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  • sonjac1978

Style your space like a professional interior designer!

You've seen design magazines, and you drool over how designers style rooms for photos.

There is definitely a trick to styling your rooms!

If you always wanted to style your space, but didn't know where to start, here are my top tips!

Home styling and accessorizing is one of the most important parts of interior design.

You've figured out your furniture, wall colors, even decorative pillows. Now you need to add final touches to create a homey feel...and you are lost as to where to start. Here are some pointers that work for me:

Use these are the basic rules:

The DO’s:

When you go shopping for accessories, buy A LOT more then you think you need. I tend to purchase about 100% more items than I will end up using. You want to bring home a lot of varieties, (different textures, shapes, sizes) because you can’t know what exactly will work in the space. Items will speak to you more once you style them inside your home. Something may seem perfect in the store, but will not work at all in your house. Once you start layering your décor, you want to add and subtract items as you go. Take a few hours break once you think you are finished, and come back to the styling a little later. You will see things from a different perspective, and may come up with a fresh idea.


Use color as your accent and try to match it as close as possible to an existing sofa fabric, wall color, pillows. If you can do that, your accessories will look like they belong in the space, not like they stand out awkwardly. Similar colors, closely matched to your main color choice, will truly pull the entire space together. I usually use only a few different colors when designing rooms and spaces, because color consistency means a space that creates visual peace and serenity.

How to style your space like a pro using color
How to style your space like a pro using color


In design world, usually when you see something styled, you will notice that items are displayed in odd numbers, one vase, three books, or ONE grouping (a vase, a book, a sphere).  You can use even numbers, but then you do, you have to play with height: For example, if you have two candle holders, you can use them on a mantle side by side, but the height variation in candle holders (or even different height candles) will help your eye dance through the space.

How to style your space like a pro using odd number system
How to style your space like a pro using odd number system

*Side note: Your design will look a lot more interesting when you mix opposites; low and high, thin and thick, square and round, polished and matte…


Usually achieved with plants or any textured item – like natural wood, shells, textured vase, and organic shapes. Variation of textures will create a nice layered design, so play with that. A rope, a moss, structural shape with a fun texture will also add interest!

How to style your space like a pro using texture
How to style your space like a pro using texture


I mentioned this before – when you mix different items in the same area – think height variation. This is easily achieved by purchasing multiple sizes (but similar in style) vases, or use a stack of books to use as height support. Two similar candle holders of different sizes, or 3 spheres that looks similar but have size, color, and style variation (but still look as a piece that was meant to be side by side) will give you a nice height variation and a nice interest in the space.

When playing with height, you want to start decorating with something big, tall, chunky, and substantial. Once you find your perfect piece, such as a large flower arrangement, a big tray, a ginger jar, etc, now work your decor from there. Start layering in smaller items, group different decorative pieces and play with placement. Don’t overthink it!

How to style your space like a pro using height variation
How to style your space like a pro using height variation

BALANCE: (Symmetry vs Asymmetry)

I personally think with décor, asymmetrical placement is more visually interesting. But when you are using this principle, the décor should always balance both sides – if you are styling a console, and one side has 3 smaller objects, use one larger one on the other side. You want to visually create a balanced look in size, color, shape. If you don't add proper sized items to one side, the 'visual weight' of the space may create an appearance of decor leaning to one side only.

*Side note: if you notice, I tend to stay away from adding too many decorative pieces. I keep things uncluttered, and I rarely style the center of the table, console, or wall. I like to add items to left and right, and use the center as the only focal feature with a mirror or a picture frame.

How to style your space like a pro using height variation, color, balance, texture
How to style your space like a pro using height variation, color, balance, texture

But there are examples when symmetry should be employed. For example, I recently had a question about styling a tall wooden fireplace mantle. The wooden wall was quite tall and it had a symmetrical design – in that case, symmetry would be more appropriate because your styling would follow the existing design element – which was already symmetrical. When styling, your space is truly there to guide you.

Symmetrical placement is also a bit more traditional to me, so that kind of styling would work nicely in a more elegant, traditional home.

There are designers that like to use juxtaposition in a space, but for me, that doesn’t always work. I like to work with existing shapes and continue the repetition of elements for a cohesive look. When using juxtaposition, I think that has to be really thought out so that the final styling looks balanced, and not awkward.

The DON’Ts

Don’t over clutter items. No matter how much you love that bowl of fruit, or those cute little trees, or those 5 candle holders, rethink the space. Clear things out and start from scratch. In styling, I believe this principle always applies: Less is More! Your console/mantle/table can look over crowded very quickly, and visually lose interest.

Don’t use TOO many colors. A pop of color or two to bring consistency to the space will work nicely, but every item in the same color (or too many colors) will look wrong.

Too small items – if your space is large (a wall, a mantle, a table) don’t dwarf items with tiny little-itty-bitty pieces. Start large, and work the scale down from there.

Too big items - same idea, when the item is too big for the space, everything else will look proportionally wrong.

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