Your home is your sanctuary. The decor and design are a reflection of you — your interests, lifestyle and aesthetic. Over the course of time, you may change, and so do your interests and lifestyle. Refreshing your home to reflect these personal changes may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty simple. To make it even more simple, we asked three local interior designers to share their styling secrets and tricks of the trade. With a few easy changes, you can truly transform a space. Before you know it, you’ll be just like one of those people your friends envy for having great design taste without even trying.

7 Pro Tips to Create a Fabulous Home

1. Look at the lighting.

Jill Gaynor of Home Staging Specialists stresses the importance of lighting, saying, “From a focal point over a dining room table to an interesting piece in the foyer or even a unique table lamp, lighting is an important accessory to help bring the room together.”

The key here is to have a variety of lighting locations with a range of heights. This allows you to bring more attention to certain spots in the room or to highlight certain objects. It’s easy to fall victim to having all the light in the room fall on one level. To avoid this, include lighting on top of shelves and somewhere low to the ground; and choosing different brightness levels to prevent lighting fatigue.

This space by LL & A Interior Design not only utilizes the natural light from the wall of windows in the living room, but the designers have also incorporated a variety of lighting sources, including recessed lighting in the ceiling, varied pendant lighting and under-lit shelving in both the den and kitchen. Image: LL & A Interior Design

This space by LL & A Interior Design not only utilizes the natural light from the wall of windows in the living room, but the designers have also incorporated a variety of lighting sources, including recessed lighting in the ceiling, varied pendant lighting and under-lit shelving in both the den and kitchen. Image: LL & A Interior Design

2. Color matters.

Nothing changes the aesthetic of a room quicker than color. The effects of color are subtle yet significant, and often underestimated in design. “To create my color schemes, I always start with something in my client’s home that ‘speaks’ to them,” says Lyn Maybre of Living Spaces by Lyn. “It may be a favorite rug, a piece of art or the fabric from a piece of furniture, for example.” She then builds the interior color palette from those personal pieces.

Center your color scheme around a personal item with sentimental value.

Center your color scheme around a personal item with sentimental value, like this framed antique lace and heirloom crystal and china. Image: Living Spaces by Lyn

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“Depending on the project, most of the time I bring in color through different elements: paint, wallpaper, fabrics, etc.,” says Jill. “Depending on the client’s style, whether it’s tone-on-tone neutrals to vibrant color, our job is to meet the client’s particular lifestyle.”

Design by Home Staging Specialists, cabinetry by Barber Cabinet Company, counter concrete recycled glass. Image: Home Staging Specialists

Home Staging Specialists designed this bold blue bathroom look, which features cabinetry by Barber Cabinet Company and a concrete-and-recycled glass countertop. Image: Home Staging Specialists

3. Add interest with texture.

The secret to making any room more interesting is texture. Incorporating texture into your home design always seems to be an afterthought for some reason, but our designers say it’s the thing that makes a room “pop.”

“I am definitely a texture girl,” says Jill. “I love mixing and matching different textures and materials to make a room interesting. I am not into being ‘matchy-matchy,’ but instead I like to have different elements that complement each other.”

A dramatic example of texture that Jill loves is the Chihuly chandelier in the lobby of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Image: Luxatic

A dramatic example of texture that Jill loves is the Chihuly chandelier in the lobby of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Image: Luxatic

You don't need to invest in a Chihuly chandelier to achieve a similar juxtaposition of traditional backdrop with a strikingly modern pop of texture. Or perhaps your interiors are mostly sleek and modern. Add warmth with a timeworn antique or a vibrantly colored quilt throw. Image: Pinterest

You don’t need to invest in a Chihuly chandelier to achieve a similar juxtaposition of a traditional backdrop with a strikingly modern pop of texture. Or perhaps your interiors are mostly sleek and modern. Add warmth with a timeworn antique or a vibrantly colored quilt throw. Image: Pinterest

4. Incorporate personal mementos.

Your home is just that, your home. So it is important to include things you love and cherish. When you use personal pieces you love, it only adds to the integrity of the room. “When we fill our spaces with books we have read, family photos, collections or art and accessories, we ensure the space will be one that makes us feel ‘at home’ — a room we will want to share with family and friends,” says Leslie Lewis of LL & A Interior Design.

When you use pieces you love, it only adds to the integrity of the room.

When you use personal pieces you love, it imbues the space with a sense of honesty, which feels personal and inviting. Image: LL & A

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“Whether the project involves a single room or an entire home, I include cherished objects from my clients,” says Lyn. “Family mementos, items from their travels or something they found that they just love is always included in my design scheme.”

Whether the project involves a single room or an entire home, I include cherished objects.

“Whether the project involves a single room or an entire home, I include cherished objects,” says Lyn Maybre, citing elements like art and family heirlooms. Image: Living Spaces by Lyn

5. Employ proper use of scale, length and proportion.

Use of proper scale, length and proportion is essential to achieving balance in any space. By scaling a rug in proportion to a room and the furniture arrangement, in addition to combining the proper window treatment widths and lengths, you will create a space that is visually balanced.

“Keep in mind, we size our clothing properly to our bodies, we should also size our furniture, rug and drapes to our rooms,” says Leslie. “Rugs that are too small or large for a room or are not sized correctly for the furniture will throw a room out of balance. Short or ill-fitting draperies that are not properly scaled to the window will certainly compromise the integrity of the window.”

"Keep in mind, we size our clothing properly to our bodies, we should also size our furniture, rug and drapes to our rooms," Leslie Lewis says.

“Keep in mind, we size our clothing properly to our bodies, we should also size our furniture, rug and drapes to our rooms,” Leslie Lewis says. Image: LL & A

6. Bring the outside in.

Another afterthought in home design is the use of plants. You may not have a green thumb, but the benefits of indoor plants certainly outweigh the maintenance. The science of feng shui says that plants make us happier, help us recharge and can even make us more productive.

“Every room needs a touch of green — some form, some fashion and some way,” says Leslie. “Whether it be a small live plant, organic succulents, fresh flowers or live moss, greenery breathes fresh air into a room. It will complete your space and add just the right finishing touch.”

Every room needs a touch of green. Image: LL & A

Every room needs a touch of green. Image: LL & A

7. Ignore the rules.

To keep it simple, sometimes the rules are meant to be broken. Forget what other people say, and do what feels right to you. “I encourage my clients to ignore the rules,” says Lyn. “Gather things you love around you. Mix styles and shapes. Organize and display these objects to create symmetry and balance. This may include colors, furniture, metals in hardware or styles of lighting. Never hesitate to mix the old with the new and the bold with the subtle.”

Modern furniture and lighting alongside sleek finishes mix with timeworn traditional leather chairs, driftwood and cowhide rug for a fabulous, one-of-a-kind look. Image: Living Spaces by Lyn

Modern furniture and lighting alongside sleek finishes mix with timeworn traditional leather chairs, driftwood and a cowhide rug for a fabulous, one-of-a-kind look. Image: Living Spaces by Lyn

When taking the DIY approach to freshening up your home design, follow these tips and tricks of the trade, and all your friends will be asking who designed your home!

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