The Interior Design Mantras I’ve Picked up Over the Years, Part Two

Interior Design Mantras learned over the years

I started this series earlier this month and am just now able to get part two together! I’m just gonna pick right back up with where I left off with this post! To quickly recap, the mantras I’ve already covered are,

(1) When in doubt at all, hire and Interior Designer, (2) try to keep as much original art as you can in the main living spaces of your home, and (3) keep personal photos to personal spaces.

(4) Avoid blinds if you can! Blinds do serve a great purpose, don’t get me wrong! They are easy to operate, they open and close easily, and they effectively block light. But they add little to nothing to the design of your home. Particularly metal and paper blinds! If you have allergy issues and physically require blinds, go with wooden. More specifically, go with plantation shutters. But if you CAN deal with not having blinds and having a soft goods instead…

(5) Get custom drapery whenever possible! This is one of the biggest things I’ve noticed in my time at SummerHouse. Custom drapery makes SUCH A DIFFERENCE. Not only do draperies and roman shades add aesthetic softness to a space because they’re made out of fabric, but they also help soften the sound in a space.

The reason I advocate for custom drapery is because ready-made drapery (although better than blinds) usually looks ready-made. When your drapery is made specifically to fit your space, there truly is a MAJOR difference. Custom drapery certainly is a splurge, but you can have so much fun with it and it will help give you the feeling of living in a magazine. (I don’t know if everyone wants that feeling, but I sure love it when I can accomplish it!)

If you flip through a design magazine, rarely will you see blinds or ready-made drapery. Custom soft goods really just elevate the space.

Another thought about custom drapery– it can add value to your home. If you choose a neutral fabric, like a flax or ivory linen, hung on beautiful hardware, you can sell the window treatments with your home whenever you get ready to move. These are a tremendous added value to the buyer!

Interior Design Mantras learned over the years
Interior Design Mantras learned over the years

(6) Invest in rugs if it makes sense for your life stage. This has been such a tricky topic for me, personally! I LOOOOVE a fabulous antique oushak or tibetan as much as the next person. They are STUNNING. But for me, they do not make sense in every room of our home. Because I have three young kids who drop crumbs and track in mud. And I have two geriatric dogs. You understand.

I do love the idea of investing in a high-end rug that you know you’ll love forever if it’s in a low traffic area, or if it has a pattern/color palette that will hide spills and dirt easily. Or if it’s easily washable. I did learn that wool is one of the easiest rug materials to wash because it’s a natural fiber that inherently repels liquid. We have two mid-range wool rugs in our home and I’m here to tell ya, they do clean very easily! We once had a friend smash a blackberry in my white wool rug and, although it took some elbow grease, you cannot see where that juicy blackberry was once buried! Thankfully!

I have had good luck shopping on this site for “throw away” rugs. I almost feel bad saying that, but that’s essentially what you’re getting if you pay $400 for a 9×12 rug. For that price, you are not paying for a rug that will last a lifetime. You’re paying for a rug that may achieve the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve, knowing that one day when it is too beat up and spilled upon to still work in your home, you don’t have to feel like you’re throwing away an expensive relic.

The “throw away” rug pictured below is fully washable, inexpensive, hides messes beautifully, and is ON MAJOR SALE!! Check it out right here!

Interior Design Mantras learned over the years

(7) Use down pillow inserts for decorative pillows. Now, I know several people would fight me on this because they do tend to leak feathers over time, but pillows with down inserts (like these!) just look so much more high-end and well-made! They elevate your space effortlessly. Also: quick tip! If you like your throw pillows to be a bit fuller, order a pillow insert one inch larger than your pillow cover. If you order a 22″ pillow cover off of, say, west elm, consider ordering a 23″ pillow form (or insert) so that when you stuff it inside, you’ve got a really full, inviting pillow!

Interior Design Mantras learned over the years

(8) The better made your upholstery is, the longer it’s going to last. Why buy a $2,000 sofa from a nicer furniture store when you could just get a $400 one from a furniture store that is not as nice? Because, QUALITY. You get what you pay for. If you purchase a sofa made with shoddy materials, stuffed with who-knows-what, made by machines that do not go back and check their work because they are, well, machines, then your sofa is not going to hold up very long at all. Particularly if it is going in your family room or a room you use often. A well-made sofa is something that can last almost a lifetime. And if it does break, if it was made by a reputable brand, and purchased from a reputable store (plugging SummerHouse here!), then you likely will not have to handle any of the hassle involved with making a claim and getting a fixed (or in some cases, new!) piece because of a defect. When sofa frames are hand-made, they are going to hold up better. When a sofa cushion is made with the best materials, you won’t see a big dip on the cushion after 6 months of sitting on it every night. And if you do, if it’s from said reputable company, it’s probably under warranty. And the reputable shop you purchased through will take the necessary steps to get you taken care of so you don’t have to fool with it! You’re not only paying for a nicer sofa, you’re paying for excellent customer service behind it. Just make wise fabric selections (like an indoor/outdoor fabric or a micro fiber) that are easily cleanable and you’ll be able to enjoy that sofa for yearrrs and years!

(9) Remember, great design is a PROCESS. Just because you have an empty room doesn’t mean you have to fill it up this weekend with a bunch of stuff. Be selective. Do your research. Buy what you feel will represent your style for years to come, even if your style tends to change a little bit. Your home is a canvas that can be made into a gorgeous piece of art. And you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money doing it. Just be wise and thoughtful about your purchases and your home will be a little respite from the crazy world out there where you can enjoy fostering relationships and having those deep conversations. And making memories with those babies 🙂

Interior Design Mantras learned over the years

This brings me to the end of my design mantra list! I hope this was helpful and/or inspiring to you! I SO appreciate you taking the time to pop in. And please remember that I am not a designer! I just love interior design, have worked in the field for a decade now, and have learned a ton from being surrounded by talented designers. So my thoughts are just my thoughts for an ideal space. I, myself, have not implemented all of the things I’ve talked about just because you can’t do everything at once! This is simply my list of aspirations and goals when replacing, updating, etc.

You are lovely and your home is lovely and I hope you have a lovely day!! XO!


1 Comment

  1. Mandy September 24, 2019 / 8:59 pm

    I love all these tips! I’m in the market for a “throw away” rug for the nursery but I’m waiting on my custom drapes to get finished to make sure the colors all work together. I also just took a cover off a pillow I had on my front porch and realized the pillow is down pillow! :0 I can’t believe I had it outside!

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