Designer Tricks of The Trade | Ideas To Inspire

Designer Tricks OF The Trade

Have you ever wanted to know what tricks designers use to create unique rooms?  Well, today is your lucky day.  I’m sharing TEN designer tricks that you can easily incorporate into your own home to get a custom look with your decor.

Some of the ideas require a little DIY, the others are quick, easy and affordable decorating ideas.





Did you know that some rugs are designed with a defined pattern on each side?  That’s like getting two rugs for the price of one. Rugs with two usable sides are great because with a quick flip of the rug you can change the look of your decor.  The next time you’re rug shopping check the back side and see if it has a usable pattern.

tip:  pay attention to the weave and feel of the back side to make sure you like it

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Reversible Rugs


The same ‘reverse’ trick works with some fabrics too.  Designer Jamie Meares used the reverse side of this dot fabric as the welt providing the perfect contrast to give the chair a real designer touch.

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Reversible Fabric



Have you ever come across the perfect lamp but it has an awful shade?  It happens all the time.  It might be that the shade is the wrong shape or color, or maybe the lamp needs a shade with more style.  The trick here is to buy the lamp and change or UpStyle the shade!

 One of my favorite sources for lampshades online is Lux Lampshades. Lux has a quick ship program with in-stock shades of all shapes, sizes and fabrics.  And their custom program allows you to design a custom shade from a range of fabrics and  frames they have available.

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--UpStyled Lampshade



Did you know that the only major difference between outdoor lighting and indoor lighting is that the finishes on outdoor lighting are created to withstand weather elements?  Beyond that outdoor lighting is suitable for indoor use.  Some of my favorite outdoor lighting styles to use inside are scones and lanterns.  Check out this chic outdoor light used in a bathroom by A Beautiful Mess.

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Outdoor Lighting Used Indoors



I’m always taking about how important layering is when decorating and that concept even applies to wall decor.  If you have a framed art piece that’ to small, think about hanging it inside of a larger frame.  The two pieces combined will provide the impact you’re desiring and also give your wall decor statement a custom look.

tip:  don’t overlook ugly artwork at a thrift store because the frame might be of value

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--A Frame within A Frame



Did you know that designers sometimes create one rug from two? Let’s say you find the perfect rug but it doesn’t come in a  large enough size.  If the pattern works, you can actually use rug tape to create a larger size from two smaller rugs.  And if you want a more permanent fix, some rug companies can actually glue the rugs together.

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Two rugs from one



This is one of my tried and true design rules.  Black adds a touch of drama to a room and helps to ground the decor.  Don’t think that it has to be a piece of black furniture or a wall painted black, all it takes is a touch.  A lamp base, a decorative object or a textile with black in it.  If you have a room in your home with no black, add the color and see the impact it makes.

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--A Touch of Black in Every Room



Because I’m an avid vintage shopper, I love mixing high with low.  A high-quality sofa paired with inexpensive pillows or a budget friendly rug paired with a statement coffee table are just two ways to mix it up.  Mixing high and low will give your decor distinct flair, add personality and save you money.

My favorite budget friendly pieces are side tables, pillows and decorative objects.

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Mix High End with Low


N0. 8  MIX OLD & NEW

Just like mixing high and low, mixing old and new is a great way to customize your decor.  Pair a vintage coffee table with a new sofa or a new lamp with a thrifted cabinet.  The days of shopping at one store for all your decor needs are gone so have fun mixing it up.

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Mix Old and New



Ask any designer and they will tell you that pattern-work is key to any design statement.  You don’t have to go bright and bold because subtle colors and patterns can have just as much impact as bright colors and bold prints.  The key to pattern mixing is to pair patterns of different scales and styles.  You can read more of my tips on pattern mixing here.

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Pattern Mixing



I love designer fabrics but they aren’t always in the budget.  One of the tricks designers use to UpStyle off-the-shelf textiles is to add trim.  There are some many affordable trims that can be applied to curtains, pillows or just about anything.  Check out that seat cushion below that has been transformed with some greek key trim.  #brilliant

tip:  my favorite trim source are this, this and this

Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Add Trim


Designer Tricks OF The Trade--Add Trim


Designer Tricks Of The Trade--Add Trim


So there you have it friends.  A few of the tricks designers use when creating and decorating a space.

