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Transform Your Interior Design Skills: 10 Expert Tips for Instant Success

Let’s face it, getting a full interior design home makeover can feel overwhelming. The more you look, the bigger it grows. Budgets scream, paint swatches merge, and furniture choices turn into existential crises.

And, of course, you might not want ganz komplett sein, when a quick zhoosh is all that’s really needed. So, fear not, you don’t have to recreate the Palace of Versailles each time. There are plenty of small changes that can inject personality and polish into your abode, without needing a hefty bank account or
degree in feng shui. Here are my 10 quick and easy tips to unleash your inner design guru and quick fix any home: 

1. Declutter Like a Boss:

Imagine entering your home, not as a battlefield of belongings, but as a serene sanctuary. The first step towards this yin-yang is: declutter! Grab some bins and go for it – a task usually best enacted with a friend who likes to ask, “Why are you keeping that?”. Look at every single item and categorize into three bins:

Dump it, Flog it, Give it away. Does it spark joy? If not, thank it for its service and send it on its way.

Pro tip: Be ruthless. Less stuff equals more breathing room (and considerably less cleaning!). It doesn’t take long before you’ll see a change in the feeling of your space and get inspiration for what to do next.

Mountain Ash Kids' Room
Studio Hinton Mountain Ash Kids' Room

2. Light Up Your Life:

Let there be light! Lighting sets the mood, literally. Harsh overhead beams are great for cleaning, but for ambiance, layer softer options. Experiment with dimmers, table lamps, and floor lamps to create pockets of warmth and coziness.

Replacing wall sconces or pendant lights is an easy fix to interior design a room and doesn’t have to be expensive. There is lots of choice online for original, creative light fittings, both new and vintage, so have fun hunting out something stunning.

Pro tip: Changing lamp-bulbs from pure white to warm white can instantly change the whole feeling of a room without even having to lift a screwdriver. It’s also the perfect opportunity to change to energy-efficient bulbs and save some money on power.

Beautiful white furniture living room designed by Thomas Pheasant-Light by Ozone Light
Designed by Thomas Pheasant, Light by Ozone Light

3. Textile Transformation:

Textiles are the chameleons of your home. Swap out throws, cushions, pillows, blankets, and rugs for a quick refresh. Feeling bold – go for a vibrant splash of color in every room. Want something calming – opt for neutrals with textural variations. This simple switch is one of the easiest ways to completely change the feel of a room, with very little effort and without breaking the bank.

If you’re going to tackle the curtains, consider moving the pole. Relocating it as high as possible will make the room feel bigger with added verticals, and making the pole wider could give you more daylight when the curtains are drawn open.

Pro tip: Check out your local drapery shop (Stoffladen) for ends of rolls and old swatches. You can get
some absolute bargains of fabric to sew into scatter cushions.

Stone and Tile Studio Bathroom
By Stone and Tile Studio

4. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall:

You’ve decluttered and changed the lighting; does the room still feel a little cramped? You don’t need to knock a wall out – mirrors are your saviors! You can hang them strategically to reflect light and create an illusion of spaciousness. 

Place one opposite a window to capture natural light or use a strategically placed floor mirror to open up a narrow hallway. Tall mirrors give an illusion of height, wide mirrors create landscapes, a small mirror behind a candle will double the output and create a flickering reflection.

Pro tip: While the mirror creates the illusion of space, it’s the frame that gives you some wow! Adding an ornate or colorful frame can easily give you another dimension by turning the mirror into a feature work of art.

Entrance way with grand door and mirror
By Studio Hinton

5. Let Nature In:

One of the easiest tricks is to breathe life and calm into your space with the power of greenery. Living plants aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, they purify the air too. Start with low-maintenance options like succulents or snake plants. If you’re feeling adventurous go for something a little needier – everyone loves an orchid in bloom. 

Herbs on the kitchen windowsill will add a pop of color and a delicious bonus to your cooking. Bigger, statement plants add sculpture to a living room, or maybe a bonsai perfectly positioned as a focal point.

Pro tip: Don’t forget what’s outside the window. Placing an interesting shrub as an outside focal point makes the room inside feel bigger by drawing the perspective outwards.

Lost Lindenberg hotel dining room
Photo by Robert Rieger

6. Art Attack:

Walls are blank canvases waiting to tell your story. Show off your personality with artwork, photographs, or personal collections. Don’t be afraid to get creative or go big! Lean artwork on shelves, create a gallery wall with mismatched frames, or use decorative stands for sculptures or family heirlooms.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive oil painting; a framed piece of wallpaper or stretchered fabric can be equally as effective. Even a simple twisted piece of driftwood will add an impressive sculptural interest. Let your imagination run wild.

Pro tip: Big art with bold color will transform any drab room instantly.

Studio Hinton - Jardin Exotique - Monaco

7. Furniture Shuffle:

Sometimes all it needs is a rejig. Take a little time to rearrange what you already have. Moving furniture around can breathe new life into a space and improve traffic flow. Try swapping the sofa and armchairs, repositioning the dining table, or even simply rotating rugs. You might be surprised at how a new
arrangement can change the entire dynamic of a room.

Think about balancing the old and new. Too many modern pieces will look clinical, too much old furniture is like visiting your grandma. The easiest way to design a room that’s comfortable and practical is by mixing old and new. Play around with what you have – it’s costing nothing more than a bit of
physical exertion.

Pro tip: Old doesn’t have to mean expensive antique, it can be anything that makes you smile. A good balance in a room is around 50:50 old to new.

Project management
Sandra of Studio Hinton

8. Accessorize with Intention:

Less is more, remember? Instead of a cluttered sideboard, curate a few meaningful and beautiful objects. Things you really love. A vintage vase filled with fresh flowers, a stack of travel souvenirs, or a framed quote that inspires you – choose pieces that reflect your character and spark a little joy. It’s about showing your personality; and what makes you happy reflected in the feeling of the room.

If you like a clean, simple style, try accessories crafted from natural materials, such as wood, glass, or stone. These make a dramatic statement against a plain surface but remain tactile and soothing.

Pro tip: If you accessorize with color, repeat it on fabrics or other highlights in the room to create a subtle cohesion without drenching.

Echo Park
Studio Hinton Echo Park

9. Go wild in the bathroom:

You can easily transform a bathroom by picking a strong color and adding towels, accessories, mirrors, whatever is easy to place. Bathrooms are often a sterile canvas of practicality, so even the tiniest splash of color can have a big impact on ambience. Why shouldn’t a bathroom be just as enjoyable as the rest
of the house?

It’s a great place for a little nature as some houseplants thrive in the warm, moist atmosphere of a bathroom. A larger plant gives sculptural form breaking up the hard lines of tiles and screens and relaxes the mind.

Pro tip: Talk to your local plant specialist about what will grow best in your bathroom.

Swiss Design example 2 by Ina Rinderknecht
Swiss Design by Ina Rinderknecht

10. DIY Delight:

Unleash your inner artist with a quick DIY project! Paint picture frames a new color, reupholster an old chair with vibrant fabric, or create throw pillows with leftover scraps. Not only will you add a personal touch, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of creating something beautiful yourself.

Remember, these are just starting points!

Don’t be afraid to experiment, mix and match, and most importantly, have fun! Your home should be a reflection of you, a space that makes you feel happy, relaxed, and inspired. So go forth, unleash your inner design guru, and transform your home into a haven you love!

“An interior should be informed by the life that is lived in it.”
– Sandra Hinton, Founder –