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…
#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.
#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!