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Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Home Like a Designer

It takes a certain eye to be able to pull a room together and make it fabulous and functional, all at the same time. With that being said, not everyone can afford to hire an interior designer to come into their home and guide all of their design decisions. And some of us actually want to be the one who makes our own design decisions, using our own individual style and preferences.

So how can we get the inspiration to take our interiors from boring to beautiful, without the expense of a professional designer? We’re sharing some simple tips to help you begin designing your rooms into a space that, until now, you thought only an interior designer could create.

Display Books
Books are the greatest accessories ever. They add warmth to any room. Stack and intermix them with fun objects for an instantly polished look.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Avoid the Matchy-Matchy
Different textures make any interior look more expensive. Combine sisal, leather, metal, linen and glass to make a simple space seem as if it’s been curated by a professional.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Throw Some Pillows
Accent pillows can look high-end but are super easy on your wallet. They’re a perfect low-risk chance to play around with color and pattern.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Include a Statement Plant
The fiddle leaf fig is beloved by design pros–and the magazines that lovingly photograph their work–for its large size, lollipop shape and cheery shade of green. Add one or a similar big green plant to inject color into an otherwise mostly neutral palette.

Photo: Pinterest

Layer Your Rugs
A great way to cover a large space without investing in a room sized rug, it’s also a easy way to incorporate mixed patterns and lend a relaxed bohemian style to a space that can easily be changed up later.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Paint Your Bookshelf’s Backing
A simple way to create depth as well as a fresh, vibrant look with minimum effort is to paint only the backing of built-ins or bookshelves.

Photo: Elle Decor

Add Mirrors
Whether used as a single statement piece or in a small grouping, mirrors lighten and open a lackluster space. Target is a great “luxe for less” source for fab mirrors these days.

Photo: Chameleon Design 

Home Design Trends // Artisan Pieces

Handmade and artisan craft pieces are currently a big home decor trend, ranging from knit accessories to imperfect pottery. Marketplaces like Etsy have created a platform for creative-types to sell their handmade products to people from all over the world, growing this desire for decor pieces with character. Many retailers have picked up on this trend and have designed pieces to appear handmade, with a slight irregularities or adding a rustic finish to create the appearance of age.

Rope Dyed Pillow, Mercado Global 

Handmade Mug, Leif Shop

Striped Tablecloth, Little Market

Handwoven Market Basket, Connected Goods

Feng Shui Tips To Bring Good Energy Into the Home

Feng shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It’s a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it. Feng shui has long observed that the front door represents our relationship with the world. When it’s captivating and positive, that is the kind of energy that shows up and channels throughout the rest of our home.  Here are a few simple suggestions to get the good vibes flowing your way:

Make the space outside the door as appealing as possible
Keep your front door area in tip top shape by replacing any burned out lights, wiping down the door and its hardware and by just keeping the space clean and approachable. And if you can do nothing else, sweep. It’s a simple ritual that maintains pleasing space and calls forth positive energy.

Infuse the front path or porch with color and fragrance
Healthy plants and bright flowers elevate beauty and suggest good health. Maintain both, and feng shui says that it’s a magnetic invitation to whatever you desire in your life.

Maintain a visible address
Refresh it, if necessary: a quick polish to the numbers or a few new screws to firmly hold them in place, a fresh coat of paint to update a faded curb address, or a well-posted name in an apartment building will ensure energy knows exactly where to find you.

Use your front door daily
Most of us enter our homes through a secondary door. However, feng shui holds that the really potent, boundless energy available prefers the front door, if invited. Make it a routine to open the door at least once a day. When we do, we invite bounty and abundance into our lives.

Keep the front door clutter-free
The wider a door opens, the more open we become to unlimited resources and opportunities. If there is unnecessary clutter, find a home for it. Designate a basket for shoes, place a tray nearby for keys and mail, and install hooks to hang anything else that might otherwise linger on the floor.

Let your creative juices flow here. Whether you add thriving plants or attractive light fixtures it all beckons the good life to find its way to your front door!

