The key to designing a room

Have you ever been in someone’s house and it didn’t seem like theirs? Like maybe a designer came in and threw some things together and it hasn’t been touched since? Almost like a catalog? To me that always feels stuffy and cold. That’s why I want to let you in on the key to designing a room.

I get asked questions all the time about how I do what I do. Up until about a month ago when I launched this blog the only people who knew about my love for design were those closest to me. Friends and family would walk into my house and have a million questions about how I chose a paint color, why I paired this texture with that fabric, etc. I started getting texts from friends when they were at a store deciding between this piece and that and I came to the conclusion that I needed to start this platform.

When I first started designing my house I had no money for it. No, I’m not kidding. I had like negative dollars in the bank. I was fully on my own at 19 (by choice) and was unaware of real life bills that came along with that downtown loft. I improvised. I had old furniture from my parents (gotta love hand-me-downs!) that I spray painted. I bought dressers, nightstands, coffee tables, filing cabinets, you name it, from thrift stores and painted it all. The only blog I followed at this time was Virginia over at LiveLoveDIY who I still love and follow, by the way. She has the best painting tips and I’m never going to be able to give you better advice so go follow her now. She introduced me to the Wooster shortcut brush (my fave), she emailed me back when I had a spray painting fiasco with said filing cabinet from the thrift store, and I cried when her cat Cheese died. She is all about upcycling and thrift storing and painting old smelly hand-me-down furniture so a lot of my old designs can be attributed to her.

Do you ever have an item that you don’t really care for anymore but it was so expensive that you feel bad getting rid of it so you just hoard it forever? Same thing goes for furniture and decorations. Sometimes you might spend a lot of money on an item only to realize that you don’t love it and it doesn’t fit your space after just a short period of time. I try not to spend too much money on pieces that aren’t forever pieces because I know I’ll regret it later. If something is trending now it most likely won’t be trending a year from now and you’ll be stuck with the furniture equivalent of JT & Britney’s double denim red carpet look. If it’s just a small accent piece that can be swapped out I say go for it! For the bigger pieces it’s always better to stay classic. Unless double denim is your jam. Then do what you do, boo!

Here I displayed my Grandmother’s China on reclaimed wood shelves with Industrial pipe.

As I grew up and grew out of my old style of designing it made it easier to part with certain items knowing they didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I still have some of my thrift store furniture that I ended up getting really attached to because of how much work I put into them. My favorite thing to do with these pieces is to mix and match. I love having a super glam room with candlesticks and mirrors and pairing it with a farmhouse light fixture and an upcycled thrift store dresser. I love antiques just as much as I love fur (faux, of course) and chandeliers so when I design a room I stick to that. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s mine and I love it!

I don’t want to discuss how badly I need a rug here. I just haven’t found one worth it, yet!

I see too many people forcing rooms to be a certain design. The bathroom is Nautical, the dining room is Farmhouse, and so on and so forth. All of your rooms should be “you”. That is what’s important.

Real Antique Borden’s Milk Crates from the Early 1950’s. Left: Used for Ri’s babies. He will even carry them back to put them away. Sometimes. Right: Blankies.

So when people ask me for the best tip I can give them I always find myself rattling off paint swatches and materials and how far to space light fixtures from your dining table but I think what truly makes your home stand out the most is staying true to yourself. If you stay true to yourself it will shine through and the results will speak for themselves. Don’t worry about what other people say, what’s trending right now, what looks have the most pins on Pinterest, or how long it will take you to reach the end result. Make it “you”. Go for it.

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