A little creativity goes a long way so get crafty, think outside the box and give your decor a unique spin.

Home Tour | Interior Designer Jessica Buckley

I was scrolling through the Apartment Therapy site and stumbled across a home tour they featured in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The home, owned by interior designer Jessica Buckley has to be one of the prettiest homes I’ve seen in a long time.  

Jessica’s style is fresh and modern with classic elements and just the right amount of feminine details.    With an apparent love for color you can see that she has used color on the walls as a way to define each room within her home.  The blue grass cloth on the walls in the living room is dramatic but not overwhelming.  I love the depth and texture it has against all of the white mouldings and trim work.  Another fun aspect to Jessica’s home is her use of patterns and how expertly she has mixed and matched them.  The paring of black and white with a bold floral in the kitchen is an ideal accent for the soft pink walls.  And the fabric drape over the guest bed is stately but modern.

Jessica is definitely one to watch and be inspired by.


Home Tour of Interior Designer Jessica Buckley

Home Tour of Interior Designer Jessica Buckley

Home Tour of Interior Designer Jessica Buckley

Home Tour of Interior Designer Jessica Buckley

Home Tour of Interior Designer Jessica Buckley

You can view Jessica’s design portfolio here. And check out her delightful blog here.

all images via Apartment Therapy

Design Chat: Accessorizing Bookshelves and adding the finishing touches

I received an email from one of my blog reader, Megan who was looking for help with the wall decor and accessorizing the built-in bookshelves in her family room. The bookshelves and the walls have been empty for 3 years and Megan doesn’t know where to start with a decorating plan. She is also struggling with the sofa, which she’s not a fan of but others in the family are.

Here’s a look at Megan’s family room…

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

And here’s my design vision for Megan’s room…



The tan sofa, beige walls and white built-in shelves create a neutral color foundation for the room.  The area rug has different tones of red, browns and green in it so that should be the jumping off point for accessorizing the rest of the room.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

The expanse of white shelving surrounding the TV needs a major pop of personality.  Beyond getting the right mix of accessories, I recommend that Megan either paint the backs of the bookshelves in an accent color or cover the backs with a grass cloth wallpaper.  Wallpaper would achieve two things–1) color and 2) visual texture which would really enhance the space.

When painting the backs of bookshelves, I usually recommend that you go a shade or two light or darker than your wall color.Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle



When it comes to decorating bookshelves, the items you decorate with are just as important as how you arrange them. Here are a few tips on accessorizing bookshelves and a graphic with accessory groupings that always work.

  1. Create depth ‘top to bottom’ and ‘front to back’.  Arrange items so the pieces are not at the same level or position of the shelf.  Your accessories should feel layered and not uniform.
  2. Vary the size, scale and shape of your accessories.  Decorate with a variety of items to create visually interesting arrangements.  And also keep in mind that if your shelves are adjustable you can create wider openings which will allow for larger decorative pieces.
  3. Create balance from shelf to shelf and side to side.  As you arrange items, step back to make sure the overall look of each shelf and each side of the fireplace feels balanced.
For more bookcase decorating tips, read my post 5 Ways To Style Your Bookcase.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle



Wall decor is one of the most important elements of accessorizing a room.  In many cases your wall decor will serve as the focal point for the room.  In Megan’s room, the wall decor will provide a dominate impact statement within the room so it needs to be dynamic.

I recommend a large piece of artwork flanked by starburst mirrors for the most visible wall in the family room.  A piece of art will add color and draw you in to the room.  Mirrors will add a graphic detail and enhance the light coming in from the opposite window.

To enhance the sofa, Megan should add accent pillows and a small-scale bent arm floor lamp at the end of the sectional providing much-needed task lighting.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle



The other decorative items I’d recommend is a console table behind the sofa, an accent chair near the built-ins and curtain panels for the windows.

 A console table will visually extend the partial wall behind the sofa and create an additional surface for a lamp and accessories.