FengShui1

feng-shui-tips-entryway

Common Decor Mistakes // The Living Room

There are certain mistakes that even the savviest home designers make. We’re calling out some of the most common issues we see when it comes to living room design, as well as some solutions to assure you won’t make these mistakes again. We’ve shared images of our work to demonstrate how you can effectively tackle these common décor mistakes.

Purchasing Furniture in Sets
We tend to gravitate toward rooms that give off a collected air, spaces that feel as if they have lived a life. When the sofa and chairs are perfectly matched or the side tables, coffee table, and armoire are all the same, the space loses that unique, personal feeling.

Solution: Switch up your furniture selection to create a unique mix.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Lighting is an Afterthought
Home decorators commonly focus their attention on statement pieces like a sofa, and then add in lighting at the last minute to fill in any gaps.

Solution: Think about the lighting scheme from the beginning of the design. Whether opting for a statement chandelier, a pair of sculptural table lamps or decorative sconces, paying attention to the lighting you incorporate into your décor will create a more cohesive overall look.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Pushing Furniture Against the Wall
While it’s not a pitfall often seen in large spaces, pushing all of your furniture flush against a wall may be doing you a disservice.

Solution: A furniture plan featuring floating pieces is more conducive to conversation both when hosting guests and when just enjoying family time at home. Place a console behind a floating sofa to give it additional heft or position a side table between floating lounge chairs to provide a sense of permanence.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Not Mixing Materials

Solution: A variety of fabrics, finishes, and textures is key when designing a layered, dimensional space. If your side tables, console, and coffee table are all wood, consider subbing in a glass or metal piece to create more variety. Similarly, if your sofa is linen, we recommend switching up the fabrics on your draperies, lounge chairs, and throw pillows to create more visual appeal and keep the eye moving.

Photo: Chameleon Design

 Area Rug That’s Too Small
An area rug that is too small will make your furniture look crowded rather than planned and you’ll lose valuable useable square footage by cramming everything close together.

Solution: Take time to measure your space to see what the ideal size would be, and invest in a rug that is suitable for your room.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Home Design Trends // Exposed Bulbs

Exposed light bulbs and bulbs with transparent shades are popping up everywhere and in all manner of modern interior schemes. Also called an Edison bulb, its getting all sorts of attention as part of the industrial-chic trend. At just a few extra bucks a pop, they can turn a simple fixture into a statement piece.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Jasper Sconce, Pottery Barn

Capture

Photo: Reeves Pendant, Arteriors

Three Jar Chandelier, West Elm

Essentials for an Eclectic Home

Eclectic design encompasses a variety of periods and styles and is brought together through the use of color, texture, shape and finish. A space that is eclectic allows for traditional furniture to mix with modern, or vice versa. Though it may not look it, a true eclectic style is a very purposeful and well thought-out way of decorating, and it’s not easy. Some styles don’t mix well, so it’s best to use no more than two styles unless you’re a professional.

To achieve this look, choose a color scheme and stick with a neutral as your grounding force. Then add to it with colored and textured solids and patterns. A combination of finishes and textures sets an eclectic look apart from the rest. If you like a wide variety of styles in your home and don’t like things that are too matchy matchy, a more eclectic style may be just the thing you’re searching for.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Pinterest

Home Design Trends // Monochromatic Color Schemes

With home decor, sometimes it’s the most simple statements that make the biggest impact. The monochromatic look has been on the rise this year, and there are no signs of it slowing down. Monochromatic color schemes are color palettes based off of the same color spectrum. When they’re done right they make a big statement and can add sophistication and interest in your home.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Chameleon Design

Home Design Trends // Pineapples

The pineapple has a long and charming history going back to colonial times where it was used as a gift for the hostess when entertaining guests. Though the pattern is not new to home decor, it’s a hot trend right now and we’re seeing it used in new, fun ways. These pineapples are not the Early American version with brass trivets and welcome mats. These pineapples are bold, modern, graphic, colorful, and fun. Their quirky shape and bright colors bring a retro feel to any room, so why not add a juicy touch to yours?

