I am constantly receiving questions asking for design tips from readers who are past their IKEA days but also aren’t at the point in their lives where they can afford to hire an interior designer. I will be the first to admit that for some strange reason it is much harder for me to decorate my own home than it is for me to design interiors for my clients. I think the indecision around decorating my own home comes from a combination of not being in our forever house and the fact that I see so many interiors, textiles, and color options on a daily basis that I can’t help but imagine all the possibilities! Regardless, here are 5 of my top, easy design tips that I use for my home and the home of clients alike and I hope it helps you tackle some of your design struggles with your own home.

Cover image via Meg Braff

Rule One: Have A Plan

Designing the interior of your home without a plan is an easy trap to fall into, especially if you are living in a home with young kids, where it seems like a home decor mishap is popping up everyday. As hard as it is not having instant design gratification, I strongly advise against piece mealing it because if you do you will end up with a room that feels choppy and incohesive. Instead, summon all the patience you have and take the time to come up with a floor plan and select the pieces you want in the room before you start any projects. If you are getting custom upholstered furniture, window treatments or wallpaper, pick out the exact patterns and colors you want ahead of time so you have a clear plan of how you want to the room to look and how to execute it. Then, you can purchase the items you have selected over time- you don’t have to do it all at once! A great way to do this is by following the five year plan. The five year plan is something I learned growing up and is the philosophy where you invest in one expensive item for your home once a year and then in five years you have five timeless pieces that you’ll have forever!

Caroline Gidiere

Rule Two: Only Buy What You Love

If you follow my Instagram stories then you have heard me say this before, but only buy what you love. When I say this I don’t mean buy the pillow that catches your eye in Pottery Barn that you stumble across and think is really pretty. I mean only buy pieces you love so much you can’t stop thinking about them; the ones that will give your buyer’s remorse if you went back to purchase them and they were no longer available. This may sound silly but the reasoning is simple. Whether you know it or not, your design eye is consistent and you should trust it! If you only buy the things you absolutely love I can assure you that they will go together perfectly.

Rule Three: It’s All About the Mix

After you have selected the big ticket items for your home, it’s time to start the fun part of hunting for the decorative accents like mirrors, pillows, and decorative objects. This is where I recommend two things- shopping smart and shopping small. Be smart where you decide to invest in your home- not every piece in your house needs to be expensive! Home Goods, Target, World Market, Ballard Designs and flea markets are great, easily accessible resources for finding affordable items that won’t break the bank. When I say “shop small” I am referring to making sure you don’t overlook small businesses like Etsy, pop up shops, and online boutiques. It can take some digging, but if you are able to find affordable home decor sources, you can get the bespoke look we all crave for a fraction of the cost.

*I should note that if you can I think it is worth investing in wallpaper and custom window treatments. They instantly elevate a room, giving it that designer feel.

Rule Four: Don’t Forget to Layer

Spaces can look flat and one dimensional if you don’t layer. This could mean literally layering items like adding a throw to the back of a chair or decorative pillows to a sofa, but layering can also be achieved in other ways like incorporating different textures, colors, and patterns into a room. Mixing furniture finishes, not being afraid to mix furniture finishes and adding woven elements are an easy foolproof way to give your room a timeless, polished feel.

Rule Five: The Art of the Edit

Editing becomes much easier if you follow Rule One and come up with a firm floor plan and design guide ahead of time. Still, adding the finishing touches of a room can be a slippery slope and the next thing you know, one large impulse shop at Home Goods finds or finding a box of family heirlooms in the attic and you know and your home is filled with stuff. I think we can all agree that “stuff” is the enemy of design. Stuff usually weighs us down and begins to feel like clutter and after you have taken the time to carefully plan out the room in your room clutter can suffocate those plans in one fell swoop. So, when editing go back to Step Two. Do you LOVE every single item you are putting in your room? If you love everything in that box from the attic then use it, if you don’t maybe only select a few beloved items to incorporate into each room of your home. If not it’s either back to the store or back to the attic!

A Few Home Decor Favorites

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a great week!