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Interior design experts’ favorite tips

Décor savvy isn’t something most people possess. Those who lack it often struggle to make even the simplest decisions about their home’s “look.” If you consider yourself one of these people and need a crash course in décor fundamentals, you’re in luck!

Interior Design Expert Tips

We chatted with interior design experts across the nation and gathered their favorite décor tips into this helpful guide. You’ll find advice on everything from paint, lighting, furnishings, and more!


“Sometimes the most daunting task of choosing a new paint color for your home is simply deciding where to begin. I often ask clients to select a few favorite pieces of clothing or jewelry to tap into what they already own and love as a springboard for color ideas,” says Joe Higgins, an interior designer with Karlson Kitchens.


“If you have overhead lighting—track, recessed, or hanging fixtures—do not forget to include ambient and task lighting, such as table lamps and floor lamps, as well. Overhead lighting is not always flattering and can be harsh on the eyes. You can tweak and adjust your room’s atmosphere far better by using lamps on various settings,” explains Keith Lichtman, KL Interiors.


“Adding molding, wainscoting, and beefy trims creates instant detail and architecture to an otherwise bland space. Crown molding also adds height to ceilings,” says Lori Gilder, president and founder of Interior Makeovers, Inc. “You can save on the cost by enlisting the help of knowledgeable friends or a handyman. Use chair rails to divide walls in your dining room or down the hallway. Then grab some of your favorite paint colors and get creative.”


Michael C. Morris, owner of M. Crisler Designs, says, “Inspiration can come from anywhere. All you have to do is open your eyes. Don’t try so hard and over think the design. Inspiration can be a color. Inspiration can be a page that you tore out of a magazine. Inspiration can be a piece of fabric or even something as quirky as a picture that you took with your camera phone of a window display. The main goal is to represent who you are in your design.”


“Cover the TV when not in use. When a TV is off, its cold blackness can suck the life out of a room, unless it’s cleverly hidden by a versatile furniture piece, disguised as a piece of art, or even covered with an attractive cloth. At first, this might seem strange, but it’s becoming a trend with design-conscious people who’d like to reclaim their living rooms as places to actually live rather than simply watch television,” says Tess Whitehurst, Los Angeles-based feng shui consultant and author of “Magical Housekeeping: Simple Charms and Practical Tips for Creating a Harmonious Home.”


“My biggest tip for people would be to personalize their space. Too often, I go into homes and apartments that are bare, or look too much like a furniture catalog,” says Christine Schwalm, an interior designer and owner of Christine Schwalm Design. “For example, in my own apartment, I have a bowl on my coffee table full of baseballs from all of the different MLB stadiums I’ve travelled to with the date of my visit.”

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