My interior design career has been such a journey. It’s been traditional in some senses, and VERY untraditional in many others. What started out as a teenager designing a retail store and airplane hangar-turned-production office, turned into a successful interior designer and HGTV host. Throughout that journey, I learned there are no quick or easy shortcuts to gaining expertise in this industry. And while I wholeheartedly believe you should hire a professional designer for more extensive home renovations, I have learned some helpful interior design hacks to create small but significant makeovers in your home.
Furniture Arrangement Hacks for Your Home
When people think of interior design, furniture is usually one of the first aspects to come to mind. Perhaps that’s because furniture occupies so much of what we see in our home spaces. For this reason, it is essential to get your furniture arrangement and configuration just right. How do you do that effectively? That’s one of my first interior design hacks.
It’s always helpful to be able to visualize where your furniture will go. It’s okay to verbalize where a couch or ottoman will be positioned, but nothing beats actually being able to SEE what that arrangement looks like. My best friends will tell you I’m known for stopping by for a visit and ending up rearranging furniture to get a different feel or look for the space. When possible, and if you already have furniture, don’t be afraid to actually move things around in different configurations in your space. You’ll be able to really see, not theorize, how things look and determine if it’s to your liking.
Measurements are Major
If you don’t have furniture, measurements are a MUST. Be sure to get specifications (length, width, height) of your pieces, and use colored tape to map them out on the floor where you’re looking to place them. This will allow you to check out how your furniture interacts with natural light at different times in your home. You may find the sun falls directly where you watch TV in the evenings. That glare in your eyes won’t be good!
Speaking of the television, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to arrange furniture around it. Many people make that mistake. Instead, arrange your living space in a way that best facilitates interaction and engagement for the people who will use it. Family time and entertaining conversation will create many more lasting memories than a TV show ever will, and that’s what matters most. Talk about interior design hacks that will NEVER lose impact!
Never Design Without Product Samples
One of the biggest interior design hacks I swear by might also be the one that saves you the most time. It’s simple: get actual samples of what you plan to use in your space. I employ this most when it comes to the metals and finishes I incorporate in my home. I love using brass throughout my home, but it comes in so many different shades and finishes. My surefire way to always get it right is to order samples of the items I’m looking to purchase. I try to stick to the vendors that have great return policies to guarantee the perfect match before committing to the wrong product or extensive installation process.
This suggestion also works well with swatches for rugs and carpets. I always look to get fabric samples to lay out in the space to see how it feels and looks in the area I’m designing. Having several options to see and place gives me more security and peace about the choices I make for coordination. Paint swatches do the same. I always get several colors in the same family to look at. I sometimes get actual paint samples to try to determine which looks best for the overall space and design. Getting product samples before final purchases will help you avoid making costly or time-consuming investments related to your home projects.
Mix High- and Low-end Features
Another one of my quick-and-easy interior design hacks that many people don’t consider is choosing to splurge on some elements of your home design and saving in other areas. I know you may be thinking, “Duh, Breegan.” What I mean is, be intentional with what you spend more money on based on visual impact. For example, the wallpaper you choose will have a huge impact on the aesthetic of your space. I would get high-quality wall coverings that are durable and bold. On the contrary, you can create beautiful artwork that looks professional without spending much at all. How? Go to the library! Select photos and get them printed and framed, and you have great, inexpensive complements to your wall designs.
Such is the same with your dining room tables and chairs. You’ll get a better bang for your buck and overall space design by investing in the more significant piece of furniture—the dining table. Make sure it’s well-built and constructed of quality materials. The right tables can be passed down as heirlooms or resold with retained value. Do NOT, however, spend a great deal of money on your dining room chairs. They’re a more highly-used (and abused) element and, as such, will most likely be replaced sooner and more often. Dining chairs aren’t investments, unlike sturdier tables.
These are just a few interior design hacks I’ve learned throughout the years. They’ve helped me save money and time for myself and my clients. It’s always good to think about small steps that will bring out the best in our home interiors AND keep the best in our wallets. Do you have any hacks or tips that you use for home renovations or refreshes? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments.