posted by Mandy McWilliams
My most important advice to people wanting to make a design change, but not knowing exactly WHAT to do … ”Start small”.
1. Start Small
For example, paint a room a totally different color (including the ceiling). I love the dramatic impact of these painted ceilings … hello, pretty:
After all, it’s just paint and can be easily re-painted with a minimal impact on your wallet.
Also, go through your house and THROW AWAY items that you don’t like but have put-up-with just because you have them (i.e. Lamps that don’t match, throw pillows that are dated or worn, artwork that has lost it’s appeal, or that sofa that your husband had during his “bachelor days”). This is one mistake that a lot of people make – they try to coordinate a new design idea with something that they don’t like. Hence, the design is usually less than successful.
3. Commit to a Style
After decluttering, decide on the style you like. Are you drawn to mid-century modern pieces or do you like a more traditional/rustic feel? Take the Better Homes and Gardens “Find Your Style” quiz to help you decide.
Remember, just because you like a certain style doesn’t mean that every piece of furniture or décor item has to fall into that category. Personally, I don’t like “match-matchy” design and prefer to have statement pieces that showcase my preferred style. My husband and I love mid-century modern and have built our style around my favorite iconic mid-century chair, the white Eames lounge chair and ottoman. We have many other pieces in our living room, but this piece is the star. Our other furniture pieces are solid colored and darker, making the Eames “glow”. By using patterned pillows on the sectional sofa and a patterned rug under the sofa, we keep the space from feeling too sterile. And, goodness knows it is not with two toddlers running around.
This brings up a myth regarding toddlers … You CAN use white on furniture if you have kids. Our Eames chair is white leather and is easy to clean. Leather is super durable and barring any Sharpie® Marker incidents, I feel like white leather furniture is totally doable with kiddos.
4. Tie Rooms Together with a Theme
Another inexpensive way to update your design is to coordinate from room to room by adding small touches that will be a “theme” throughout the house. For example, have all of the windows covered with the same wooden blinds/shutters, use touches of the same bold accent color in each room (small pillows, lamp shades, picture frames, accent rugs, etc.) OR, you could have the same type of black & white artwork throughout the house.
5. Know When to Ask for Professional Help
Now, for bigger expenses (like new countertops, flooring, or cabinets) I would definitely have someone with whom to trade ideas. Hiring a registered Interior Designer for a consultation would help ease some heartburn when making these potentially expensive choices. Most people already know what they want design-wise, but consulting with a professional can help build confidence in choices and can make a renovation (no matter how small) less stressful.
Mandy Jaye McWilliams, RID
TX Registered Interior Designer, #10684