I recently posted a photo of our family room on Instagram and got lots of notes asking me about the space. I had friends tell me it looked like something out of a magazine. What a compliment!
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I was really surprised by the reaction I got, though. The truth is, anyone can make a space look amazing in just one photograph. Our home is a work in progress. Most of our home is not decorated. I finish little areas of a room and wait to finish the rest of the space as inspiration strikes me. That means there are uglier areas of the room that don’t get shown in photos – like the comfortable, oversized, slightly worn leather chair the corner where it doesn’t quite fit. The lamps that don’t quite match but that continue to live on in the room until I find the perfect lights that fit my budget.
I’m not very confident as a decorator, so I just go by my gut feeling. If I put a rug in the space and I find that I don’t feel comfortable, it’s not the right fit for me. If I put a wild throw pillow on the couch and it makes me want to sit down and enjoy the space – it was the right design choice for me.
Here are the design tips I follow in my home:
- Start with high quality, neutral furniture This means a great neutral couch with clean lines, a high quality rug and furniture in the space. Keep the colors neutral so they can last – both in structure and in design taste – for many years. Like all things in life, when you get the foundation right everything works much better!
- Bring in texture In our home, we add lots of texture with mixed leathers, deep rich woods and distressed reclaimed woods, too. It means sleek cool mirrors and hard metal vases and decor juxtaposed with wild flowers and dried wild grasses. We use fabrics with varying textures, too – but they must always, always be comfortable and soft! Make sure your throw pillows are filled with down, too. They will look 100% better and will be more comfortable, too.
- Add pops of color For me, this means bold colors and patterns, as you can see with our throw pillows. I love all of these colors and patterns, and somehow when I mix them all they come together perfectly to me.
- Personalize This is my most important design rule. Nothing makes an environment more sterile than lack of personalization. I like to decorate with lots of pictures. Some I keep in their frames forever for nostalgia. For our main wall, I use updated family photos every year.
- Keep it versatile One of my favorite tips when buying mats and frames is to buy square or symmetrical frames, and have the mat cut to the size of photos you plan to use. Here’s why this is genius: if your favorite photo this year was portrait – oriented, inevitably you’ll one day have a favorite that is landscape – oriented. Instead of buying a new frame and re-hanging the photos on your wall to fit, you just turn the frame on its side, and you’re in business. See how I have examples of both portrait and landscape photos on my wall?
- Sectional: Carson’s Furniture
- Ottoman: Restoration Hardware (old) similar here
- End Tables: HomeGoods (old) similar here
- Pillows, similar: animal print, black/white geo, floral pillow made with Robert Allen fabric
- Throw: HomeGoods (old) similar here
- Wall Monogram: HomeGoods (old) similar here
- Wall frames and mats