There is nothing quite like the eye of an interior designer. Having a professional choose furniture or design a room will always elevate it. This isn’t just about knowing what pieces coordinate best, which finishes to choose or what the latest trends are, but how to put it all together.
I spoke with five interior designers to learn what their best ideas are right now. What are the most practical choices to make when renovating? What are their best tips to give your home a designer’s touch? These ideas may potentially make you rethink your choices and surprisingly save money.
Rearrange Your Living Room
While most people focus their living rooms around the television, but Lucy Loneragan of Mavens of Design suggests moving the television to another room. She believes it’s best to arrange the furniture around a fireplace, art or the view. “If space allows, I prefer to designate a separate area for the TV, be it a media room and or an actual theatre. If your living area must serve as your media room, try to hide your TV behind cabinetry or artwork so it’s not always on display.”
Then there is the most common dilemma—should the sofa be up against the wall? Loneragan says no, especially if the room has an open concept. She also suggests choosing a curved soda to create “fluidity around seating areas.” However, if you prefer straight lines, she recommends putting a narrow credenza against the back of the sofa.
But above all else, she says the most important thing is to have comfortable furniture. “You’re never going to lounge on your furniture if it’s not comfortable—so make sure you’re choosing soft, comfortable fabrics with plenty of down throw cushions.”
Build A Better Bathroom
Renovating a bathroom is a challenge no matter what size it is. But, Ariel Fischer of Noa Blake Design has some great ideas. For larger bathrooms, “You can never go wrong with light, neutral marbles like Carrara, Calacatta and our latest favorite, Dolomite,” she said. These stones can provide a great alternative to white mosaic marble, which can end up being very costly.
As for smaller bathrooms and powder rooms, Fischer says wallpaper can really make the space without too much work. “Wallpaper is an awesome way to go bold without major commitment. While tile and cabinetry changes can be a massive undertaking, removing wallpaper is a cinch. There are endless options from poppy colors to playful patterns to rich textures and everything in between, so paper can be a really great way to make a bathroom feel styled effortlessly.”
Fischer also likes a black and white bathroom, especially for those on a budget. “Depending on the selections, a black and white bathroom could easily skew glam, industrial, modern or even farmhouse and it will always feel polished and chic,” she explained. “This concept can be a great budget-conscious option as well, as most tile in both the black and white families will be porcelain or ceramic, which is not only less expensive but also easier to maintain than natural stone.”
Create A Cohesive Kitchen
For those renovating an open-concept kitchen, Jodi Berger of JLA Designs suggests focusing on functionality and flow. “There should be a designated spot to prep and another to eat and gather. For larger spaces, it is important to create balance and symmetry through the use of your cabinetry, appliances, and furniture.”
Kitchen islands and peninsulas are also trends not going away any time soon. Berger says they’re ideal because they allow the kitchen to be a place to socialize. She also emphasizes the importance of using lighting fixtures to define each space within the kitchen. “Through the use of mixed metals and textures we add interest and depth into the open space. Creating a warm and inviting environment conducive to our clients’ lifestyles is key to a successful open-concept design.”
Turn A Bedroom Into A Sanctuary
Alexis Rodgers of Home With Alexis says other than the furniture itself, the right textiles, lighting, and art are the key to creating a chic and stylish bedroom. “Whether or not you change your bedroom furniture, changing these three components will have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your bedroom.”
In terms of lighting, Rodgers suggests replacing old fans with a pendant light or chandelier and installing dimmer switches.
She also says to hang art on the walls that draws the eye into the room. Choose something interesting and meaningful.
Then, warm up the bed itself with accessories like a chunky knit throw and plenty of pillows. “Keeping it simple and fresh is always good, because at the end of a long, busy day crammed with all sorts of stimuli, you need a place to unwind and relax. Neutral hues such as sands, grays and blues are calming and lovely. Don’t skimp out on pillows because they make or break the overall look of the bed,” she explained.
Make Your Home Office Efficient
Aurore Martial of Domus Venus sees the ideal home office as having a balance of function and form. The arrangement of the furniture is extremely important. For example, the desk should be as close to the window as possible. “It’s the best kind of you light you can have for your mental health, and you don’t want to be looking at a white wall for ten hours a day.”
Choosing the right desk and chair are probably the most important decisions for the room. The desk should provide a large enough workspace and the chair should be as comfortable as possible. However, Martial warns against going for a corporate office look at home.
Additional lighting is also key. “You’ll want a task light for late night shifts—aim at a wall or table light that would bring a soft glow. Your main (ceiling or floor) light should (like all the lights in your home!) be dimmable too,” she explained.
It’s also important to beautify the space as much as possible because your home office is still part of your home. Martial suggests painting the walls, getting a few plants and having personal objects such as framed photos of your loved ones and art.