Not everyone can afford to hire an interior designer to come into their home and create a fabulous and coordinated design. Many homeowners want to be the one who makes the design decisions and incorporate their style. So while we have a lot of respect for interior designers and all of the hard work they put into their designed spaces, we also know many of you out there would love a designer look without the designer expense. We’re confident these tips on how to interior design your home can make that happen.
Let’s take a closer look at how to interior design your home by organizing and designing your rooms into a space that, until now, you thought only an interior designer could create. Whether you want your interiors to look like a luxury hotel or jazz them up a little, these tips will help. Your DIY interior design is our little secret. There is a reason for all the avid “Pinners” on Pinterest — people crave an amazing home interior. As most of us have already discovered, decor websites can spark a flame of creativity that we never knew we had. If you have not already begun to create inspiration boards for your home’s decor, then begin now. This is the first step to creating the home you desire.
Go onto Pinterest to search for home styles that appeal to you, or go onto MY MOVE and use the “Collect This Idea” button to gather design images that excite you, or simply grab some design magazines and cut out pictures that speak to you. After hunting and gathering for creative DIY interior design images that inspire you, step back and look at all that you have collected — this should tell the story of your design style. You may be surprised at the style you crave to create.
The texture is equally important to colour, especially if you crave a single colour scheme such as all-white or all-grey. A room at first glance can seem like a single colour scheme, but if you look closely, you will notice shades within the same colour and plenty of texture via fabrics/textiles.
An all-white room may have linen draperies, a plush velvet chair, shiny silk cushions, rattan chairs and woven baskets, and a nubby cotton sofa tossed on the side with a faux fur blanket. All of these elements add texture and please the eye, creating a warm, rich environment. In addition, design can describe the owner’s personality, so using textures, patterns, and varying colours can bring a dull room into sophistication with ease.
Consider the textiles that suit your lifestyle. For example, if you have kids and dogs, you may not want a light cotton sofa; rather, a darker leather or mohair sofa may better suit your needs. If you crave luxury, then consider high-end silk draperies and pillows. Whatever your style, try to add plenty of texture by bringing numerous textiles into your DIY interior design.
3 Rules To Follow When Decorating With Your Home Design Style In Mind:
Now that you’ve got a clear idea of what your home aesthetic is, thanks to our interior design quiz, here are our three crucial rules to ace DIY home decorating. You can make your home look like a professional designer styled it — without breaking the bank!
Rule #1: Know Your Design Style By Heart.
Let’s face it — some home decor styles are easy to confuse with one another (hello, Minimalist and Scandinavian!). So how do you make sure that the design you’re trying to imitate truly reflects your style?
Step 1: Start With A Home Aesthetic Quiz.
Start with our What’s My Decorating Style? Quiz! It’s quick, purely visual, and fun to take. You might be surprised — the style that you end up with (and truly suits you) might be slightly different from what you’ve imagined all along! It will also give you the necessary design vocab to narrow down your search. For example, when looking for home decor pieces, you can type words like “industrial,” “coastal,” or “boho” to help you find the perfect fit for your home!
Step 2: Take A Good Look At Your Space.
Once you’ve got your style down pat, your next fundamental step is to scrutinize your space. Is it a total revamp in the cards? Or do you just need some accessories here and there to emulate your style? Which areas of your home are working for you and which ones aren’t? Is it important for your home to have a lot of natural light? Or does artificial light suffice?
Keeping an open mind and a flexible outlook will make it easier for you to understand what suits you and keeps you happy down the line.
Step 3: Get Inspired.
Ahhh, this is probably one of our favourite steps. Take a step back, relax, and just allow the creative energy to flow. Look for home decor inspiration from sites like Pinterest, in your favourite home decor magazines, and even in movies or TV series.
Also, pull inspiration from the spaces around you. Getting inspired by actual lived-in homes is a great way to visualize how your space could look with a similar layout or elements. Save some pictures and file them together to create your interior design mood board. Ask a friend for recommendations when you come across fixtures, furniture, or artwork you love in their homes.
