Simple Design Tips

I have many people that reach out to me telling me they have “zero” design sense and have no idea where to start on finishing a space. I actually disagree with them often because the ideas they bring to me are usually really great! I just think the idea of designing a space can be overwhelming. However, as a designer, we usually just take a step back and think neutrally about where the space needs the most help and then decide how best to tackle the project. Here are some main categories I would think of as I work through a project.

  1. Organization. Getting rid of clutter and unnecessary items lying around is the first step in freshening up a space.  Sound simple?  Because it is!  Go section by section of a room and ask yourself: “Do I still need/use/want this item or is it just collecting dust?” If it is sentimental – maybe it’s worth holding onto, but if you catch yourself having an excuse for every item you hold onto, you probably need to narrow it down to items you still resonate with.  I’m not telling you to throw away every sentimental item, but not every one needs to be on a display in a room.  Decide what could be packed up & stored away and as another idea – is there a room that could use some decor that you could move it to?  Think outside the box — maybe a powder room could really benefit from some classy antiques!  
  2. Lighting. I cannot stress enough how much the lighting can affect a space.  Pay attention to your light bulbs’ color temperature: warm, neutral, cool.  Generally, you want a warm white in living rooms and bedrooms, soft white in kitchens and bathrooms, and keep cool bulbs for spaces you really need a bright light like an office or work space. Adding in table lamps with a warm light for evenings also adds great ambience.  Lightbulbs are such a cheap fix and can make a huge difference.  
  3. Theme.  If you’re redoing a whole room, think about the theme and feeling you want. Is it rustic, traditional, nautical, mid-century mod, or even bohemian? Then base your decor decisions on that theme.  If you combine too many themes, it can feel unsettled and busy.  If you haven’t given your home design a thought it awhile, I’m sure it is a combination of too many themes as designs go in and out over the years.  If a whole redesign is more than you’re ready to take on, look around the room and pull out a few items that could use a refresh.  Some affordable ideas — new candles & holders, new succulent (or convincing faux) plants, new throw blankets and pillows, or art on the wall.
  4. New color scheme. If you choose to really start from scratch in a room, here is a design guideline from interior design school… the 60-30-10 method. Make 60% of the space in a dominate color, 30% in a secondary color, and 10% in an accent color.  Go beyond that and it will be too busy.   Look at a color wheel — believe it or not, this was invented by Sir Isaac Newton and color hues are arranged sequentially so that related colors are next to each other & complementary colors are opposite.  So feel confident those colors will work together if you are ever at a loss 😀. 
  5. Think resale. Sorry, but I had to!  For more permanent decisions like hardwood floors or major remodels (like a full kitchen or bath), think of resale even if you aren’t planning on selling.  Decisions that appeal to a broader audience will attract the most buyers later down the road when you do eventually sell.  Those unique decisions that you love may not resonate with others and when you try to sell, you will feel frustrated that others aren’t connecting with your decisions, especially if you spend a lot of money on them.  Just keep that in the back of your mind!  If you really want to be unique, do that with easy to replace decisions like wallpaper or paint.

Now, you’re ready to feel confident with some design updates! Of course if you really need help, I’m here and happy to help. Please reach out below for any CO real estate or design needs.

One thought on “Simple Design Tips

  1. Jeanie Manser

    When we renovated our kitchen, one thing that helped make our decisions was thinking about the value it would add if we sold our home. We definitely didn’t sell, but when we do, it’ll make the renovations, hard work, even the dumpster rental, all worth it! These are some great tips, thanks for sharing!

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