moreover it’s a piece of decoration that can join it at any decorating style. the wall of water can be big or small depending on space you have. For me it’s a plus.

  • Melissa Tansey

    oh i wanna decorate my room again after reading this!: )

  • Coral V

    Amazing! Thank-you. I’m re-doing my room as we speak.. when I was 16 I want my room bubblegum (neon) pink, so I am stuck witht that colour, but I am doing black accents and a Paris theme. It seems to be working so far! Appreciate the tips! Happy Thursday xo

  • Melissa Burke

    Thank you so much for the post, Lauren! I am redecorating my bedroom and just about to start painting! These tips really help :)

  • Kyra Ileni

    My room is like your tips…:-)My personal note is a lightblue wall!…And lot

  • Cassie Hanson

    perfectly said lauren! as an interior designer – these are great rules to decorate by!

    http://www.daeplanner.wordpress.com

  • Jacqueline Chan

    You continue to be my biggest inspiration. I love you!

    (BTW, these tips were beyond helpful because I will soon be decorating for my college apartment with my apartmentmates in no time!)

    XOXO

    Jackie

  • Anna Cummings

    I need to redo my room now… no joke. I love this post!!

  • ForeverSunshine

    I think the biggest problem is trying to decorate around my husband who is 6′ 3″”. It’s hard to do the cute girly furnitute even if it is comfortable because, well, he just doesn’t fit. Then there’s the fact we live in an apartment so there isn’t a lot of space for the oversized furniture we have.

    So, how can I decorate around my hubby without sacrifing my personal style while tastefully managing the oversized furniture? Thanks a million!

  • KNR

    Thanks so much for these tips Lauren!!! I’ve been going nuts over deciding how to properly use the space in my room, and this gives me some good direction! x0

  • Lauren Leathers

    I love these room tips! I need to use these! hahaa if you ever need fashion or beauty advice check out my blog!

    http://laurenleathersfashionbeautyblog.blogspot.com/

  • Nicole Williams

    I’m with Anna Cummings! I totally need to redecorate my room, like NOW!

  • Dess

    i like this (:

  • Kylie Kovas

    I move into my own place soon~ Can’t wait to applythese tips. Thanks! <3

  • anja pogmark

    Looove this post, thanks Lauren! I’m just redecorating my room, buying new furniture and stuff and this post is very usefull, thanks!

    P.S: love the photos (the combination of the white classics and pastel colors is sooo beutiful) :)

  • Flavia Roque

    Lauren, those tips were so helpful…. I have to decorate my new apartment and I’m going crazy! I’m very classic and this idea of investing on Classic pieces and mixing it with modern pieces is exacly what I need!

    Great post! thanks

  • Ally Lawrence

    I LOOOVE the picture of the bedroom in this post!! I have been thinking of redecorating my room because it is too juvinile and that picture is going to completley be the inspiration for my new room! Thanks so much Lauren! I love all your posts on this great site <3

  • Andrea Barahona

    I just moved and re-did my room! I’ll be posting up a picture and a note about it as soon as I get my curtains up. I am so extatic about it, everyone that’s seen it so far is far impressed with how affordable and delicious it all looks.

    All of the things you mentioned I preety much did before reading your blog. Everyone should follow these tips!!!

    I am one proud woman!!

  • Afton Williams

    as always LOVE. now i’m totally inspired…!

    Does anyone in Los Angeles know of any good flea markets?

  • Pau Garin

    I love tips, especially when I’m trying to decide how I do my room! once again thanks!. XO

  • Elena Pelucchi

    Thanks Lauren! I love your tips! baci!

  • Maria Ayala

    I am moving to my college dorm next year. and this is going to be really helpful when I want to make my part of the room MY style. So, thanks! c:

    xoxo, maria

  • Samhita

    i love this website: younghouselove.com they have a blog about interior decorating and diy’ing in general. its a great place for beginners or experts. i litterally spend hours on that site just learning.

    i also loved the pic of the bedroom you posted. my new room is very similar to that pic! def is giving me inspiration!!

  • jenna

    great ideas! especially sticking with the classics and editing rooms. Another tip is to redecorate using pieces you already have, so switching and bringing in furniture and art in other rooms. Its an easy way to get a completly different feel to the space

  • Sung-Yeh Nordquist

    This is perfect, it’s like you read our minds! :)

  • tatjana love

    Miss Lauren, Your tips are always so welcome and helpful! You, my dear, are a genius!

  • Caroline Knapp

    I couldn’t agree more with your personalized style comment. I hate when rooms look like a show room and don’t represent the person.

