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April 25, 2019 4 min read

Have you ever toured a beautiful "open house" in a new subdivision? These sample houses are breathtaking. The furniture is flawless and arranged perfectly to accent the room. The countertops, as well as the floors, bathtubs, showers, and sinks, are polished to a high gloss. These homes are staged to capture your attention.  As lovely as these perfect rooms are, there is something missing.

House vs. Home

Look around the lovely sample house and you will soon see what is missing. The missing factor is family. We are wonderfully imperfect. Our homes reflect who we are. When you take a second look, picture your family inside. We know those beautiful crystal vases and dishes will have to go. They are just shiny and sparkly enough to seduce your toddler into reaching for them. The thick, down comforter in white will not work. Your dog will never miss an opportunity to jump on the beds when you are not looking.

The shiny fixtures would soon become splashed with water, soap scum, and toothpaste. The moral of the story is: you do not need a new home to push the reset button on your current home. Below we've included 10 tips that professional interior designers use repeatedly to freshen up lived-in spaces. No matter how large or how small your home is, there is a way to change the decor and give it the illusion of a comforting place that was designed just for you.  

  1. Open the room with light.

We have been told repeatedly that light paint makes a small room look larger. This is true and agreed upon by every Interior Designer we've interviewed. However, that does not mean that your family room is to be blinded with white. White or light-colored window treatments, furniture, and rugs alone can be enough to make your room appear much larger. And if you're lucky enough to have windows in your space, remember that some natural light can go a long way.


Photo credit: Mike Bird

  2. Do more with your windows.

If your windows need replacing, now is a good time to take care of that. Paint your window seals in the same color scheme as the molding. Arrange your furniture with the windows as a backdrop. Have white window treatments or maybe even wooden shutters. You can go darker with the window frame as long as you keep maintain balance with your color scheme.

 3. Balance the room.

Place framed mirrors or mirrored tiles on the wall opposite from the windows. Arrange these fixtures in a shape that compliments the room. Tip: it's usually best not to arrange the mirrors or tiles in the exact shape of the windows. Instead, go with an oval arrangement or a collage of different mirrors. If you choose framed mirrors, give the room a lived-in feel with distressed frames, copper or stainless steel frames.


4. Create an accent wall.

This is where you are going to show your love for color. Create an accent wall by painting the main wall in the living room or dining room in a bold color or by adding colorful pops to your built in shelving or other accessories. You can take that concept up a notch by painting the main wall with colors like:

  • Marbled charcoal
  • Sage green
  • Steel blue
  • Rust  


5. Add some art.

Photographs of the family can tell your story. Even if you don't have the budget for fine art, you can take your favorite family or vacation photograph printed on a large, hangable canvas for an affordable price. You can even have your furry friends turned into an oil painting to adorn your favorite space.

6. Choose the right floor.

The type of floors you install is critical. You can go with a darker carpet without diminishing the look of your room. Still, consider hardwood floors. They are available in many colors. The natural look of hardwood floors never goes out of style and you can use natural rugs for a softer look.

 7. Make it cozy.

Have some fun by creating a cozy bedroom setting. Mix it up. Place vintage items with new items. Use floral throw pillows with striped furniture. Don't be afraid to step outside of the box. Your home is not just a house, it is where you live, so live it up!

  8. Bring on the green.

House plants can add a pop of color and a bit of life to a drab room. 2019 is the year that people are filling every nook and cranny with plants. Not only can they (literally) liven up your space, but plants help keep the air clean in your home. Select plants that naturally enhance your rooms with scent. Plant mint, lavender, or lemongrass. Plant an herb garden in the kitchen window. You will have a lovely home and fresh seasoning for your favorite dishes in no time.

  9. Experiment with lighting.

When you have decorated the room, stand back and see where the light is lacking. Do you love that oil portrait of you and your spouse? It deserves to be singled out, which can be most easily done with a little light. You can mount a lamp or install track lights for uplighting.


Photo credit: RawPixel

  10. Clear cord clutter.

We are a tech nation. We challenge you to look around you today to take inventory of all the devices and charging cords in plain site. No matter where you are - the classroom, boardroom, bedroom - someone is almost always on their smartphone, laptop or tablet. Each of these high-tech marvels has one thing in common: they have to be charged. In most households that means phone chargers and cords hanging from every outlet. They are on countertops near small appliances and sinks, on the floor where toddlers and young children can reach them.

Install a Docking Drawer charging outlet into your drawer to keep those devices out of site while they safely charge inside your drawer, allowing you to keep those countertops clear of cord clutter and those pesky chargers out of sight.

We are well on our way into 2019. Make this the year you finally find or create the home of your dreams!