Ask A Designer: How Do I Pull It All Together?

Elizabeth Burns Design | Ask a Designer - How Do I Pull It All Together? DIY Interior Design

A few weeks ago a sweet reader (hi Jayne!) emailed me with the following question:

"How do you learn to pull all the ideas you have for say a living room and make it look good?"

This actually comes up a lot and I think it is something that many people struggle with and for good reason. It's kind of freaking hard. Here is what I shared with Jayne. I hope you find this helpful too!

Honestly, pulling it all together takes some trial and error. I wish there was a magic formula I could share with you, but unfortunately, I haven't found one - yet. ;)

One huge thing that has helped me is to create quick inspiration boards to preview how all of the furniture, decor, and colors will all work together. This way, I can create an idea of how the room will look. If something sticks out to me as not going well (say the paint color you had in mind is clashing with a rug you already own) you can start looking for other options before the new paint is on the walls. Here is an example of an inspiration board I created for our dining room.

Another trick I use is to find an item I really love and design around it. If you have a fabric that you are really excited about, try pulling colors out of that fabric. Bring it with you when you are shopping for other items to make sure it goes with future purchases.

Lastly, sometimes items just don't work out for one reason or another. I'm not sure if you are familiar with Candace Olsen's TV show, but she is an experienced, well-known interior designer. On one of her episodes, I saw that on installation day she had brought multiple rug options. She wanted to see each one in the space before deciding. I will often buy something (usually from Target or HomeGoods so it is easily returnable) and bring it home to see how I like it in my room. Maybe the scale is off or the color clashes with your sofa. Having the option to return something is nice so that it takes a little bit of the pressure off!

Do you have an interior design question? Contact me and I will be happy to answer and feature it for other's to benefit from as well!