When it comes to interior design knowledge, some of us have the knack. Others, not so much. Thankfully, there are professionals who can help create beautiful spaces that we enjoy calling home. One such local talent is Lyn Mabry, of Living Spaces by Lyn. She grew up with a mother who was an interior designer, and the gift comes naturally to Lyn as well. We wanted to find out a few insider tips and get answers to our interior design questions. Fortunately, she indulged, and we learned a thing or two along the way.
8 Questions With An Interior Design Pro
1. What is the hardest room in a home to design and why?
Today’s open floor plans, where one room flows into another, can be difficult. It is a challenge in these areas to honor the open, spacious feel of the space and still create that feeling of warmth and coziness we want in our homes. The task of separating open areas with furniture, accessories and colors can be challenging.
2. What is the most important rule when it comes to interior design?
First of all, don’t take yourself too seriously. Secondly, listen, listen, listen to your client. Thirdly, pay attention to the energy in a space and how it changes as you add or take away colors, textures and shapes.
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3. When it comes to staging a home, are there different rules for different rooms?
A general rule of thumb for all spaces? Yes, staging is about first impressions — in MLS photos but especially in person. That impression starts as you enter through the front door of a home. What a buyer can see from that vantage point is where that first impression comes from, so get it right!
Foyers, living rooms, great rooms, dining rooms … whatever the view is from the front door, prioritize that space.
Next are the kitchen, master bedroom and master bath.
Lastly might be a small room that needs “a job.” Maybe you stage it as an office or a child’s room or a craft room.
And outdoor space is important to stage if it is a big selling point for the property.
4. What is the biggest mistake you see people make when they DIY their interior design efforts?
I get calls all the time from distressed homeowners who have realized the space they have updated or renovated doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the home. Rooms in a home are like words in a paragraph; they need to make sense in relation to each other. As a whole, rooms should be telling the collective story of a home. Sometimes it takes a designer to see how to make selections for a room or two that harmonize with the rest of the house.
5. What is one thing you wish potential clients knew before they hired you?
That we have imperfect homes too — we do not judge. We are so easy to work with and we are very good.
6. Where do you skimp and where do you splurge?
I want to use quality products and hire quality craftsmen to do the work. I never skimp on that. But there are ways to save our clients’ money through our discounts (which we pass on to our clients) and our product knowledge. For example, you can find great pieces of hard surface stone products like granite, if you know where to look. Same with tile products, carpet, fabrics, etc. We work very hard to stick to our clients’ budgets and not waste their money.
7. What hacks or insider secrets do you have/use that non-designer folks would find shocking?
Well for one, I never measure when I am hanging a wall of art. I just visualize what the end product will look like on the wall. I start with the anchor piece and put it together as I go. I rarely have to rehang anything.
8. If someone wants to completely redesign their entire house but doesn’t have the budget to do the whole thing at one time, is there an order you would recommend for tackling each space?
Absolutely. We do this a lot with our design clients. Our first appointment is always about the big picture and our clients’ vision. We work hard at incorporating our clients’ vision into a multi-year plan of action. We work together on a multi-year plan, if need be, and on where to start. Sometimes it is obvious. Sometimes it depends more on how our client uses the spaces and what nurtures them.
Thank you, Lyn. Learn more about Living Spaces by Lyn on her website, livingspacesbylyn.com.
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