Every month I browse through my favorite magazines and enjoy the inspiration and creativity of other people’s home design. Today it is more for relaxation and entertainment but many years ago it was my source for my own home design. I also used to watch hours of HGTV – when it was more hands on design tips – and try to bring those same looks to my home. As a result I usually ended up with a hodge podge of design styles in every room and my home just never seemed to be “perfect”. Fast forward about 20 years and a Interior Design degree, completing a grueling certification program, years of working on other people’s homes or resorts, blogging about design, and finally working on my dream home and you will find my approach to design is much different these days.
This post contains affiliate links which help to support this blog.
7 Practical Tips to Choose the Design of your Home.
Don’t Overthink It!
First, don’t overthink it. You may have convinced yourself that you know nothing about interior design or how to make your home beautiful, but the truth is that you really do know what you like, you just overthink the process.
You think that your home must look a certain way to be “acceptable” to others which in fact the only people you really have to make happy is yourself and your family.
Don’t do what your friends are doing.
Second, don’t follow what your friends are doing. Let’s say you have a friend named Susie who has a beautiful and comfortable and very welcoming home. You envy her style and the comfort of her home and you wish that you could bring that same feeling in to your own home.
Notice I said feeling and not “look”.
The next time you are at a friend’s house and find yourself tempted to copy her look or ask for her help with your own house, take a few minutes to actually look at her decor and ask yourself a few questions.
“Would you have bought that same exact coffee table?”
“Can you even envision the same side table in your house and where?”
“Do you really like those lamps she choose or would you have gone with a different style or color?’
If you would change at least two things in a room that she has done, then you don’t necessarily need to copy her exact style but what you really want to recreate is the feeling the space invokes in yourself.
So take a picture of her room (with permission of course) and use it as an inspiration for what you like but make your own choices in furniture and accessories to make your own room feel comfortable and warm to you. Make the style your own.
The budget rules!
Third, consider your budget. If you have high end taste but in reality you have a thrift store budget, then embrace it. It is totally okay to splurge on your decor if you want. I believe that everyone deserves a home that welcomes and comforts them. A place that reflects their lifestyle and need to escape from the busyness of life sometimes. But money and how to afford the decor of you home should not be a cause of stress. Plan your budget and work your plan.
Never contradict the exterior style of your home.
Fourth, and this is an important one, what is the exterior architecture style of your home? Any home decor is going to look awkward and out of place if it conflicts with the exterior style of the home. A historic colonial mansion should not be filled with retro Art Deco style furnishings from a century later. Yes you can add a modern piece of furniture to just about any room, but it is an accent piece, not the style of the home. Just as a mid-century modern style architectural home – think the Brady Bunch house – would just look visually out of sync with 200 year old antiques and Queen Anne wing back chairs.
The exterior architectural style of your home matters to the design style you pursue for the inside of your home.
To figure out the exterior style of your home, pay attention to key elements like the roof line, the front door style, the shutter style if it has them, and the exterior siding. A simple ranch house has a completely different look and feel if it has a brick exterior compared to vinyl siding. Brick makes the house look traditional and vinyl siding minics farmhouse style. So paying attention to what the outside looks like is a good indication of how the inside should flow as well.
Unless you can change it of course. Then that leads to a whole other list of options to choose the interior design style of your home.
What is the interior layout of the home?
The fifth guideline for picking the interior style of your home is to pay attention to what is already established inside the home. Is the floor plan open or cluttered feeling with lots of small rooms? Does it have a grand foyer or do you enter the house through the living room or kitchen. The layout of the interior of the house gives you clues on how the house was built for a certain lifestyle. Even though the current trend in homes is open concept with the kitchen as the main room, older homes will probably have formal living rooms that have to be considered in an updated style change.
Farmhouse style does not work for every home. Period. There I said it!
The interior door styles and trim and the kitchen cabinet style are also indicators of the pre-existing style of the home. If you pay attention to all of the little quirks and details of the exterior and interior of a home, you will find that it is telling you what style it should have in the interiors.
But what if you don’t like it!
Then the sixth guideline is to figure out what needs to change, both on the outside and inside that will change the nature of the home. Can the shutters be changed? Will painting the exterior walls and doors change the feel of the home enough to make style changes and choices for the interior easier? Can you hire a contractor to change the porch style or the windows and bring new life to the exterior?
If making some changes to the exterior and interior of the home will make a new style more appealing, then start there and remake some things that bring a new style to life and doesn’t combat what is already there.
Don’t follow current fads or trends in decor.
And last but not least – don’t follow the latest trends. This year I have seen a lot of pink flamingos and tropical prints on furniture, lamps, and even clothes. It is a trend and a fun trend. Nautical pillows and fabrics are on every style of pillow and place mat for summer fun. And that is what it is meant to be – summer fun. This summer I picked up a few fun pink flamingo tableclothes and even made a fun Flamingo Flip Flop wreath for my screened porch just because I was in the mood for something fun in there. But it is temporary and I know that going in.
I also know that purchasing things for my living room in pink flamingos and nautical prints just because they are a popular trend won’t work very well. The fact that I live in the Smoky Mountains and the beach is 9 hours away, nautical prints just won’t make sense when you don’t live near the ocean. Bottom line, don’t make a current trend the basis of your home design. It is temporary decor and fun to work with and change out with the seasons, but don’t use a trend to dictate the overall style of a space. You will regret it within a year.
So to recap, don’t overthink the design, don’t let your friend’s home influence you, set a budget and stick to it, pay attention to both the exterior architectural style and the interior layout of the home, figure out what architectural details you can change, and don’t follow the current fads and trends.
And also remember, enjoy the process.
“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically,, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23