Home Accessories 101

How to Decorate Your Home Like An Interior Designer

by Amanda Garrigus

Like most people, my first few apartments were “decorated” on a wing and a prayer. I did my best to emulate gorgeous images in home design magazines, but on a nearly nonexistent budget, and lacking know-how, the results were less cohesive and more confused.

All these years later, I’ve had the good fortune to not only work with, but also befriend, some of the world’s most sought-after interior designers. As good friends should, they opened my eyes to a whole new world, peeling back the veil of mystery that shrouds their trade. What I learned felt like a revelation on par with learning, later in life, that my grandfather was a powerful shaman. No joke. But that’s another story. For the moment, let’s focus on the simple and achievable things you can do now to elevate your home design game.

1. Throw down on some throw pillows. These are usually the last things an interior designer will add to a room. They are the accessories that at once add comfort and dimension to your space. Though they may seem to disappear into the background, make no mistake, if well-chosen, they will add a hefty measure of sophistication and polish. Try to choose pillows made from quality fabrics, you’ll want them to feel as good as they look. Also, if color is your thing, feel free to be adventurous here, just make sure that there is some tie-in, however small, with the other colors in your room.

2. Gather up your favorite tchotchkes and create a purposeful mise-en-scène. Amongst all the rubble in your storage closet are some treasured items and hidden gems. Maybe it’s a little statuette you bought on that college trip to Greece, or a small bronze box you’ve stuffed to overflowing with pennies and bobby pins. Dust them off and give them a place of honor on a sideboard or table. The intentional placement of unassuming objects can add character and personality to your home.

3. Coffee table books are expensive, but worth it. One thing all chic living rooms seem to have in common are curated stacks of them. Now, a single coffee table book is an investment to be sure, so take your time building your collection as your budget allows, then pile them on with pride.

4. Even if you kill everything green that comes into your home, you should still have house plants. Not only will they improve the air you breathe, they will also bring a vitality and positive energy into your living spaces. The plant of the moment? The fiddle-leaf fig. I’ve got one, so does Oprah — ’nuff said.

5. Hang some art on your walls. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “If I could afford to buy art, then I would hire an interior designer and skip right over your article. But since I’m reading …” Point taken. That said, art isn’t always expensive. A painting found at a flea market has the potential to add as much to a home as any purchased at a gallery. You don’t have to be an art history major either. If you like it and it speaks to you, that’s reason enough to put it on your wall.

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