Rule #2: Follow the 3 C’s: choose, consider, curate.
So moving on to the second must-follow rule of DIY interior design: choose elements wisely, consider the nitty-gritty of your space, and curate to bring in the happy feelings.
First, choose style elements and accessories that you see yourself (and your family) using and enjoying in the long run. As much as we would like our space to epitomize our style, practicality and functionality still make a liveable, comfortable home.
Second, consider lighting, measurements, etc. It’s easy to shop for anything and everything that embodies your style. But the thing is, not all of those items were made to fit your home. Consider the amount of light your space gets at all times of day, and choose paint colours and lighting that can brighten your space. Take notes about the dimensions of your room to make sure that you find furniture that fits.
Lastly, curate your home aesthetic by only bringing in things that make you happy. Clutter never maketh any man happier — and we live by this principle, too. To make a truly standout space, take it easy on the accessorizing. Trust us; it’s better to slowly add elements one at a time rather than have an overwhelmingly designed space.
Rule #3: Promise To Work Within Your Set Budget.
Our last rule is where most DIY designers falter. For some, the high of visualizing their dream home design wears off as soon as the talk of a budget comes up. But working within your budget shouldn’t be met with dread and shouldn’t stifle your creative potential. Here’s how you can stick to your budget without sacrificing your dream home decor:
Reuse Items That You Already Have.
You might already have what you need. Categorize each item you currently own and identify if it still serves its purpose and the style you’re going for. Do you have items that have an entirely different aesthetic than you’re going for? Organize a garage sale for extra funds or donate them to your nearest charity.
Dive Into A Garage Sale Or A Secondhand Store.
Somebody else’s unwanted items could be your treasure. But, unfortunately, these establishments are a hodgepodge of every style — both old and new — and could become an easy distraction. So remember — eyes on the prize.
Focus On Mixing Rather Than Matching.
Purchasing big-ticket items in one go, like a furniture set, might sound like a way to get everything you need at once. But it could end up draining your budget faster and restrict your ability to truly personalize your space. To design like an actual pro, don’t be afraid to mix and match your elements — especially your furniture. Keep one focal point and add in complementing accessories.
Try Your Hand At Diy-ing Your Home Pieces.
Interior design styles like Shabby Chic and Industrial, among others, feature lived-in pieces which are easy to replicate with some patience and elbow grease. With DIY, you get to unleash your creativity and create design pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.
Home Decorating Tips For the DIYer in You
Professional home stagers know how to play up your house’s strengths, hide its flaws, and make it appealing to just about everyone. We talked to several pros across the country to get their tips for freshening up the rooms in your home without breaking your budget.
Set The Tone at The Front Door
If you want your house to make a great first impression, paint the front door a fun, glossy hue. “Red is a lucky colour in many cultures,” says Lara Allen-Brett, a New Jersey-based stager. A red door meant “welcome” to weary travellers in early America, and on churches, it represents a haven.
Two other hues gaining favour: orange and yellow, according to San Francisco-based stager Christopher Breining. Both colours are associated with joy and warmth—one thing that should go: an outdated screen door. Get rid of it or replace it with a storm door with full-length glass that you can switch out for a screened panel.
Paint Wall Colors Light and Neutral
Stick to colours like beige or grey, especially on the first floor, where flow is important. “You want to minimize jarring transitions,” says Breining. In addition, neutral walls give you the greatest decorating flexibility, allowing you to easily switch up your accessories.
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And if you have two small rooms next to each other, painting them the same neutral colour helps them feel larger. Look at a paint strip and move up or down a shade or two for a subtle variation from room to room, suggests Allen-Brett.
Living Area: Make Sure Your Sofa Talks to Your Chairs
Think of a nice hotel lobby: The furniture is arranged in groupings that invite conversation. When you place the furniture in your living room, aim for a similar sense of balance and intimacy.
“A conversation area that has a U-shape, with a sofa and two chairs facing each other at each end of the coffee table, or an H-shape, with a sofa directly across from two chairs and a coffee table in the middle, is ideal,” says Michelle Lynne, a Dallas-based stager.
