How To Style Your Home Like an Interior Designer

Interior Designer, Kerry Spears, shares her favorite tips and essentials for styling your home to give it the picture perfect finish.

written by Kerry Spears

Styling Tips, Chinoiserie, Ginger Jars, Kerry Spears Interiors, Table Skirt
Nathan Schroder Photography

Bookshelves, tables, nightstands–they all are fun to create or find, but what do you do with them once you have them? This is one of the most popular questions we get from our clients. Weaving them into the room can often be the strongest part of the design and your styling can really set the tone for the room. Is it formal or relaxed? Is it traditional or eclectic?  Do you collect things while traveling or enjoy family heirlooms? Styling provides you with the chance to let a room really tell a story and layers added at the end will tell your story and make your furniture pieces come to life.

Beautiful Boxes

Styling Tips, Kerry Spears, Home Office Ideas, Desk Styling
Photography: Jessie Preza / Styling: Olga Naiman

Boxes are my favorite way to style. There are so many great boxes out there, and relatively easy to find through antique shops or online through Etsy, Chairish and eBay. They add texture, color and visual interest. I also love that in a sea of vertical books a horizontal box can help break that up. You can stack them on things or leave them alone and they will shine either way.

The Versatility of Vases

Styling Tips, Kerry Spears, Design Hacks, Home Decor
Photography: Jessie Preza / Styling: Olga Naiman

After working with several stylists for photoshoots, I’ve learned that vases are the single most important thing in styling for a shoot. You can reuse flower sin different rooms or cut greenery from the yard, but to do this you need a different vessel to put them in. Even if you’re just looking for something to throw pencils in on a desk, there is no chicer way than a beautiful container. Vases are so versatile and can add unexpected color and character to a well-styled space.

The Benefit of Books

Built ins, shelf styling, design tips, Kerry Spears
Photography: Jessie Preza / Styling: Olga Naiman

You can never have too many beautiful books. They will always be my go-to for large bookcases and empty shelves. They also look lovely stacked on tables, yet can feel really casual. Consider the colors on the binding and even the topics. Books can be a great way to fill that void of space and create a conversation starter at the same time. Open a large book to a beautiful page and leave that on display.

Don't Overlook Artwork

Bedroom design, nightstand styling, blue and green design
Photography: Jessie Preza / Styling: Olga Naiman

While it seems like an obvious choice, I find that a lot of people do not initially think about adding art to fill space on shelves. You can lean it on the back of a bookshelf or hang it on the front, layered in front of books (or an empty space no one can see). I also love an easel with a small piece of art on a side table or chest. Additionally, the frame can help change the mood of the space or piece of furniture. If it’s a super modern piece of art, consider using a more traditional frame to make it feel relevant in a more traditional space. Investing in quality furniture is important, but don’t discount the power of styling and how that can really make a room sing. And as with everything in decorating, take your time to curate the perfect styling pieces. You’ll be happier in the end and really understand what your space needs to make it feel complete.

Add Texture with Baskets

My goal in styling is to make it look effortless and casual. Baskets and woven pieces are a great way to achieve this. You don’t want anything to feel overly stuffy. Even if I’m styling fine china in a dining room cabinet, I like to mix in wovens to give it a more relaxed vibe. If everything is porcelain and glass it can start to feel cold. Make it approachable by styling it with a more casual pieces. Baskets also make a great addition to side tables and coffee tables. They’re a pretty, different texture and can either hold things or not to add more visual interest.

Blue and White Decor, Styling Tips, Plate Wall, Chinoiserie, Kerry Spears
Photography: Jessie Preza / Styling: Frances Bailey

At Kerry Spears Interiors we offer e-design services for clients that want the extra help fine tuning their visions and sourcing the materials to do it. We offer a full design scheme within 6 weeks, which include saccess to a lot of great resources that aren’t available to people outside of the Trade. If you’re interested in learning more about the design we offer, please visit