Having worked on countless design projects, Queer Eye makeovers, and home renovations, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes for a room to truly come together. And while there are lots of components that create a well-designed space, there are a few key things you should be thinking about before embarking on your own home. From where to start, to what items have the biggest impact, to where to spend (and save), I’m sharing all my top tips for creating your own stylish space.
Whether you’re tacking a top to bottom renovation or just sprucing up a room or two, these tips will take you in the right direction (and towards the well-designed home you’ve always dreamed of.) So take note, and put these practical tips into practice – and enjoy a stylish new space with a little help from Bobby.
Keep scrolling to see 8 of Bobby’s best design tips – and learn how to incorporate them into your own home.
Want even more design ideas? Be sure to check out The Number #1 Thing Bobby Recommends You Do In Your Home and The Dos And Dont’s Of Styling Bookshelves: Bobby’s 4 Easy Tips.
1. Take Time To Plan
The difference between a room that really works and one that’s just a little bit off? Planning. Taking time to think about the layout of a room, the overall feel, and the furnishings – before making any purchases- is really an essential part of any successful design. Start by pulling inspiration and then begin to build your room with larger pieces and all your colors and materials. You’ll then have a direction – and can easily add in accessories, art, and the finishing touches.
Many design apps and websites allow you to preview an item in your space (virtually) before purchasing – saving you the hassle of trying it out and returning it if it’s not right.
2. Think Of Your Space As A Whole
The overall feel of a room isn’t just created by what you place in it – it’s also about how those elements all work together. That’s why It always pays off to have a holistic approach when designing a room. Instead of only thinking “Does that lamp look good on that table?” ask yourself “Does that lamp look good in the room?” Getting too focused on bits and pieces of a space means you can miss out on the overall balance and connection every room craves.
3. Invest In Pieces You Love
Creating a stylish space (that you also enjoy spending time in) means filling it with pieces you really love. So consider a more expensive piece that really sparks joy an investment in your home and your happiness. More impactful pieces like lighting, furniture, stone, and tile are the best options for investing (and the ones you will really see and appreciate in your space).
See what pieces you should invest in while in your 20s, 30s, and 40s HERE.
4. When I Doubt, Tape It Out
Even the best-looking sofa, table, or art isn’t going to work in a space if it’s not the right size. So if you’re uncertain whether a piece is going to fit, just follow my motto: When in doubt, tape it out. Tape the length and width of a piece directly on the floor or wall, and you’ll have a much better idea if it’s appropriately sized for your space.
Always have a roll of blue painter’s tape on hand. It can be applied to almost any surface and easily removed without any residue.
5. Pull In Pattern & Texture
To keep a from feeling totally one-dimensional (and lacking in interest) be sure to pull in plenty of pattern and texture. These elements are what really give a space that special visual appeal – and create the depth that makes a design come to life. Wallpaper, pillows, artwork, or accesories are all prime ways to punch up the pattern or take on texture in any room of the house.
When mixing patterns, be sure to vary the scale to keep things from feeling overwhelming. Balance a larger pattern with a smaller scale (and some solids) for the optimal mix.
6. Start With The Larger Pieces
Bigger is better when it comes to where you should start with design. Consider larger pieces of furniture and rugs the “anchors” of the room – and the pieces you should be selecting first. Once you’ve chosen those grounding elements, it’s easier to build the rest of the room and layer in those finishing touches.
7. Use Paint To Lighten Things Up
A room that’s lacking in natural light can be a real challenge. But never underestimate the power of paint. A windowless bathroom or darker living room can get a real boost from a brightening coat of white or any warm shade. Paint can also help make a room feel larger, a ceiling higher, or even create architectural interest.
Be sure to apply a few samples of paint in a room – and review them at different times of day – before deciding on the right shade.
8. Consider Classic Items
Certain design pieces have plenty of staying power – and will never go out of style. So if you’re not sure about a material or piece, going classic is always a smart option. Simple white subway tile, brass hardware, oak flooring, or a classic roll arm sofa are all easy options- that will look good for years to come.