One of the reasons I started Home by Hayley was because I really, really enjoyed making our home feel like it was truly ours. Aside from pride of ownership, we spend a lot of time in our home so, naturally, it should be a direct reflection of us – and vice versa. I’m a firm believer that our environment not only shapes who we are but how we feel and our overall well-being. I might be starting to sound a little crazy for some of our followers but just hear me out. Colors, lighting, spaciousness, and textures all enhance certain emotions just as being in a crowded, loud, dimly-lit room can make certain people feel claustrophobic or as a fluffy rug brings on the feeling of comfort and relaxation.
Quite frequently I am asked, “How do you design your home? What do you use as inspiration?” – and it’s always a tough question to answer. Here’s the short answer – I can usually step into a room, close my eyes, and start to envision the way I want the room to look, the way I want to feel and the colors, shapes, and textures I want to be surrounded by when I’m relaxing with my family in the living room or getting ready for the day in the bathroom. While I am aware that this answer is not helpful to those who don’t have a sixth sense for design, here are a few tips that will help make your home feel effortlessly beautiful:
I know, I know – symmetry was a tough habit for me to break too. But I am so glad I did! Here is a good example. I was putting together a vignette for my entryway table. I had the corbel table idea stuck in my head since the first time I envisioned the space. What I decorated the table with was another story – and it took me a few rounds of styling to find contentment.
I knew I had plenty of decorations stashed away in our office closet to fill the table (this is a hint at tip #5!) so I pulled a bunch of them out. My first attempt was what you see in picture one. The symmetry almost makes me anxious and as it feels entirely too methodical. Photo #2, however, is a great way to showcase asymmetrical balance. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, but it is also less likely to get boring over time.
2. Odd Numbers
Like symmetry, our brains are hard-wired to prefer even numbers. Even numbers are just easier to digest – everything has a match, there are four sides to a square, etc. I promise your brain will love odd numbers too. Instead of placing two items on the shelf, try three. When buying decorations, skip pairs and buy an odd number instead. Even numbers feel less forced and bring out that effortless style that will catch the eye.
3. Heights & Layers
This tip is something I’ve been really trying to pin down – it’s also the reason I bought a nine-foot Christmas tree at the end of the year (Sorry, hubs!). This is a simple concept but sometimes it’s not an obvious solution. I’m sure we’ve all been to the point in decorating our homes where we feel stuck. You know – the feeling when you sort of like the decorations, but you aren’t sure what’s missing. Hint: it’s usually varying heights!
I completely upgraded our Christmas décor this year by adding a beautiful, handmade, wooden box instead of a tree skirt. I hung handmade signs that matched our neutral color scheme but still had a hint of the holidays. I loved each piece individually but there was just one thing missing that I couldn't put my finger on. Then, in mid-December, my husband and I were standing in the kitchen looking out into our living room. The Christmas tree, the TV, the decorations on the mantel, and the wall hangings were all at the same exact height (hence the new, nine-foot tree) and it was difficult for the eye to flow across the room. I can’t wait to see what the new, taller tree adds to our space next holiday season.
If you get stuck, add varying heights. This simple optical illusion will help draw your eye to different parts of the room. Like varying heights, layers can also add depth that was lacking beforehand. Just as you want the different heights of your furniture to draw your eye across the room, you also need the varying depths of décor to make it feel like a substantial display.
4. Mix It Up (within reason)
I’ll admit – this one is more difficult to those who lack a creative mind. It’s one of my favorite ways to play up a room and it can be simple too! There is no rule about what textures, colors, or decorations fit within a certain style. Just because you might have a farmhouse theme, you don’t have to shy from adding in modern furniture. You might have a room full of modern furniture with hard, clean lines but that doesn’t mean you can’t add in pillows with lots of texture and varying fabrics. Another easy way to mix it up is to use items you already have for reasons other than what they were created for. This is as simple as using a vintage wooden crate as a planter, using an old table number to add depth to a tray (see photo to the left) or hanging old door knobs in place of a coat rack.
5. You Never Know
This tip might drive your significant other crazy just as it did mine. However, it has also given me free-reign to design the entire house because of how much my husband has enjoyed the way our home is designed so far (and we’re only half way there!). This tip is simple – pick up decorations or pieces you love even if you don’t have a place for it yet. It doesn’t matter how inexpensive the item is or how silly it might seem at the time – you just never know when you’ll find a place for it. I love to browse the closeout sale aisles of home décor stores. I will often find certain pieces for only a few dollars that I will bring home and stash away in storage until we are designing our next room. I often pull out one small item from our stash that just makes the whole room feel complete (and it’s happened many times).
Are you stuck mid-design in a room of your home? Give these a try. If you’re still stuck, reach out! We love to help our followers when they’re in need of a second set of eyes. We also love to create custom pieces and would be happy to help you on your next project.
Dog Mom. Wife. Cold brew connoisseur.