Decorating a home can be hard, and picking the perfect accent pillow or paint color isn’t always intuitive. Our favorite interior designers, however, seem to have a secret book of tips and tricks that help them nail it every time. We’re uncovering those tips so that you can design your dream home on your own. Check them out below!
1. Amplify neutrals with texture
About the designer: Ohara Davies-Gaetano is an interior designer who takes a natural and artful approach to decorating homes. Currently, she lives in Laguna Beach, California and is the principal designer of Ohara Davies-Gaetano Interiors.
Design Tip: A room with a neutral color scheme can be the most interesting room in the house if you go big with textures. Don’t be afraid to mix different materials like linen, silk, taffeta, cotton and velvet. Davies-Gaetano swears by contrasting fabrics that absorb the light with fabrics that reflect it.
2. Lighting is key
About the designer: Oscar de la Renta was a renowned fashion designer who also had a passion and eye for interiors. For the last decade of his career, he had his feet planted in both industries, and both a collection of fabrics and a collection of home accessories.
Design Tip: According to Oscar de la Renta, “The most important thing? Perfect lighting at all times.” Natural light is the best light, so incorporate it into your space whenever and however you can. If that’s not an option, add your own light with lamps and fixtures. Be cognizant of the color, size, and wattage you choose; different bulbs can drastically alter the mood of a room.
3. Mix rather than match
About the designer: New York-based designer Bunny Williams is one of the most celebrated and revered interior designers to date. Her decades of experience and commitment to educating the next generation of designers are what make this iconic designer even more noteworthy.
Design tip: The most beautiful home decor doesn’t look like it all came in a set. Look online, in thrift stores, and antique shops for perfect pieces that complement the look you are going for. This helps your home feel more lived-in and welcoming and less like a designer show room.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of flowers
About the designer: Emily Henderson, star of HGTV’s Secrets of a Stylist and Target’s home spokesperson, is a best selling author and stylist with a strong commitment to vintage inspired approachable home style for everyone.
Design Tip: You may not realize the difference flowers can make, but once you place them in your home, you’ll never turn back. Whether you choose faux or real ones, designer Henderson suggests that you create a bouquet of several flowers in a single style arranged loosely in a cylindrical vase (think white roses or peonies). This beautiful arrangement is the perfect finishing decor touch without overpowering the whole room.
5. Start with a natural, neutral basic
About the designer: Meg Braff is known for her youthful take on traditional design. Delivering livable spaces with playful glamour and modern perspective is her forte. In addition to her interior design work, Meg launched her own wallpaper collection company and owns an antiques store in Locust Valley, New York. Braff has her first book in the works, to be released in Spring 2017!
Design tip: Materials like straw, jute, and rush look just as good indoors as they do out. Start with a quintessential straw rug and build your design from there. Braff describes natural materials and neutral tones as the “White T-shirt of interior design” because they never go out of style!
6. Colorful candles can go
About the designer: Olga Naiman founded APARAT, a full-service creative agency, in 2003. Her background in theatrical set design (MA from Central St. Martin’s, London) makes her keenly aware of how art, interior design, light and sculpture can coalesce into something extraordinary.
Design tip: As much as we all love a good scented candle, Naiman claims that they might be a big decor faux-pas that we’re all overlooking. Designer Naiman claims that colorful candles “look really old-lady no matter what you do with them.” Next time you decorate with candles, stick to white or neutral colors, but feel free to mix size and height.
7. Hang mirrors with purpose
About the designer: Dallas-based Jan Showers came to her signature style from diverse and unexpected inspirations, including movies and novels, contemporary and vintage fashion, art, architecture, fine antiques, and vintage pieces. The culmination of these influences is usually summarized simply as “glamour.”
Design tip: It’s commonly known that mirrors can dress up a room and even make the room seem bigger, but are you thinking about what your mirrors are reflecting? When hanging a mirror, Showers ensures that the reflection centers around a beautiful scene, like a grand chandelier.
8. Let space dictate
About the designer: With over 20 years of experience, Todd Romano brings traditional, high-end principles and contemporary lifestyle to his work. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Todd studied architecture at the University of Texas in Austin. He still finds inspiration in the architecture and the decorative arts he sees both at home and abroad.
Design tip: When dealing with tiny room or small space, Romano says you might have to get creative when it comes to buying and situating furniture. For example, if you know that you need to push the bed against the window, purchase a headboard that beautifully lets the light in.