Design for Amateurs: Your Guide to Style

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

iStock_000000226074XSmallCan you still design a chic room without being a designer? I recently stumbled upon this article by Pedro Arrais, Guidelines for Home Design: Helpful Suggestions From the Experts, that breaks down good design for amateurs.

He offers several simple design principles for sprucing up interiors that might inspire you for your listings — he covers everything from where to place the furniture and artwork to how to bring balance to a room.

Among the tips:

Don’t match everything. Instead mix your colors, fabrics, and textures in a room to add more visual interest and make it more memorable. Also, vary the height of the furniture.

Beware of neutral overload. We love to reach for the beiges and tans to make homes move-in ready but you can also risk it being too blah. Mix neutrals with some vibrant pops of color.

Create zones. For instance, “place furniture perpendicular to the main architectural element of a room — for example, a couch should face the fireplace or the window,” Arrais writes. “Fill in the rest of the space with armchairs or other furniture.”

Get the right picture. The best height to hang artwork is 5-feet or more off the floor. Then, it will be eye level for a person standing.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Linda

    Linda, here is something for you to view. Take a look at the couch and read the article. I know you don’t like green, but substitute turquoise for it.

    Take a look at the back wall – with the mirriors – cool.