Earlier this month on Instagram Stories, I asked you to submit any and all interior design questions you had for me. I answered a few questions on Instagram and wanted to share my responses to five more in today’s blog post.
In today’s post, I’m sharing my answers to your interior design questions, including how to add color to a neutral home, how to prioritize wants vs. needs, how to make open spaces feel cozy, and more.
1. I have a small home with white walls and neutral furniture. How do I add color in a thoughtful way?
This is when textiles are your best friend. I would first consider looking at rugs, to ground a neutral room with color. My favorite options are Swedish kilim rugs. (I shared twelve of my favorite places to shop for rugs in this blog post, if you’re curious about where to start your search!) I also love to take a block-printed quilt or throw and drape it over the back of a neutral sofa. It creates a lovely layered look.
Additionally, I’d consider bringing in color through a lighting option like a lamp. You could even test the waters in a small way by swapping out a lampshade you already have for a colorful version. If your style is more traditional, consider trying a patterned pleated lampshade. If it’s more modern, consider a colorful glass lampshade.
Lastly, I’d recommend bringing in a piece of art in a color palette you love. There are a lot of fun prints on sites like Society6, which is also an affordable way to experiment with bringing colorful art into your home.
There are so many wonderful ways to add color to a neutral space. Try one or two out for yourself and have fun with the process!
2. When is it a good idea to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls? We’re redoing our small but natural light-filled kitchen.
There’s no right or wrong answer in this scenario. It’s more about how you personally want the space to feel. Do you want it to feel more intimate, cozy, and separate from the rest of the house, or do you want it to feel tall and expansive? If the former, paint the ceiling! If the latter, leave it as is.
Should you want to define a space in a way that’s different from the rest of the rooms in your home, painting a ceiling can do this. Plus, if the color you’re using is more of a medium hue (rather than a really dark color), it’ll still feel like a bright space, particularly if it’s filled with natural light.
3. How do you prioritize wants vs. needs when spending money on a home?
Deciding how to prioritize home purchases is personal to every individual. It’s about knowing what you value most, understanding the lifespan of any given piece or material, and making choices that build upon your personal interior design style.
If there are a lot of things you want to purchase or projects you want to tackle, it might be difficult to prioritize everything in exact order. If this is the case, I find it helpful to focus on one thing at a time. Ask yourself, What matters most to me to update right now? What change will have the biggest impact on my life at home right now? Let that thing be the priority; when you check that off the list and have the budget for something else, you can decide on the next priority.
It’s about knowing what you value most, understanding the lifespan of any given piece or material, and making choices that build upon your personal interior design style.
Once you decide on your current priority and are trying to determine how much you want to spend, I think this is where it’s helpful to consider longevity. If you’re considering a kitchen remodel and are wondering whether you should start with a temporary makeover (e.g., painting the cabinets or switching out the hardware), consider the costs and timeline. If the cost of the temporary makeover isn’t very high and it would allow you to save up for the kitchen remodel you really want to do in a few years, it may be worth waiting and doing the temporary makeover first.
When it comes to smaller purchases like decor, it can also be helpful to have a general understanding of where you personally want to spend more money and where you want to spend less. I like to spend money on things I know I’ll have for a long time, like rugs and art, and less on things I may want to swap out with more regularity, like lamps and throw pillows.
4. What are your tips for designing a room around low, angled attic ceilings?
I love the idea of using the shorter areas in these kinds of rooms (where you’re not able to stand) as opportunities for storage. It could be as elaborate as hiring someone to install custom built-ins or it could be as simple as putting together cabinets from IKEA. If there’s room between the top of the cabinets and the angled ceiling, use it as an opportunity to display beautiful coffee table books or trinkets that speak to your personality.
I also love the idea of painting the walls, trim, and ceiling the same color in a room like this (or covering the walls and ceiling in the same small print wallpaper). I think this would make the space feel so cozy and inviting.
5. How do you make open spaces with high ceilings feel cozy? I live in a home built in the ‘90s with tan walls everywhere.
I would first consider the lighting in these spaces. If you have hanging light fixtures, I would recommend hanging them at a lower height than you might initially think to do. This would also be a great opportunity to bring in a fixture in a larger scale with a warm texture or shape (e.g., a globe light or a light with a rattan shade) that emits a softer glow. And don’t forget about lamps and task lighting to really up the cozy factor!
Next, I would think about layout. If the footprint of each space is large, consider ways to create smaller nooks within each room. Dividing up the space into multiple zones is one way to achieve a cozier atmosphere. In a family room, for instance, there could be an opportunity to create two or three individual nooks. Here are a few options: a sitting area, a reading nook with a plush chair and an ottoman, or a nook with a small cafe table and chairs.