There comes a time in every homeowner—or renter’s—life when they should know some simple, basic facts about decorating. Below are 20 design hacks that your friends at SEED have figured out over the years, and we’re happy to share them with you here.
Courtesy Kristen Fountain Wilson @kfddesigns
1. That “fifth wall” you’ve heard about isn’t a portal into another dimension; it’s the ceiling. Treat it like any other wall in your home and paint—or even wallpaper!—it bold to bring the drama.
2. Have you ever been to a friend’s home where all the furniture is pressed up against the wall in the living room? Does it make you feel like the furniture is freaked out (or is that just us)? Tell your furniture to relax by creating inviting conversation areas toward the center of the room. Trust us, it makes the space feel more cozy and intimate, which wins out over space in the design world.
3. In the with the old: vintage finds—like an old sideboard or antique hutch—always add character to a space.
4. One of the best pieces of advice we were ever given was to make our bed every day. It’s kind of like going to the gym—you may not want to do it, but you’ll feel so much better once you did.
5. Keep the architecture-neutral in your space. We’re lovers of bold, but it’s safer to leave the brightest elements in your decorating scheme to accent pieces and keep your walls, floors, fireplaces, etc. in the “neutral zone.”
6. Don’t be afraid to de-saturate. If a bright Kelly Green, for example, is your all-time favorite color and you’re just dying to use it in your dining room, take a look at the “de-saturated” version of the color (i.e. the version that isn’t quite as vivid or visually arresting) and choose that instead. You still get color without overdoing it.
7. Hang your draperies higher. It always surprises us (and not in a good way) when we see people hanging their draperies just above the window frame. Take those babies as far as 3” from the ceiling to create the illusion of bigger windows (and thereby more space).
8. Give your mirror a purpose. Don’t simply hang a mirror haphazardly on a blank wall because you don’t know what to do with the wall. Place mirrors strategically across from windows, reflecting light, to make your space feel bigger.
9. Just like your hair in the late 90s, your interior spaces need texture. Look for natural materials like wools and furs (these can be faux) to create depth in your space.
10. Embrace your inner botanist. When it comes to interior decorating, plants are here to stay.
11. Go for mood lighting. Overhead lights can be a drag, so use floor lamps (and dimmers, please!) to your advantage.
12. Switch out your switch plates. This is an easy upgrade for anyone (renters especially) to bring a little personality into your space for a small cost.
13. Spend a day arranging your bookshelf. It might sound crazy, but putting a little extra time into this seemingly mundane task can elevate your bookshelf from totally geek to totally chic. Check out this video from @TurnstyleDesign with full instructions on how to properly style one’s bookcase.
14. Learn to love patina. One of our favorite words in the English language—to us it describes the effortless, yet timeless, wear on the surface of things well-loved.
15. Make a statement with a chair. Pick at least one room in your home to showcase a statement-making chair. It can be bold; it can be wild; it can be weird…just as long as it’s you.
16. Know when to DIY and not to DIY. There’s no better design secret than understanding your own limitations. That bespoke herb planter that you’ve imagined creating in your mind might look like an elementary school project if you don’t have the proper know-how.
17. Keep it fresh every day. One simple way to make your home feel polished is with a simple arrangement of fresh flowers. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be alive.
18. Art for art’s sake. We can’t all be fancy curators, but if you find a piece of art that you love, buy it. It will bring instant personality to your space, and you will never tire of it.
19. Find your signature scent. As long as you aren’t drawn to nauseating scents like sweet vanilla cookie, find a signature scent and use it throughout your home. Scent is your number-one memory maker, so your home will always feel like home.
20. Mixing and matching styles was once considered passé, but it’s the 21st century now where previously disparate design styles have learned to co-exist.
If you want even more home and design inspiration, be sure to follow us on all the social media channels. You’ll find us on Instagram @seedaustin and Pinterest @seedpropertygroup, where we highlight the latest in Austin real estate and design trends.