Interior decorating is an incredible thing. With the right touches, you can completely transform an interior space. Decor can make space feel larger or smaller, or more comfortable or functional. It can change with your tastes and personal style, and it can impress others and make them feel more welcome in your space.
Learning the basics of interior decorating isn’t too tough. With a few basic tips on arranging furniture and choosing wall art, you’ll be well on your way. From there, the focus is an inspiration. You’ll want to read design magazines and follow great interior design Instagram accounts. By seeing the great and inspired designs that these outlets will show you, you can find the next big idea for your own space.
But beware not everything these images show makes sense for your space. Here’s how to decorate like the pros — and when you should go your own way.
How to draw inspiration from the pros
There are some things that interior design pros just do better than others. After all, they’re the trained experts. Here are a few things to keep an eye on.
Look at those colors! Designers know color families and relationships, and they know how to use them. You’ll draw great lessons in common color usages from what you read and look at on design blogs and in magazines, and you may discover a bold or unexpected color relationship if you dig deep enough.
Textures, too, are essential tools in design. Look for how designers mix different textures in furniture, blankets, curtains, bedding, and even wall hangings. For instance, not all wall hangings have to be simply framed and glass-fronted pieces of art: a canvas painting or canvas print can really add variety and depth to space.
Finally, look for organization tricks. The pros don’t always shave as much stuff to store as real-life homeowners and renters do. But their clever tricks to hide clutter are occasionally on display, and they can be a big help to those of us with normal amounts of stuff.
When to ignore the pros
A picture of a well-designed space can be incredibly aesthetically pleasing, but it’s extremely important to keep in mind the purpose of design. For your rooms, the purpose is to make those rooms better to be in: more comfortable, more beautiful, and more functional. For the rooms in the photos you see, the purpose is different — they have to look good in an image.
Keep functionality in mind. You’ll see very little clutter in design-blog photos. But you have books and things you want to keep, even after you cut down on clutter. You may need more storage than you see in images online and in magazines. And super-hip moves like open shelving may be a bad idea in practice unless you’re willing to buy matching sets of dishes, pots, and pans that will look great on display.
Another thing that is missing from all too many professionally photographed spaces is personality. The wall hangings, in particular, tend to be very generic. Don’t fall into this trap! Your space should be personalized, not generalized — unlike the pros, you’re not aiming to please everyone at once.
To combine the classy textures and wall hangings that we talked about earlier with the personal flair your space needs, consider looking into online canvas printing. Using customized printing, you can turn a personal photograph or design into a sturdy and elegant canvas wall hanging, bridging the gap between the personal and the designer-friendly.
And those influencers love to hang maps — but what if yours was more personal? A pin map can add a personal touch to a popular decorating trend.
Ultimately, how you design your space should come down to what you like. Learning more about design and following the work of professionals can and should inform and inspire your own efforts, but remember that interior design is design with purpose. You’re making your rooms better for you!