Wallpaper, Rifle Paper Co

Print, Wallstudio.com

Fabric, Dark Dog Studio

Ceramic Jars, Two’s Company

How To Create an Open Plan Kitchen

The kitchen is often called the hub of the home and for a while we’ve seen spaces designed to open to adjacent family rooms, creating a more intimate, homey feeling. Now formal dining rooms are following suit: in many homes, they’ve effectively become obsolete, being absorbed by the kitchen, creating larger, more functional spaces.

Homeowners have broken free of formality and embraced floorplans that combine rooms for optimal use. There’s no sense in wasting square footage on a room that’s only used sporadically. Considering an open-plan kitchen? The key to design success in these spaces is to separately define the

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dining and kitchen prep-areas, while ensuring the combined space is harmonious. Read on for why these rooms get it right.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Diverse Materials:
A mix of materials and surfaces keeps the eye moving in these large spaces and prevents visual boredom. If your countertops are granite, opt for a wood table with chrome light fixtures. If you have butcher-block counters, a marble-top table set underneath iron light fixtures is a good way to introduce a variety of texture into the space.

Lighting Variety:
Using an assortment of lighting fixtures and styles will define the kitchen and dining areas as different zones, though they may only be separated by mere feet. Switch up the styles of your sconces, pendants, and chandelier to keep the design cohesive, but dimensional.

A Decorated Space:
Combining kitchen and dining spaces doesn’t mean you have to lose all of the décor components. This makes dining rooms special. By introducing art, vintage and antique seating, beautiful draperies, and decorative accessories, you can still give the design of your open-plan kitchen the high-end look of a formal dining room.

A Variety of Seating Styles:
By distinguishing the look of your kitchen barstools from your dining chairs, you can evoke the feeling of a separate dining room and make the space dynamic and interesting while you’re at it.

Key Decorating Tips to Make Any Room Better

Designers don’t follow a secret rule book, but there are definitely some rough principles that guide us to ensure a great result every time. They are tried and true things that work, not necessarily tricks or skills that take years to master. Consider these tips a foundation for developing your own design ability:

Pick the paint color last
Homeowners commonly want to pick a paint color before they move in. This is not ideal as there are thousands of paint colors with various tints, tones and shades, and each one looks different from home to home. Light sources vary, meaning what looks good in your current home might not be perfect in your new one.

Give your furniture some breathing room
Resist overcrowding a room. You don’t need to fill up a space with lots of furniture for the room to look great. Spend more of your budget on fewer, better-quality pieces, and your room will look better than ever.

Photo: Houzz.com

Hang artwork at the right height
Galleries and museums hang artwork so that the mid-line (center) of each piece is 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor. (The average human eye level is 57 inches.) You should do the same in your home.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Resist the urge to have a theme
Some people have a tendency to go overboard with one particular theme or style and it can come off all wrong. For example, the Cape Cod look is a very popular, but it has been done so many times, it lacks individuality.

Create a focal point
Choose your piece and make it the focal point to anchor a room, while other items take a secondary role. Your focal point might be a dramatic hood in the kitchen, a mantel and art piece in the living room or a headboard in the bedroom. Whatever it is, choose something that will draw the eye’s attention.

Add layers of lighting
In a well-designed kitchen, the backsplash is lit, the artwork is highlighted and the cabinet interiors are filled with light. One central lighting fixture would not have had nearly the same dramatic result. Professionals build layers of lighting to create interest, intrigue and variety. In a room where everything is lit evenly, nothing stands out. Pick a focal point and perhaps a secondary focal point and highlight those. Add general ambient lighting and some lower lighting, like table lamps, for interest.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Be bold
Personality is what makes a space great. Make your own statement and have fun. The more you try, the more you will begin to see what works and what doesn’t. Incorporate unexpected elements for drama.

Photo: Houzz.com