One common mistake to avoid: Pushing all the furniture against the walls. “People do that because they think it will make their room look bigger, but in reality, floating the furniture away from the walls makes the room feel larger,” she says.
Let The Sun Shine In Your Kitchen
“When it comes to heavy, outdated drapes, a naked bank of windows is better than an ugly one,” says Lynne. Ideally, window dressings should be functional and elegant: Think sheers paired with full-length panels.
If your room gets a lot of sun, opt for light colours that won’t fade. The most recommended lightweight fabrics for panels are cotton, linen, and silk blends because they tend to hang well.
Hang at Least One Mirror in Every Room
“Mirrors can make a space feel brighter because they bounce the light around the room,” says Breining. But placing one in the wrong spot can be almost as bad as not having one at all.
Put mirrors on walls perpendicular to windows, not directly across from them. Hanging a mirror directly opposite a window can bounce the light right back out the window.
Scale Artwork to Your Wall
“There are few things more ridiculous-looking than hanging dinky little art too high on the wall,” says Breining. Instead, the middle of a picture should hang at eye level. If one person is short and the other tall, average their heights.
Also, take scale into account; for a large wall, go big with one oversize piece or group smaller pieces gallery-style. Don’t space the pictures too far apart; 2 to 4 inches between items usually looks best.
Layer Your Lighting
Every room should have three kinds of lighting: ambient, which provides overall illumination and often comes from ceiling fixtures; task, often found over a kitchen island or a reading nook; and accent, which is more decorative, highlighting, say, artwork.
You should have at least 3 watts (42 lumens) per square foot for a living room. One visual trick Breining swears by using uplights. “Placing a canister uplight or a torchiere in the corner will cast a glow on the ceiling, making a room seem bigger,” he says.
Anchor Rugs Under Furniture Feet
Follow these basic rules for an area rug: “In a living room, all four legs of the sofa and chairs in a furniture grouping should fit on it; the rug should define the seating area,” says Breining. “At the very least, the front two legs of the sofa and chairs should rest on it,” he adds.
Even living rooms with less than generous proportions usually require an 8-by-10-foot or a 9-by-12-foot rug to properly accommodate a seating area. Go too small with the rug size, and everything looks out of scale.
Call in a Pro to Declutter
The longer you live in a house, the less you see the mess over time. However, sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes. You can hire an organizer for a few hours (expect to pay $35 to $150 an hour, depending on where you live) to tackle bookshelves and closets, which stagers say are often packed with twice the amount of stuff they should hold.
Breining suggests whittling down what’s on your shelves by 50 per cent. Then mix horizontal stacks of books among the vertical rows and intersperse decorative objects, such as bowls or vases, among them.
Use Visual Tricks to Raise The Ceiling
If your ceilings are on the low side, paint them white to make the room feel less claustrophobic. Hang curtains higher than the windows, suggests Allen-Brett, to trick your eye into thinking the room is taller. Most standard curtain panels measure 84 or 96 inches, allowing you to go about 3 inches above the window casing before the length gets too short.
If you want to hang them higher, you’ll have to order custom drapes. Love patterned panels? Try vertical stripes; the lines visually elongate your walls. Leaning a large mirror against a wall can also make a room seem taller.
Give Old Finishes The Cinderella Treatment
Got dated fixtures? Reinvent them with spray paint and inexpensive refinishing kits. “A 1980s brass chandelier can get a new lease on life with a quick coat of hammered-bronze or satin-nickel spray paint,” says Breining.
Even outdated kitchen cabinets benefit from a few coats of white paint and new hardware. And if you thought there was no hope for Formica countertops, think again. Breining swears by Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations, a DIY counter-coating product that mimics stone, making even the ugliest 1970s counter look fresh.
What’s left to do: Swap out cracked and mismatched switch plates and outlet covers for updated matching ones. Says Lynne: “Nothing drags down a refreshed space like a dingy, almond-coloured switch plate.”