Before taking my extended maternity leave, I worked for a Southern California homebuilder in the Sales & Marketing department. We worked with a team of incredibly talented interior decorators who designed fabulous model homes and sales offices throughout California (Vicki if you're reading this, I miss you!). Already LOVING interior design, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in countless design meetings and presentations. Feeling every scrap of fabric, learning about every type of flooring material, and selecting beautiful finishes in brushed chrome, polished brass, and oil rubbed bronze.
This was by far one of my favorite parts of the job SO I made it a point to learn as much as I could from some of the best in the business. With this experience and an eye for design, I have helped numerous friends and family members furnish living rooms, select pillows and throws, lay out gallery walls, and choose paint colors for accent walls.
So in the name of sharing as much useful information with my readers as possible, I thought it would be fun to break down my top 5 design tips I picked up while working in the homebuilding industry!
Lets get started.
1) START WITH THE RUG + HAVE THEM 'TALK' TO EACH OTHER
Always start with the rug when designing a room. It is a lot easier to layer on top of your rug, pull accent colors from it, etc. rather than searching for days (even months) for the PERFECT rug with the exact colors or pattern to be the finishing piece in a room.
If you need multiple rugs for a large space (like our living room and family-room-turned-music area), make sure they 'talk to each other' with a similar style and colors. See how both of these rugs feature geometric patterns, and soft blueish-grays (these are my actual rugs)? This helps give the area a cohesive feel without being too matchy-matchy.
nuLOOM rug (left) | nuLOOM rug (right)
2) DON'T CHINCE OUT ON RUG SIZE
Select a rug that will anchor the room. It should be big enough that the feet of all furniture pieces can sit on the rug (even if it's just 2 of the 4 legs).
3) KEEP BEDDING LOOKING PLUSH
Keep your bedding looking plush (and looking like a model home) by stuffing your euro pillows with a form that is one size BIGGER than the euro pillow sham. Here is a before and after of our bedroom so you can see what a big difference it makes! The pillow forms in the before shot are only about two years old and look how much they have already shrunk down.
My new pillow forms are courtesy of Downlite Bedding -- the pillow shams are size 26'' x 26'' so the forms are 28'' x 28''. They are super plump and soft and make our bed look SO much more put together and inviting! The two pictures below show the difference between my old sad pillow forms and the new overstuffed ones.
If you are ready to upgrade your pillows too - use code DYGEN15 for 15% off everything from the Downlite Bedding Company (woo hoo!)
4) HANG THOSE DRAPES HIGH AND WIDE
Drapes should be hung HIGH and need to hang all the way to the floor. Yes drapes are expensive. And yes the longer the drape the pricier it will be BUT this little trick will make your windows appear larger than they actually are! As a rule of thumb, try to hang your curtain rod 4-6 inches above the top of the window frame. Also be sure that the curtain rod extends beyond the sides of the window frame. This handy little diagram should help!
5) IT'S ALL ABOUT THOSE FURNITURE LEGS
It's important to have your design look cohesive, (i.e. if you're going with a Traditional look, don't go throwing a mid-century arm chair in the mix). The easiest way for me to keep things looking cohesive is to first settle on a design style, know what shapes, finishes and furniture types define that style, and then ALWAYS look at the legs of your furniture to make sure you are staying track. Going for an industrial look? Then look for straight edges and square straight legs. If the chair you love has curved intricately carved wood legs, it's probably best to pass!
I hope these tips prove to be useful while you're decorating or re-decorating your own space, but remember that any type of art is subjective SO if you love the way you've decorated because a particular paint color brings you joy or that big comfy arm chair reminds you of your grandpa, then it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about it because... well, they don't live there and it's not theirs to love! And isn't that the whole point of taking time to decorate a space anyway? Yes, it should feel great and look great, but most of all it needs to be uniquely yours!