How to Think Like an Interior Designer

There’s both an art and a science to good interior design.

Inside a textbook, for instance, you can find the science – theories on color, the proper height of a nightstand, and how to execute a project in general.

Ask a designer about some of their work, and they can likely tell you the hard data – the science – backing their choices.

But if science is the body of interior design, art is the soul.

Art is the part of design that you don’t just know, you feel. And luckily, art is where the rest of us can really flourish.

Because the truth is, not many of us have, or plan on, taking the deep dive into the technical side of design. We want to make our homes beautiful, but we generally do so from our hearts, and not from textbooks.

But again, good designers use both. So today, we are running through a few tips that will leave you feeling like a real pro. It’s from there, you can let the artist in you shine.

Pick a Style

Short of intentionally eclectic looks, most well-designed homes have a central theme. If not the entire house, then at least room-by-room themes.

If you’re unsure of what style really means, think about what you tend to wear. Chances are, you have a particular style. Even more likely, is that your style is a reflection of personality, values, or character.

Do this with your home! What style best reflects who you are? Elegant? Rustic? Contemporary? Serious? Playful?

Sometimes the best way to find out is to search for inspiration, and see what resonates with you. Nowadays, the sources for this are nearly limitless.

Once you have a rough idea of your style, you can begin to map out the elements, textures, colors, patterns, and anything else you might be inspired to include in your home.


Color will often go hand-in-hand with style, but not always. Here, it’s up to you to decide which elements of your home will show off colors, and which will be more neutral.

There are a lot of options, including, but certainly not limited to: Walls; Furniture; Rugs; Artwork; Decor; Throw Pillows.

With color, there’s a helpful guideline to follow known as the rule of three. Here’s how it works: 1) Choose a dominant color for walls and/or carpeting, 2) Then, a secondary color for fabrics and smaller accessories, 3) Finally, an accent color used to add a subtle flair.

When deciding on your three, you’re essentially building a color palette for your home. The goal is to have these colors work well together. But don’t get overwhelmed by this – you may just know it when you see it. Again, finding inspiration is key.

Check out Colormind for an incredible AI-powered color palette generator.

Patterns and Texture

Similar to color, patterns and texture are best thought about on a more limited scale. Too few, the look can lack depth and character. Too many, and it becomes overwhelming.

There is no hard and fast rule for pattern and texture, but we encourage you to think about how they both play off of color.

Try making your own mood board – mood boards are widely used by interior designers to create a well-rounded sample of the finished room.

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