My Top 5 Interior Design SECRETS

Alright my friends - here you have it!  THE "ALL IN ONE" SECRET SPILLING POST that will help you the rest of your life! 

Hey, I had to write something to catch your attention!  Honestly, even though I have my degree in "Interior Design Technology", I have to say, the most practical design secrets I have learned have been from working hands on in the field.  So now, I'm going to share my TOP FIVE design secrets with YOU!

What we'll cover (and I bet you've been wondering about!) 

1.) How to know what size your area rug should be. 

2.) The best way to hang your curtains and place the rod.

3.) Painting tips and paint knowledge you can't live without.  
    (paint is a designers BFF - seriously!)

4.) Great ideas on gallery wall layouts.  

5.) How far you should hang your art over a sofa or console table.
     (and what size your art should be to look "right")

Area Rug Size

For area rugs, your goal would be to cover the ENTIRE living room furniture area but if that just isn't going to happen, the next best thing is to make sure that at least the front half of your furniture's feet are on the rug.  When the area rug is too small, it really does nothing to the space except clutter it. 

 The guide below shows OPTIMAL, GOOD and POOR examples. 

Decor Mentor

 Hanging your curtains

This picture is worth a million words :-)  Simply put the rod near the top of the ceiling (instead of right over your window frame) and elongate it enough so that the curtain frames the outside of the window instead of the window itself.  I always have a small sweep or puddle of drapery fabric on the floor, but the amount of fabric touching is up to you.  Remember though, in general, it HAS to touch the floor.....if it's a few inches off the ground it just looks like nerdy highwater pants.....we don't want nerdy pants :-) 

VOILA!  Your room will look bigger and more sophisticated in no time!


Painting Tips

PAINT IS YOUR FRIEND!  You can change a room from blah to WOW by simply applying a few coats of paint

When choosing a color from paint chips, pick your favorite and then choose the lighter and darker version of it also.  Colors look brighter on walls than tiny paint chips do.

Light, cool and pale colors RECEDE and make a room look larger. Dark, deep and warm colors EXPAND and make it look smaller.

Always paint TEST PATCHES!  Paint at least a 2'x2' area and not just in ONE spot but in a few different lighting situations.  Without doing this, choosing the perfect paint color is just guesswork.

If you want to paint multiple colors in corresponding rooms, just be sure use colors with a common undertone.  You can always use shades of the same color throughout your home for a subtle style change.

Eggshell sheen is the one I recommend.  It does well in higher traffic areas and yet it's not "shiny".  It IS true that using a matte finish will make the colors appear richer but if you have KIDS and a busy life, it's just hard to upkeep. :-)  Always use semi gloss or satin on trim.

You can see the full post of TIPS here 

Gallery Wall Layouts

This is a great reference for fantastic ideas on layouts you can hang your collection of pictures.  I SWEAR by the Wax Paper Method for hanging these large groups on your wall.  I did a friends wall with at least 20 frames and pulled it off beautiful by using that method.

My Own Gallery Wall Layout Work

Hanging Your Art Pieces

This next tip will MAKE or BREAK the overall feel of your room.  Believe me, this designer secret is VITAL (so pin this for future reference!)  

To create balance, your artwork (or grouping) should be at least 2/3 the length of the sofa.  Smaller than that will look odd, and if it goes over the edge of the sofa the artwork will overwhelm the furniture and won't create the right look.

This next issue comes up ALL the time.  I call it the "floating art" mistake :-) As a general rule (yes, there are some exceptions), the bottom of the art frame should start 8-10" inches above the top of your furniture.  Please, no floating art my friends - hee,hee.

More Simple Home Decor Tips

Also, if you have architectural features like door or window casings on the same wall that you are hanging the art,  try not to line up the height of the picture to the top of the molding.  Always adjust it an inch or two higher or lower.  Just believe me, it looks best that way ;-)

THERE ARE MY SECRETS MY FRIENDS (Wow, this post took a LONG TIME to write!)  I hope you save it as a reference so the next time you start decorating, you can pull off a designer look in no time! 

Interior Design Secrets


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  1. Love the curtain hanging tip. Now if only I could find someone to sew a band on my curtains so they will be long enough. I don't want to break any high-waisted nerd decor taboos! ;)

    1. hahaha! No nerd decor taboos :-) :-) I can't wait to see completed after pictures of your home.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful tips and reminders~

    1. That you Susan! It always means a lot to me when people comment :-)


Thank you for your comments! I read them ALL and appreciate them. If you are asking a question be sure and leave your email, it will help me be able to contact you if you need a response. :-)

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