Some people seem so effortlessly stylish that it’s hard to know where to even begin when picking their brains for design advice. Like, are they just born with it? Don’t worry though; I’ve done the hard work for you! I tracked down 16 creatives, influencers, and generally stylish people to gather their top tips for designing a beautiful home. The best part is that you can begin implementing many of these suggestions today and without breaking the bank. Get ready to be inspired—and to want to start redecorating, even if it’s with what you already have.
1. Layer your artwork
“Don’t feel the need to hang every single picture or painting,” blogger Kat Tanita explains. “I love the look of a few pieces hung and then a few layered and leaning on a console, dresser, nightstand, or shelf. This provides more dimension and makes the space look more inviting and less ‘done’.”
For the best display, try to vary the sizes, scales, and even frame finishes of each piece you choose to lean. You can also look for different kinds of works of art. Basically, all the same rules for balancing out a gallery wall display exist for these tableaus, too, albeit on a much smaller scale. What’s great is you can constantly change pieces out much easier (or even from room to room), since nothing is bolted down.
2. Just decant it
“Decant, decant, decant,” advises Brady Tolbert, creative director at Bobby Berk. “I’ve gotten in the habit of decanting as much as possible. It’s amazing how the ordinary and nondescript items that you use every day can become functional and beautiful, whether that’s the flour and sugar in your kitchen decanted into glass jars, the soap on your bathroom vanity into a dispenser, or even your cooking spices placed into little containers and used as a decorative piece behind the stove.”
The practical upside to the styling power of decanting? You can see everything you have in plain view, and you’ll always know when it’s time to replenish things.
3. Fill vases with cut greenery
“Use cut greenery instead of cut flowers to bring a longer lasting, fresh garden look indoors,” suggests blogger Colette Shelton. “Some cut greens, like ruscus, can last over a month and still look great.”
Shelton suggests placing stems around the house or using cut greenery as a centerpiece on a dining table. She loves arranging cuttings in both big urns and small bud vases.
4. Try this fun twist on drink tables
“In a living room, family room, or wherever you like to entertain, always make sure there is a place to set down a drink,” notes Sister Parish’s Eliza Harris. “I love to have friends and family over for coffee, and whenever I do, I make sure to pull out white garden stools that are normally tucked away underneath a console in the corner. This instantly makes the room more inviting by creating more comfortable places to sit and to rest one’s mug.”
Blogger Erin Kestenbaum echoes this suggestion. “You can never have too many garden stools,” she explains. “They double for indoor and outdoor use, can serve as extra seating in a pinch, and can easily float around any space.”
5. Make the everyday feel special
“Incorporate special or sentimental pieces into your everyday routine to give yourself a break from the mundane,” designer Shannon Claire Smith advises. “It really is all about the little things that make each moment feel special and stylish. Maybe it’s a vintage sugar dish that you touch each morning when making coffee or a hand-carved bowl that you picked up in your travels, and you now use to stash your keys, or even a thrifted silver tray that holds your perfume bottles on your vanity. Collecting and using things that make you smile will always be stylish.” Blogger Carla Bethany Hayden agrees. “Elevate the everyday by collecting vintage vessels to hold ordinary items,” says Hayden. “It makes it special and not so sterile.”
Blogger Oscar Bravo shares this philosophy as well, and he has some suggestions for the kitchen in particular. “Peel all the stickers off your fruit or take them out of their bags and display them in a beautiful bowl like a work of art,” he suggests. “Opt for biodegradable sponges that are a nice beige color. Those cost no more than their neon colored counterparts. Hide that bright blue dish soap in a beautiful dispenser that will look good by your kitchen sink.”
6. Sometimes less is more, when it comes to decor
“Don’t overcrowd your space,” advises Apron Saint’s Sarai Reed. “My mother once told me that whenever you get dressed to go out, you should look in the mirror and take off one accessory. This helps to make sure you don’t overdo it with your outfit. I like to apply the same principle to my home with regard to furniture.”
According to Reed, every blank spot doesn’t need an accent chair, plant, or another piece of decor. “Empty corners feel especially luxurious in a small home,” says Reed. “They are so deliciously minimal.”
7. Decorate with dried flowers
“I love keeping dried flowers in the house,” blogger Cara Irwin says. “It brings an essence of nature in without buying faux or spending money each week.”
Irwin’s favorite dried flowers include pampas grass, palm leaves, proteas, and banksia. She likes mixing them into arrangements and scattering them around her house. Another bonus? No need to put water in the vases!
8. Display your book collection
“Every room I have is filled with books,” says Instagrammer Brian Branton. “They are a great way to fill up empty spaces without looking cluttered, and they bring such character to a home.”
If you don’t have fancy built-in shelves, fake it ’til you make it with open shelving in a similar color to your walls. You can also introduce more sculptural bookcases to the mix, like the almost Sapien-style white designs flanking the television in the living room above. Colorize your books or arrange them by author or genre—pick whatever will work best for you.
9. Don’t forget the “three P’s”
“Pillows crave a partner—be sure to add at least two pillows when styling a bench or sofa,” blogger Stephanie Watkins suggests. She also has another axiom for achieving an effortlessly stylish look in a living room: “Use the ‘three P’s’ to finish a space, ” she says “Pillows, plants, and poufs!”
10. Hang pictures from your travels
“My partner Luke and I are big travelers, and I love to give our home a personal touch by blowing up photos from our travels, framing them, and hanging them on our walls,” designer Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski says. “My tip: Keep an eye out for magical moments or views that would work well hanging on a wall. We have an amazing picture of the limestone cliffs in Portugal’s Ponte de Piedade hanging above our sofa in the living room that feels abstract, textural, and cool.”
11. Bring back the accent wall
“I’m all about an accent wall, whether it’s in the form of a gallery wall, painted accent wall, or a wall filled with Binga baskets,” says blogger Dabito. “I love how much visual interest and personality it adds to a space!”
12. Treat Yourself to Fresh Flowers
Cut greenery and dried flowers are great options, but some stylish people are still all about fresh flowers, too. You don’t have to splurge on pricy blooms though. Blogger Alisa Bovino always gets her coffee and dining table bouquets from Trader Joe’s. “They’re so cheap—I can’t resist!” says Bovino. “I know it sounds cliche, but there’s nothing like fresh flowers to make your space feel more inviting and luxurious.”
Blogger Madison Hope Veitch agrees. “Adding something fresh to your space brings so much to a room,” she notes. “I love for my flowers to look like they were freshly picked, so my best tip is to use bunches of the same type of flower and put them in a vase. ”