DIY Interior Designer Tips

Earlier this year I posted about Why You Shouldn’t Hire an Interior Designer and it was one of my most popular blog posts ever! I am glad that it gave clarity to folks who are thinking about working with a designer, but I realized I didn’t offer solutions for those that do want to DIY.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

I can’t tell you how many times that I have someone ask me about adding a piece of furniture to their home. My first question is always, “have you measured the space?” Nine times out of ten they meet my question with a blank stare and a confused ‘no.’ This is the most important step of anything that you are doing to your home. If you’re adding or rearranging furnishings, it is crucial to know the measurements of your room to appropriately space plan. If you’re hanging art or window treatments, you need to know the size of the wall. Not just the perimeter of the room, but the location of electrical components, windows, doors, and any other architectural elements. Note the ceiling height and the window height so you can purchase window treatments that work! The essential tools that I always have on hand are a laser measure (for quickly measuring long distances), painter’s tape (for marking out furniture/art placement), and a good sturdy tape measure.

Mix It Up!

Images by Amber Robinson | Raleigh Wedding Photographer | 6333 E

The key to getting a designer look is to create an unexpected mix. Anyone can walk into a retail store and grab everything that “matches.” But it takes an elevated eye to be able to pull together pieces that just GO together. Challenge yourself to find one inspiration piece and select items that complement that without being an identical max in hue or texture. Layer textures and patterns in a way that feels good to you without fear! There really are no rules to design, it’s just a matter of finding your own style.

Dress your home in the same way you dress yourself! What works well for you is what is best.
— Niki McNeill

Edit, Edit, Edit

Very few people can live in a truly “maximalist” environment. There is a reason why the phrase “less is more” is so popular! Our brains naturally need a moment to rest, and negative space in a room provides that. I know it seems like I’m contradicting myself because I just told you to layer up the color and pattern, but there is a process. Add in as much as you think you want in your room. Leave it all in there, and then walk away. When you come back into the room, I promise there will be 2-3 elements that you realize are just extra and need to be removed. Editing your decor is key to making your space feel intentional and collected rather than cluttered and chaotic.

I hope these tips help you get started on your on DIY decorating project! If you are realizing that you need assistance with your decor, let’s schedule a time to chat about it!


Interior Designer living & loving in Raleigh, NC.