Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...
Home design doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it really shouldn't be stressful at all. The key is to decorate with your personality in mind and stick to simple updates that are both stylish and functional. Not sure where to start? We're here to help.
To learn more we caught up with Kim Myles, TV host and Apartment Guide design expert, to get her thoughts on simple, affordable home design. The winner of season two of HGTV's Design Star has been drawn to interior design since she was 12. "I got a back issue of Architectural Digest from my uncle and it blew my mind. I was startled into amazement — I redesigned my bedroom that week."
Right now though, her inspiration comes from a much more practical place. "I'm really inspired by the renter. I actually just sold my home two weeks ago so that's what inspiring me — the plight of the renter," she says. "I want to provide tools, tricks and ideas for the renter who wants their space to look great, but who doesn't want to invest a ton. There's a whole tribe of us out there."
Home decor made easy
A lot of people don't necessarily need a designer for what they want to do but might still be stumped on where to start. "It's a huge challenge — how to you create change without investing money," affirms Myles. But making it happen is easier than you think. "My message is really to empower. You don't need to hire a designer to live beautifully."
She shares some simple ways to make a change that anyone can tackle.
While this might not be the most exciting home accent, area rugs are a great way to add texture and color to your home on the cheap. Even if you're renting and dealing with wall-to-wall carpeting, you can easily put an area rug on top of the carpeting to add depth and update the space, says Myles. "There are rugs out there at every price point, and they offer a fast, easy way to get a huge injection of color and texture. It's not sexy, but it's functional."
Storage space is a huge issue for people, especially in urban areas. One way to deal with the lack of space is to incorporate dividing screens into your decor. "I'm a huge fan of folding screens, and they also come at a lot of price points," says Myles. "Mine is pretty, but behind it are my bicycles. They're hiding in plain sight," she adds. "It's a simple design trick but it works hard for you."
if you can't figure out how to make a space look fabulous, use three shades of the same color in one room, says Myles. Pick one color and layer that space in multiple hues of the same color, for example chartreuse, moss green and dark green. "The trick is to make sure you have three levels — dark, medium and light," she explains. "It looks really cohesive."
One of the easiest ways to update your space is by switching up your window dressing, advises Myles. She opts for flowing, lightweight curtains in the summer; heavier velvet curtains in the winter; and adds floral or patterned curtains when she feels like refreshing the room in between seasons.
DIY wall art
Have a large expanse of space but don't know what to do with it? Create a simple, colorful piece of wall art. Pick up a piece of painters' canvas (4 feet x 4 feet) and either wrap it in a gorgeous piece of fabric (you'd need about 1.5 yards) or paint the canvas in a color you love. Then hang it for an eye-catching and affordable piece of decor, suggests Myers.
Use things you already have to update your space, or pick up thrift store items and give them a facelift, suggests Myles. "People are really feeling like they have the ability to upcycle," she says. Whether you repaint a chair or end table in a bold color, or reupholster a chair you picked up at a garage sale, the possibilities are endless. Case in point: Myles recently found a tabletop on the side of the road (no legs) and went to work turning it into a focal point. She got table legs from IKEA and used her inlay stencil kit to add interest to the piece and the whole project cost only $40.
Her last bit of advice: "Let go of idea that has to look like magazine spread — live comfortably and live surrounded by things you love."
Watch: How to decorate with recycled items
Learn how to reuse items when decorating. This can be both green and budget friendly. On SheKnows.com How To, we learn the art of using off-the-wall items to give your space that extra pop.