I write about home decor for a living — 7 design tips I swear by

1. Go big with mirrors

One of my favorite tricks is the power of mirrors. I absolutely love using mirrors in my home, and the bigger the better. Mirrors are a great way to reflect the natural light across the room,  make a small room look bigger, and feel airy and more open. For effective results, lean a large mirror against a wall opposite a window so the light will bounce off it. In small spaces, opt for mirrors that go from floor to ceiling to maximise the light.

2. Buy the right-sized furniture for the space

Have you ever bought something for your home, only to find out that it's way too big (or small) for the room? That's why it's important to always check the dimensions of furniture before buying, and find a style that’s in proportion to the room. So if your space is too compact for a conventional, rectangular dining table, a circular table will take up less room.

3. Make use of vertical space

Furniture doesn’t always have to be spread out. Another top tip is to utilize vertical space — especially if you lack floor space or have a compact room. Depending on how strong your walls are, you can easily wall mount floating wall shelves, vertical cabinets, or clever storage units to free up valuable floor space. For home offices, hanging smaller things on wall-mounted rails can be handy, as you’ll have more desk space making it less cluttered. And for small bathrooms, wall-mounted storage is one of the things organized people keep in their bathrooms. Just don’t forget to check what’s behind the wall before you start drilling holes everywhere!

4. Layer your fabrics

There’s nothing better than coming back to a warm and relaxing home to snuggle in. And layering up with chunky throws, soft blankets and plush cushions on sofas and beds work well to achieve that cozy factor. In addition, it’s good to mix-and-match the textures and color scheme so that everything doesn’t look the same. You want to create an inviting feeling that is also aesthetically pleasing.

5. Conceal the clutter

When designing a space, we often forget about functionality, and practical storage solutions. To avoid cluttered spaces, conceal the clutter with multi-purpose furniture such as ottoman benches, blanket boxes or woven baskets. These are clever ways of hiding clutter, as well as doubling up as extra seating or a handy footstool for your guests.

6. Don’t overcrowd your walls

Whether it’s family photographs, abstract wall art, or stylish posters, pictures on the walls can add a personal touch. However, there is a danger of going overboard with the gallery wall — making your walls look like an eyesore. When learning ways to decorate a blank wall, it’s advisable to stick to the ‘odd number rule’ when displaying pictures. So rather than hanging in even numbers, stick to three or five on one wall, or even one large frame. This rule is considered to be more visually appealing, and looks less cluttered. If you want to hang two pictures side by side however, make sure the frames are identical, and hung at the same height. Although this should really be 57 inches, generally, pictures should be hung at eye-level.

7. Don’t go overboard with trends

If you follow decor trends on social media or TV shows, it can be easy to get carried away with buying things on impulse. By definition, trends come and go, and just because everyone is doing wood panelling, doesn’t mean it will look good in your home! Define your personal style, and keep your interior scheme simple and classy. After all, less is more! It’s always best to stick to neutral styles, tones or accessories, and incorporate bursts of bold color in soft furnishings, accessories or even lush houseplants. This way, you can change it up whenever you feel like it, or style your home according to the changing seasons.

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