Jillian Harris says: 'Throw away the design magazines!'

Sep 26, 2011 at 12:03 p.m. ET

Jillian Harris's job on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has taught her to focus on the personality of her clients and mold those traits into trendy home designs.

Designer profile

Jillian Harris is a critically acclaimed designer hailing from Peace River, Canada. You can see Jillian work her design magic on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. She has designed interiors for Cactus Club Café, Browns Restaurant & Bar, former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky and most recently designed the rail car interiors for the Rocky Mountaineer train.

"Of course for me personally, I have some design trends that I'm crazy about right now. Definitely textures: Navajo, ikat, marbleing. Tons of different colors and textures -- that's what I love.

Jillian Harris explains why the best design trend is one that reflects your personality

 >> Quick tip: Learn how to make clashing textures work together

If you were Jillian's client ...

When working with a client, Jillian tells us she aims to learn: Who are they? What makes them happy? What are their hobbies? Where were they born? What's their favorite place to travel? "Without overdoing it, [these questions help me] really bring their personality into the home."

"I always encourage people to throw away the design magazines. Don't make your house look like Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn. Make it look like you."

So even though we all have our favorite design styles, sometimes the best aesthetic is one that reflects who you are. "Throw away everything that you've learned, look in your closet and your soul, and think about what makes you happy. Design your house around that."

Finding the right balance

Sitting in Jillian's living room, she points out the small and subtle ways that she puts personal touches into her own home design.

"Behind me I've got this mural of all these different pieces of art on the wall." She turns the focus to a framed key that's from her first trip to New York. To create something similar for your own home, she suggests small items that hold sentimental value, like a key to your first home or a fish hook from when your grandpa used to take you fishing.

"It's little subtle details that can pass off as a genuine piece of art -- something that looks like it's so rare and so expensive that when people inquire about it, you've got a story that's all about you."

More from Jillian: Wallpaper puts a new face on design trends for fall