The simple tricks designers use to give a room that "pro" feeling


As an interior designer with 9+ years (#gettingold) of industry experience, I have picked up some valuable and practical design tips along the way, that I implement on nearly 100% of my projects!  I firmly believe that there are no hard-and-fast rules to design, but these guidelines have never let me down.  So let's dive right in to these 5 design tips - that YOU can actually pull off on your own!

designer tip #1 - WHITE HOT

This trick was imparted to me during my first interior design job, by the highly experienced owner of the interior design firm.  She repeatedly and adamantly exclaimed...."ALWAYS use bright white lampshades!"  Now, I initially found this advice quite limiting.  There were oodles of lamp options that had shades of all other hues....and you're telling me I cannot use them?!?  Of course, her advice has proven correct, time and time again.  A white lampshade increases the brightness/openess/chic factor of a room EVERY TIME.  I have dabbled in black lamp shades, trying to find a loophole, and they humorously become a black hole in the room.  All of my clients love a bright, clean, fresh look - white lamp shades it is.  


designer tip #2 - SCALE IT OUT

This tip can save you potentially thousands of avoiding costly mistakes!  When meeting with clients, I too frequently hear that they purchased a piece of furniture without knowing beforehand the ideal size/scale of the piece.  When browsing a furniture showroom, a certain piece can appear to be the perfect size.  But, upon delivery into the home, it suddenly fits all wrong.  Size and scale is tricky, and even seasoned professionals cannot "eyeball" certain pieces and get it right.  Measurements are everything!  There are fantastic free online products now, that allow you to easily draw your own room to scale, and then drag and drop possible furniture arrangement directly into the room!  It requires a little bit of work up front before hitting the furniture stores, but takes the guesswork out of the process.  You will be able to confidently select and purchase the perfect piece for your space.  Try



designer tip #3 - GO GREEN...THUMB

Hear me out...I know there are some of us out there that can kill a live plant just by sneezing (myself included).  But in today's market there are a ton of fantastic silk/dried/fake plant options that can inject that perfect dose of "life" into any room.  Fake succulents are everywhere right now, if you'd like to add small doses of interesting shape and texture.  Green moss balls are a favorite of mine....throw them into a decorative bowl and you're good to go!  Whether real or fake, plants in a room provide a necessary layer of interest, texture, color, and connection to nature.   


designer tip #4 - LET'S GET TOGETHER

Learning how to create "visual groupings" is a skill that must be mastered over time.  When placing artwork, accessories, or even throw pillows - try to think of the items as a whole, and not individually.  Don't just throw single accessories loosely on a shelf.  Instead, try to create a cohesive group that works harmoniously together.  You can create harmony by grouping items that have a similar color story, for example.  If you need an extra boost of confidence, use a cheat sheet! There are stunning examples of how to execute this principle on Pinterest, magazines,  design blogs,  catalogs, etc. 


designer tip #5 - HEIGHT MATTERS

Drapery Panels can be the crowning beauty of any well-designed room.  But, if the correct length was not implemented, it appears that the room's growth was stunted!  (Think high-water pants).  Drapery panels should always have an optimized length....I suggest hanging them directly under your crown molding or ceiling line, which is usually significantly higher than the top of the window.  By doing this, you truly capitalize on the height of the room, and it gives a look of elegance and drama.  Many ready-made panels that you can buy at retail stores are never long enough.....I recommend doing a thorough search online for extra-long panels, or consider custom drapes.  The final look is well worth it!

So now I'd love to hear from you - which of the design tricks above triggered an "A-HA" moment in you???  Tell me in the comments below.  And by the way, can I mention you are always welcome to ask me about your personal design dilemma - I'm here to help!

Lauren Thomas6 Comments