Be a Fan of a Plan

A great interior starts with a plan. No planning = a hot mess (see above.) Start with these three questions to yourself:

Decision 1: What makes me comfortable?

Decision 2: What words describe me and my style?

Decision 3: What do I want to say about myself to my guests?

The kind of interior in which one person chooses to live can obviously be vastly different from someone else. Some friends of mine from the south have brought to their interior a sense of comfort, charm, and southern hospitality that is evident from the moment you step inside. Other friends of mine in Arizona prefer a sleek, modern interior with concrete floors, a neutral palette, and period pieces to match their mid-century modern home. While each of these couples have a different idea of comfort, good design crosses every stylistic boundary, and should be pleasing regardless of the specific style. If you think an interior just downright sucks, it probably does.

Most likely you’re going to have several answers to Decision 2 above. Don’t put yourself in a box, and don’t agonize over choosing one or two words to describe what you want. An eclectic mix of styles, furnishings, accessories, and artwork can be a very sophisticated look with the right planning. A contemporary sectional sofa can look great with the right antique. A French armchair pairs fabulously with modern art; and great traditional crown and wall moldings shouldn’t limit you to a strictly traditional interior. Mix it up a little… You might end up with something much more “you.”

Once you’ve answered these questions, get some inspiration! Flip through some magazines and books. Interior design magazines are a great place to start, but check out the latest fashion magazines too. You might be surprised how a spread in Vogue can inspire a color scheme and an overall mood for your space.

What do you want to silently say to your guests when they visit? Examples of what your home should not say to your guests:

“I like to collect Precious Moments figurines and display them everywhere.”
Attention reader: Less is more when it comes to tchotchkies, and I do mean a LOT less. Don’t look like you’re addicted to garage sales.

“Don’t sit down anywhere. You’ll probably mess up the throw pillows and you know how particular I am…oh yeah and don’t touch anything either.”
Your home should be inviting, and not make your guests feel uncomfortable or scared they’re going to mess something up. If I spill my martini, I need it to not be a big deal.

“I really like color, so I decided to use all of them.”
This is not the kind of planning I’m talking about. I don’t want a seizure as I walk through your house.

Proper planning does not mean that you can’t accumulate things over time that you love. In fact, I encourage it. Having a plan from the beginning will prevent you from choosing something that is too big, too small, the wrong color, etc. A well-planned interior is an absolute necessity for a great space.