The Interior Design Mantras I’ve Picked Up Over the Years, Part One

The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years

Hello hello! I hope you had the greatest long weekend ever!

I’m so excited about today’s post because the topic of Interior Design is something that so many people have asked me to blog about. Honestly, I’m so humbled and honored by this! The biggest question is what I think about where to splurge vs. where to save in designing a home. So let’s dig in!

Now would be a great time for me to make this disclaimer: I AM NOT A TRAINED INTERIOR DESIGNER. I have worked in the same building as the most fabulous designers in the Southeast for 12 years, but I did not go to school for this. I do, however, feel that I’ve earned an abbreviated design degree through osmosis by breathing the same air as the SummerHouse greats for so long! 😉 And I definitely did pick up on some important things that I will carry with me the rest of my life, even if I’m not there anymore.

Here are my design mantras that I believe could apply to almost any home.

(1) When in doubt at all, hire an Interior Designer. I figured this was a good place to start! Interior Designers went to school to design homes well. Just like dentists went to school to fix messed up teeth, and like accountants went to school to do taxes. Never would I ever attempt to fix my own cavity. I might attempt to do my own taxes, but I would much rather pay someone whose training is in that area to do something they do professionally, rather than me try to do it myself and make mistakes that a professional deals with all the time! So many people try to design entire homes by themselves when they have no giftedness in the area. I promise you’ll come out winning if you pay a designer for a few hours of time and do things correctly, than by buying things that don’t work then having to go through the headache of returns, or through the life-sucking task of living with ugly things in your home! If you can’t tell, I feel strongly about hiring a designer if you have any questions. Particularly about major decisions!

The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years

(2) Try to keep as much original art as you can in the main living spaces of your home. This doesn’t mean you have to spend bajillions of dollars on huge pieces of art to make your space look fabulous. But I do believe that original art gives your home a unique quality that only original art can give! Check out flea markets and antique shops. I’ve landed several awesome pieces for next to nothing by shopping this way. Dig around in your grandmother’s attic. You might find a jewel. We were blessed to have an artist in the family with Price’s grandmother, so many of our pieces were created by that lovely woman!

Take art classes and make some of your own art! When Price and I were broke newlyweds, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a couple of big canvases and painted them myself so we could have something hanging above the fireplace and in an otherwise empty hallway. They weren’t the greatest pieces of art you ever saw, but now they’re so sentimental to us because those were some of our first big pieces! I know not everyone is artistically gifted, but if you are, then this is an option!

If you do have the ability to shop at nicer galleries (shout out to SummerHouse and VIEW GALLERY! Seriously some of the coolest art EVER!), ask about the option of payment plans. Not every gallery will give you this option, but financing is an option more cases than not. One great little factoid that I learned from Whit, the owner of VIEW GALLERY, is that original art that is kept in great condition will never depreciate in value. Take good care of your art, don’t let your kids bung it up, and you’ll have something that will be a wonderful hand-me-down to future generations, and it will undoubtedly be worth more in future years than it is now.

Another thing to do is keep an eye out for artists on etsy and Instagram. I’ve found out about several incredible artists just by poking around on the gram. Shout out to the watercolor artist Lisa B. who painted this piece of my kids and my nephews & nieces for me, as well as this piece and this piece as Mother’s Day gifts for our mamas! She was SO sweet and easy to work with and welcomed commissions!

The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years

Another idea on art, when larger pieces may not be a possibility, is to put together some gallery walls! I love the look of a nicely curated gallery wall, where pieces all seem to have some sort of common thread. I do think you have to be careful with gallery walls, though, so they don’t look like too much of a hodge lodge! This, too, is a great way to incorporate some nicer prints in addition to original pieces.

Speaking of nicer prints, now seems like a great time to mention giclee art. Giclees are copies of original art, made with fade resistant ink, using a much more in-depth printing process. Often times, giclees are finished off with a little bit of original painting on top of the print, so in many cases, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a giclee and an original. Only giclees are half the price! I know SummerHouse carries some killer giclees, so be sure to ask about this type of piece when you’re art shopping!

Now where I DO think your nice prints and maybe even some posters should go are in kids rooms, guest rooms, bathrooms, out-of-the-way hallways. Maybe even in closets if you have the space to make a fun little wall or jazz up some shelves!

The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years

(3) Keep personal photos to personal spaces. To kind of piggyback off #2, I do think art should be the shining star in the more “public” portions of your home. Kitchen, living, dining…

Personal photos of your family at Disney or of you and your baby in the hospital bed DO deserve to be included somewhere in your home! Just maybe not in the bookshelves in your living room. I like these for bedside tables, a seating area in your bedroom, hallways, laundry rooms, more private bathrooms (maybe not the powder rooms all your guests use) and up stairways. There are plenty of great places for life’s snapshots, but they don’t need to override the design in your main entertaining spaces.

Portraits are a different story. If you have a fabulous oil painting of your kids, by all means, include that in your dining room. When I say personal photos, I’m mainly referring to snapshots!

Another way to include personal photos in your more public spaces is through beautiful photo albums. I love the idea of having hardback books made each year or each trip, because they can neatly stack on a coffee table or be lined up in a basket on the hearth without taking away from your overall design. I’ve used MPix and Shutterfly before and they both make it fairly easy to do this!

The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years
The Interior Design Mantras I've Picked Up Over the Years

This post is getting a bit lengthy, so I’ll pick back up with a continuation post or two! I still want to talk about actual furniture pieces, rugs, drapery, pillows, and more! I think this topic makes me long winded! 😉

Thank you SO MUCH for reading today! Let me know if there’s anything else you may want me to touch on as I’m putting together the rest of these posts! You are amazing and I’m so thankful you stopped in to read 🙂



  1. Mary Straton Smith September 3, 2019 / 1:54 pm

    #1 for SURE! If you can’t afford one for your entire house, at least get someone to help you choose paint colors. Also, my mom told me a long time ago to spend about $50 in home decor magazines and tear out everything you like. You can give that to your designer and build upon it together!

    • Laurel at THE HIVE September 4, 2019 / 9:21 am

      YES! 1000 x yes! Paint colors can be so tricky, and make such a huge difference. You HAVE to get those right. Magazine pages are such a fun way to convey style to a designer. I know lots of the SummerHouse designers would have clients start pinterest boards and share them, so the designers could get a good idea of client style that way too.

  2. Gray Blocker September 3, 2019 / 2:44 pm

    I love your style so much! Taking ALL of this advice!

  3. Avery Shannon September 3, 2019 / 3:38 pm

    This was all SO helpful, little bear!

    • Laurel at THE HIVE September 4, 2019 / 9:18 am

      Yay I’m so glad it was helpful!! Thanks a ton for reading! 🙂 Love you!

  4. Kirstie Barlow September 4, 2019 / 3:54 pm

    Laurel, the artwork in your home has me swooning! So inspiring too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your home. ☺️

    • Laurel at THE HIVE September 5, 2019 / 12:41 pm

      Thank you so much Kirstie!! You are SO kind! We LOVE some art around here!!

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