Before I start talking about design tips, I first want to make sure you know I am NOT an expert! I definitely just know what I like and go from there, but as far as actual design experience… I have none! These are just some things I’ve learned after decorating the spaces in my own home. Hopefully these will be helpful to those of you in the process of designing or decorating your spaces! Also, this top is SO SOFT. It’s also on sale for only $35! Such a steal and a great basic for casual days + travel.
START FROM THE BOTTOM
And I mean the verrrryyyyy bottom. My living room and closet both have come together beautifully, and I’m positive it is because I selected the rug and carpet for those rooms before anything else. Starting with a rug you love will ensure you pick complementary fabrics for everything else! It just made the whole process easier. Case in point: I had SO much trouble finding the right rug for my master bedroom, and I blame it on the fact that I selected the headboard fabric and had that made first – it just limited me in my options and made it very difficult to find other fabrics and a rug to go along with that headboard. Don’t get me wrong… I love my bedroom, but I do wish I’d started with the rug! The other rooms just came together so much more effortlessly!
DECIDE ON ALL OF THE FABRICS FOR THE SPACE BEFORE ACTUALLY ORDERING ANYTHING
I’m going to pick on my headboard yet again, but I really wish I’d taken the time to really look at other fabrics before placing the order for my headboard. I hadn’t even considered how difficult it would be to find complimentary fabrics for pillows and other items! Originally I said I wanted a completely neutral and white room, and that’s what Maddie and I had mapped out – so the blue was an impulsive choice for me (I saw it, loved it and had her order it!)… and because I hadn’t picked out anything else it definitely dictated the direction we ended up going in with the space. I highly recommend you take your time and make sure you’ve got all of the fabrics picked out for the space before placing any orders!
PICK A FOCAL POINT
Probably my favorite investment for this house is the buffet/dresser I purchased for my living room. Since you can peek right into my living room from outside the front door, I really wanted that space to have an anchor that caught your eye. I found the piece while perusing new arrivals on Layla Grace and almost fell out of my chair, I was so obsessed with it! I had already found my rug and my sofa fabric, so the color scheme of the room was determined when I placed the order for the piece. The size was absolutely perfect for the space in question, and the weathered, neutral French look with gold accents was just what I was hoping for! It’s the first item people see when they walk into my house, and I couldn’t be happier about that. It just ties everything together!
PLAY WITH SCALE
One thing I’m still working on is playing with scale and the varying heights of furniture in a room, as well as styling certain spaces like my tabletops and bookshelves. This is especially important when working with furniture! For example, you don’t want all of the items to be the same height (especially if they’re on the same wall) – it’ll have the room looking flat. I’m currently working on this in my living/dining room space, as I have a bar cart and a cabinet that are the same height – I’m not planning on keeping the cabinet forever (it’s a piece my mom had in the townhouse before), but I’m using it for storage until I can find something I like and can spend the money on. Ideally, the next piece I find will be a different size and height, so the space won’t feel so straight across the top.
EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT CURRENTLY DECORATING, KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR KNICK KNACKS
Since I pretty much started from scratch with this house, I didn’t have a whole lot of decorative objects and accessories to work with. Aside from a selection of coffee table books, vases and picture frames, there wasn’t much I had to decorate my bookshelves, coffee table, bar cart, etagere, closet and other furniture tops with! And boy, does it take A LOT. I’ve found so many cute things for those places over the last 7-8 months, but I’m still nowhere near completing a single one of them. I am SO happy to have all of that space to display pretty items, but I do wish I had started buying little trays and decorative objects over time. It’s going to take me awhile to properly decorate each spot, and I wish I had been more proactive about buying small items that have caught my eye over the years! Just because you’re not buying for a specific spot, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creating a collection for future spaces. Plus, you don’t want all of your items to be from the exact same place or time – it’s nice to have a variety of styles from over the years.
ALWAYS SHOP FOR A RUG IN PERSON
This was something I learned very quickly! I can’t even remember which room I ordered it for now, but I ordered a rug online only to have the giant thing delivered, opened and immediately determined it wasn’t going to work. Rugs NEVER look the same online as they do in person, and the lighting in the room completely determines how the colors will show up once you have the rug in there. Plus if the rug doesn’t work, it’s kind of a pain getting it re-packaged and protected and then having to schedule a pick-up for shipping – and most online stores have a “restocking fee” if it doesn’t work. Going forward, I decided to shop locally in Dallas and have the rugs brought by my house to make sure they actually worked before buying them. Most places are happy to do that for you if they think they’re going to get your business! I probably had 30 rugs brought by my house before finding the right ones for my master bedroom and office – so many of the rugs I loved in the store looked completely different in my rooms. If you’re looking for Oushak rugs in Dallas, check out The Collective, Farzin Rugs, Stark Carpet, and The Loveliest Company!
A GOOD PAINT JOB CAN TOTALLY TRANSFORM AN EXTERIOR
Remember these pictures from when I first bought the house? The exterior was painted beige with black shutters. While the colors weren’t terrible, I did feel those colors dated the house and made it look sort of depressing. I swear, when I came over after it was painted in these colors, it looked like a completely different home! Landscaping obviously made a big difference too, but the paint job definitely gave it a more modern update and a younger look. Now it looks fresh, clean and happy – something I hope my house looks like on the inside as well!
REMEMBER THE RULE OF THREES
As you guys probably already know, food presentation isn’t one of my strong suits. I LOVE to cook, but making it look pretty isn’t a forte of mine! The same can be said of styling bookshelves, flat lays for photos and arranging things on a tabletop. With that said, the Rule of Threes has helped me a lot in getting better at this! Simply put, objects look better in a group of three. The idea is to have three focal points of varying sizes – it can be matched sets (like three decorative objects on a tabletop), or items featuring different textures like a vase with fresh flowers, a candle and a jewelry dish. I thought this little tutorial was pretty helpful in figuring it out – definitely going to use this when I finally style my coffee table!