One of the most exciting aspects of moving into your new house is making it feel like a home. Styling your interior so that it feels both comfortable and personal is an important step in the transition from house to home, but not everyone is blessed with an innate sense of style, nor the designer’s eye to pull it all together. Redfin asked Maria Thompson, a designer in New York City to give us her advice. Maria works with the ultra-savvy interior design firm Tom Delavan which boasts a high profile clientele including Gwen Stefani and Rashida Jones. Here are her most crucial design tips to help you maximize the style and ambiance of your new home:
Get inspired, make a plan, then execute
I often see people do these steps backwards when it comes to decorating and then end up with a bunch of random pieces that don’t really work together. Unless you have the uncanny knack of “throwing together” the perfect eclectic room, it’s best to have a plan. Start by compiling interiors for inspiration. Shelter magazines are an obvious resource, but also movie sets, restaurants, art and fashion can be good sources. Once you have a general room style direction, you can drill down to each piece and find options you like. It helps to arrange these all in one place, like a bulletin board or a PowerPoint. The next step is to make a floor plan so you know what will fit in your space.
Subtraction before addition
If you start the decorating process with too much inventory, you’ll find it will prevent you from achieving the new look you’re going for. Even if you have a lot of space, this still applies. People are compelled to fill space arbitrarily with objects and knick knacks but fewer things have a greater impact. So, before you start making your shopping list, do an inventory of everything you own, and edit it down ruthlessly. You’ll be left with both a clearer mind and a collection of objects you love.
Think texture and contrast
Now that you have a clear direction for your room scheme and you’re looking for furniture pieces, keep in mind texture and contrast. Texture can get overlooked in favor of striking the right color scheme but, without it, a room can feel flat and sterile. It’s important to consider material as carefully as color. For our projects, we usually favor a neutral color palette that incorporates several different textures — a linen sofa with a high pile rug, brass lamps and mohair velvet chairs. Even if the pieces are all variations of beige, the different materials bring richness and depth.
Lighting is EVERYTHING
For the same reason you walk into a restaurant and think “this is great ambiance”, lighting is what gives your home the good “vibe” and pulls it all together. A perfectly furnished space is nothing if you have 150-watts glaring down on it. An easy and low cost fix is to replace an overhead flush mount with a dropped pendant that provides filtered light. Our go-to is the classic Noguchi paper globe pendant. It’s sculptural and diffuses light to create a perfect glow.