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How to make your home look more ‘designer’

For those who are sick of their homes looking a little lacklustre, or a bit last-century, we’re here with advice on how to rejuvenate your interiors and give them an Instagram-worthy, designer edge.
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Surely it can’t be possible for those high-end homes you see in magazines to exist in real life? We show you they can, and share some industry secrets on how to get that designer look in your home without the designer price tag.

For any self-confessed interior design enthusiast, the best part of being invited to someone else’s home is the chance to check out how they like to decorate. As you sip your welcome drink with a face that says “I’m listening”, your eyes secretly dart to the art on their wall, the interesting sculptures on their shelves, and their choice of effortlessly chic scatter cushions on the couch. But quite often we’re left wondering just how they manage to get their home looking so stylish when we know they don’t have the cash to splash on designer goods.

Don’t worry, we’re here to tell you how.


It’s all in the planning

Step one to getting your home looking designer-expensive without splurging the pennies is by approaching the project like a professional interior designer.

One of the first things interior designers do when they begin a redecorating project is to soak up as much inspiration as they possibly can. As your first step, create mood boards that reflect the type of aesthetic you’d ideally like to see in your home. Find high-end homes you love, hone-in on decorative elements that will work well in your home, and jot down the names of brands and designs you find most inspiring.

As you work, keep in mind that the ultimate aim here isn’t to create exact copies of what you find. Your mood boards will simply act as a springboard to help inspire ideas, a useful anchor to prevent you from veering too far from the overall aesthetic you’ve settled on. Once your mood boards are finished, you’ll have a coherent and stylish design theme that you can refer back to as you decorate.

Pro Tip: If you’d like to keep the same base colour throughout your home, you’re pretty safe doing so without the risk of it feeling boring or dull. But make sure to switch up the second neutral base and accent colours for each room. It’ll help create a unique personality for each room, and prevent your home from feeling too one-dimensional.

Make a statement

Keep your home from giving off the faint scent of a newbie designer by reducing the number of small, fiddly pieces of furniture that can leave a room feeling flat and unorganised.

Instead, decorate with intentionality in mind. You’ve probably noticed in those many snaps of designer homes you’ve devoured that each room looks pristinely decorated, with every feature and decorative touch making sense within the room.

Similarly, every single piece you pick for your home must make sense in relation to what’s already there, and the overall aesthetic you’re going for. For each piece you’d like to buy for your home, consider whether it will fit in with the mood board you’ve created, or the colour palette you’ve decided on. If it doesn’t pass the test, it doesn’t go in your home.

For those of us who actually are newbie designers, the easiest way to fake intentionality is by introducing statement furniture pieces into your home and working around them. Now’s the time to invest a little extra cash in your redecoration project. While we’re still aiming for designer style at well-below-designer prices, investing in beautiful, classic and designed-focused items for the larger pieces in every room will help draw the eye and create a focus point to decorate around.

Pro Tip: As well as investing in your bed, display cabinets, kitchen islands and sofas, you can also consider vibrant art, elaborate pendant lights, room-filling rugs and large sculptures as statement pieces. Again, make sure they work with the rest of the room by sticking close tothe colour palette – whether you go complementary or create a stylish contrast.

Put on a display

After devouring countless images of perfect high-end homes, you’ve come to a rather drastic conclusion: you simply can’t hope to have a designer-style home with all this stuff that’s cluttering it up.

But before you give up on your designer home dream, we might have a way for you to make full use of those random items. Turn that spare candle holder, collection of pebbles, holiday souvenirs, and even your TV remotes into a picturesque focal point by incorporating them into a display vignette.

Display vignettes are groups of complementary items arranged decoratively and thoughtfullytogether. Find an intricate tray, a stylish bowl or a pretty basket and group together similar pieces in little vistas that make the most beautiful Instagram mini-moments. While solving that age-old problem of too much clutter, display vignettes become an intentional design feature you’d be proud to showcase on social.

Pro Tip: If you need a helping hand to get started, stylish display cabinets can do most of the work for you. Cabinets like the solid oak Corndell Somerset Display Cabinet allow you to show off your decorating skills within a restrained space, while the drawers at the bottom give you space to hide any items you simply can’t find a proper place for.

Fine-tune the details

Our tips so far should have your home well on the way to gaining a designer-worthy edge.Put the cherry on your designer-inspired cake with these final tips:

  • How to fake expensive: Introduce expensive-feeling fabrics and interesting textures to make your home look expensive without splashing the cash. Incorporating a variety of woods, metals,glass, textiles and leathers gives your home’s interiors more substance and depth, and the impression that it’s been professionally decorated. When it comes to metallics, going for muted or brass metals brings a luxurious vintage touch that screams designer style.
  • Go large or go home: An iconic feature of designer homes is large-scale art pieces on the wall. Adorn yours with some inexpensive yet impressive art by hitting a couple of charity shops or finding a local artist. Think of yourself as quite the photographer? Why not get one of your very own snaps printed up large instead?
  • Add some life: Nothing says you’ve got your interior design nailed than fresh flowers in every room. Floral arrangements and live plants help give the impression that an interior decorator’s had a hand in designing your home, and also help brighten up and enliven the space.

It can be reassuringly easy to make your home look like it’s been styled by a professional. Design with purpose and intentionality, think carefully about key investment pieces and keep your home as decluttered as you possibly can, and you too can have the home you’ve always wanted. A word of warning though: As soon you debut your newly-decorated, magazine-worthy home, you’ll need to figure out how to handle those countless messages from friends attempting to sweet-talk their way into checking out your abode. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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