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Decorating Tips from an Interior Designer

Monday, October 20, 2014

This post first appeared as a guest post on A Pinch of Jasmine AND Birch Juice nominated this post for Best Design Blogs!

When people find out that I'm an interior designer, I usually get comments like, "I need help with my house." or "I need decorating advice." Although I am an interior designer, I don't design houses or even work much with finishes. I work for the government and spend most of my time reviewing bids for furniture packages. It's pretty dull and boring work, but I do enjoy decorating my own home. Today I'm giving some basic tips that can be applied to anyone and any decorating scheme.

1. Don't buy furniture in sets. I don't know many people who want their home to look like it came out of a catalog. Most people want their home to be a reflection of themselves and their personality. I think this is best achieved by buying individual furniture pieces instead of sets.

2. Hang your window treatments high. I feel like this tip is everywhere in Pinterest, but in case you aren't aware of this, here's a great image.
how to hang draperies
Hanging your window treatments higher makes your windows and ceilings look taller.

3. Mix and match styles. Just because you have a mid-century sofa doesn't mean that you can't mix in traditional furniture with it.
mix and match furniture styles

4. Neutral walls and colorful furniture OR colorful walls and neutral furniture. I recommend one or the other, not both. There are a few exceptions to this rule - Holly from in the fun lane does a great job with the neutral on neutral color scheme and Emily Henderson did a very colorful tween girl's room - but I think this near to impossible for the regular person to pull off.
Colorful furniture with guitar

5. Spend money on investment pieces; the furniture that you will have for years (like a sofa or dining room table). Save on accessories by buying them at thrift stores or yard sales. Whenver I get tired of a room in my apartment, I go thrift store shopping for new accessories or lamps. Spray paint can transform practically any and every ugly thrift store find.
mix and match decorations from thrift store

Everything in this photo (except the candle) was bought at a thrift store.

6. Buy things you LOVE. Don't just buy something because you want to finish up a space. Wait until you find something you love and can't live without. When I'm not sure about buying an item, I usually walk around the store for a few minutes. If I'm still thinking about that same item, then I know I should buy it.
Crate and Barrel bar cabinet

7. Framing doesn't have to be expensive. I buy most of my frames at thrift stores and then spray paint them. Last year I bought 30 frames for $10.

Colorful living room gallery wall

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12 Responses to “Decorating Tips from an Interior Designer”

  1. Great tips. We hung out curtains as high as was possible and I love it.. Makes such a huge

  2. This is great! I especially agree with number six. I have blank spots all over my house waiting for the perfect piece, but I want every single item in my home to be either functional or something that I personally think is absolutely beautiful. I have learned the hard way that I will love a space much more and much longer this way.

  3. I will be heading to Goodwill this weekend to buy frames. We are thinking of creating a gallery wall (maybe 2) for our stairs and above our couch...and buying frames at TJ Maxx can still get a bit expensive. Hello Goodwill!

  4. I'm SO in love. What a great post idea!!! MORE!

  5. I love this post! It's so helpful to all of us interior design newbies. I will definitely use your tips to enhance my home :)

  6. This couldn't have come at a better time. Today our offer was accepted on our first apartment! I am definitely pinning this for move in day ;-) L x #JackOfAllTrades

  7. Yay Laura! Congrats on your first home!

  8. Ohmygosh, yes! Frames get so expensive, especially when you're doing a gallery wall!

  9. I know, Hena! I think it can even make the room feel larger!

  10. Me too Megan! I went through a period where I was just buying things to fill space, not because I loved them. Hello credit card debt!

  11. Oh, I LOVE all these tips! I have been too chicken to bring anything with patterns into my home but I always love the look. Now that we have nice neutral walls I might be willing to give a patterned chair a go.

  12. Such great tips!! Thanks for sharing!


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