When it comes to making design decisions for our homes, it’s often tough to see things objectively. Choices like paint colors, sofa fabrics or rug sizes might cause us to stall—and stew—for weeks, months and more. Sometimes it’s incredibly beneficial to get outside help. If you have a talented best friend, great. But usually, the easiest path to success is to rely on the advice of an interior designer or retailer who has solid experience. With that in mind, here are some tips from some of our favorite area professionals.
Relax and take your time! Design is a process. Focus on the big, “anchor” pieces first and build your way outward. Trying to complete a room down to the last toss pillow all at once can be exhausting and confusing and can end up with results that look more forced than natural. —Bart Foster, Bova Cincinnati
Most people tend to want to select their paint color first, and then try to build their room design around it. It’s actually best to select everything else (fabrics, rugs, etc.) first and then choose the wall color to complement all the elements in the space. —Julie Cochran, Decorating Den Centerville
For an extraordinary design remember all of the ingredients in your room. Beautiful ceiling treatments can create the ultimate WOW that no one will forget! In this dining room we embellished the new wallpaper with “crystal jewels” and extended the accent to the faux painted sunburst in the tray ceiling. —Ann E. Hoffman, Hoffman & Albers Interiors
Don’t get too caught up on what is trending. Design your home to reflect your personal needs and likes! —Brittney Ingram, ID Cincinnati
When doing window valances, often repeating an accent fabric can pull the entire space together. In this family room, the repetition of the check from valances to pillows to the ottoman, brings continuity to the space and serves to create balance and interest in the entire room. —Beth Spegal, House Dressing Interior Design, Ltd.
One design feature that I most definitely will suggest in your spaces is wallpaper. This always becomes a fun part of the project and allows you to step outside your comfort zone. This is a favorite piece of design and my most enjoyable when sourcing for a space. —Alisa Culyer, Honor and Grace
Great lighting and options for display make any entertainment area shine. Always consider what will highlight the area for not only look but function. In this bar design we used uplighting, downlighting and mirrors (antiqued), as well as a stair-stepped lit bottle display on an amazing piece of stone. —Vicki Waker, Cabinet Creations
You know how sometimes you can’t define beauty, but you know it when you see it? That’s how I feel about quality furnishings. From upholstery and case goods to accent pieces and accessories, it doesn’t matter how stunning a room looks, if the furnishings aren’t of a certain quality, you’ll never capture that extra special something.
—Carolynn Reis, Best Furniture Gallery
Ideally all of your furniture or at least the front feet of the furniture should fit on the rug to define the space and make the most visual impact. Choosing a too-small rug can make your space feel smaller than it is. —Ashley Carr, K.A. Menendian
Article originally appeared in November 2023