    As always, thanks for the great tips! See my bedroom here:

    http://sweetcarolineinthecity.com/life/blue/

  • Maddy Murphy

    Thanks Lauren, your amazing ! I love all your designing tips and I hope you post more ! x

  • mai salvatore

    Hi, Miss Lauren…I’m one of your so many followers…you’re such an inspiring young lady that’s why I really like you so much..:).

    Your tips are nice…and as an interior designer we always follow those things…I just wanted to add more.

    We should always remember the “”Form Follows Function”” by Louis Sullivan.

  • Caroline Db

    Just found this website about pimping your IKEA-stuff, http://www.ikeahackers.net , love IKEA Kristaller Chandelier gets a little glamorous and the Cherry Blossom Lantarn

    xo

    C.

  • erika franco

    i always love your posts… well in this case I can add something: two months ago I thought that in a niche I could build a kind of painting in relief to give a romantic touch to a bedroom..here is my site where I posted it in “”English details””

    http://prettylittletravels-ef.blogspot.com/

  • Winnie

    thank you for being so inspiring! you should definitely come out with a design book. your design style is just as incredible as your fashion sense.

  • Kimberly Reed

    I love your all white rooms…I too am going “”white”” just bougt the bookcase and couch this summer for my living room with white fireplace..getting a chandelier also on ceiling…white makes the room light, spacious looking:

  • Lauren Lance

    great tips lauren! :) I liked all the tips you suggested especially refurnishing / upholsterying furniture. Im going to school for interior design and its alot of fun but it does come with a great deal of WORK . theres alot more to interior design than people think. my main focus in interior design is to do commercial design ( like designing hotels, movie theaters , ampitheaters , salons .. etc. ) but I also love the residental side of interior design you can choose to go either way if you wanted too. theres so much knowledge to interior design keep expanding your options, theres so much more you can learn about! and also its great to go green they tell us in school to do substainable techniques,/ materials, refurnishing is a great idea to do and saves from alot of money! loved your blog !! keep posting them!!! I love that you post different options of different things like cooking, design , and workouts. there all great!

  • Katjusha Bricman

    LAUREN, could you please write something about what color to use for walls? I’ve been trying to find a perfect one, but it’s hard to tell from a photo.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • Megan Elliott

    These are great tips! It can be so hard to decorate a space on a budget–especially if you’re renting! Check out these great ideas: http://lushtoblush.com/2012/06/21/9-ways-to-accessorize-your-apartment/

  • Kate Noto

    I will definitely try this with my room and my boyfriends room.

  • Ali

    Oh yes being a graphic designer I can appreciate the less is more concept1

    Ali of

    http://www.dressingken.com

  • Sarah Turcotte

    This helps. When I get older I want to be a interior designer so, I wrote all this down to help me. Thanks for them. :)

  • MikeB

    I’m sorry, but you need to look up the difference between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator before you go offering up “”design”” tips. These are “”decorating”” tips. I’m surprised more people haven’t taken offense to your total lack of respect for their profession.

  • MikeB

    Differences Between Interior Design & Decorating

    Many people use the terms “”interior design”” and “”interior decorating”” interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways.

    Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.

    Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants’ quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.

    The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology—including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process—to satisfy the needs and resources of the client.

    Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces have passed laws requiring interior designers to be licensed or registered—documenting their formal education and training—and many of them specifically require that all practicing interior designers earn the NCIDQ Certificate to demonstrate their experience and qualifications. By contrast, interior decorators require no formal training or licensure.

    • AsianSens8tn

      Probably one of the best explanations I’ve seen of the differences between the two.

    • Vela

      Fundamentals of interior design 100 you summed up my first semester :-) thank you for the clarification though aloooooot of people think they are the same thing decorating and designing but oh how different they are! Interior Designers are also able to read blue prints…I dare one of these tv decorators to do that. Good info thanks again!

  • Frenny Shroff

    Thanx for the tips… Amazingly written <3 Appreciating dis.. :)
    Sometimes I wonder… Designing can also be such thoughtful
    & refined ? Refer dis also: http://www.archavenue.in/

    Keep uploading dis kind of stuff! :)

  • CelineSand

    One of the things I want to focus on in personalizing my space like your number one tip. I’ve been thinking of ways to represent myself in my interior designing. I think if I had the help of an interior designer, I could really pull the rooms together in my house!
    Celine | http://www.mirajehome.com.au

  • Plum Furniture

    The Tufted Bed is called The Archie Bed from Plum Furniture http://www.myplumdesign.com. The room and the furniture are both designed by Colleen McGill of McGill Design Group http://www.mcgilldesign.ca

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