The accent chair will provide additional seating and create a more balance space, filling the now empty corner.

Curtain panels will add softness and another pattern element within the room.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle



Unique accessories and colorful wall decor is all that is needed to bring Megan’s room to life.

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

Design Chat--Accessorizing Bookshelves and Decorating Tips by ConfettiStyle

FIVE Spaces That Took My Breath Away

Have you noticed that surfing Pinterest is kinda like shopping at Costco.  You go in for one thing and come up with a cart full of items that weren’t on your list.  In the case of Pinterest, one beautiful image leads to another and the next thing you know you’ve been sitting in your chair for hours and your ‘pin it’ finger hurts.

My latest foray into the Pinterest black hole uncovered some really stunning spaces–space that took my breath away.

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My Favorite Spaces from The One Room Challenge

One Room Challenge

Have you heard of the One Room Challenge?  Better yet, have you been following the design series?  If not, you’ve been missing out on some incredible room transformations and amazing design inspiration.

The One Room Challenge was is a bi-annual blog series started by Linda from Calling It Home and it is now in its 10th season.  What started as a design makeover blog hop  has turned into one of the hottest design transformation series in bogland. The ORC has become so hot that the series recently attracted sponsors like House Beautiful, Decorator’s Best, Joss and Main, Lamps Plus, Farrow & Ball and Lowes.

Each round of the ORC features 20 bloggers/designers who makeover a space in a 6 week period.  The participants select their space, develop a plan and execute the dramatic transformation while sharing the entire design/decorating process weekly on their blogs.  To date there have been over 1000 room makeovers by featured and guest participants.

With each ORC I’m always excited to see that beautiful rooms created by the participants.

The latest round of the One Room Challenge just ended and I must say it includes some of my favorite spaces to date so I thought it would be fun to share a few favorites with you today.   Check it out and be inspired!

p.s.  you can see all of the room from the featured bloggers here  and the guest participants here.


One Room Challenge Featured Bloggers

My Favorites:

One Room Challenge--April 2016.001

Claire Brody Designs:  My favorite details are the furnishings, the fireplace and the beauty of those white walls.

One Room Challenge--April 2016.002

Design Manifest:  This kitchen space went from ho-hum to incredibly chic.  I love the bar stools, the lighting and the cabinet door detail.


One Room Challenge--April 2016.003

The Makerista:  The wood paneling and trim detail on the walls in this man cave is amazing.  And I love the subtle color palette.


One Room Challenge--April 2016.004

My Sweet Savannah:  Now this is the way to update a dated bathroom.  My favorite details are the glass front cabinets, the vanity mirror, the chandelier, the cabinet pulls, the roman shades….ok, I love it all. 


One Room Challenge--April 2016.005

Jill Sorensen:  Jill had me at the black, yellow and pop of color so used for the master bedroom.  I especially love the gorgeous headboard, the window treatments and the stools in front of the sofa.  


One Room Challenge Guest Participant

My Favorites:

One Room Challenge--April 2016.006

Dimples and Tangles:  Jennifer knocked it out of the park with the painted buffalo check wall in her powder room.  And you definitely want to check out the wall moulding, the pink door and the acrylic hardware.


One Room Challenge--April 2016.007

Always Rad:  I’m so glad I discovered this blog through the ORC.  This kitchen transformation is truly gorgeous and  I want that banquet eating area and  those lighter over the island.


One Room Challenge--April 2016.008

Simple Details:  If you love an eclectic mix like I do, you’re going to love this living room.  I was really excited to see the coffee table since my mom owns that same table. p.s.  take note of the amazing accessories and styling.


One Room Challenge--April 2016.009

Amanda Louise Interiors:  This is another new to me blog and after seeing this makeover I’m a big fan.  I love the transformation of the TV wall and the over mix of furniture and accessories.


One Room Challenge--April 2016.010

The Crowned Goat:  I’m a big fan of office spaces that function well and look good too.  This space is ideal of blogging, bills and creativity.  I love the styling on the bookcases and rustic chic details throughout.


If you have time, I encourage you to check out all of the One Room Challenge spaces.  There are just too many beautiful rooms to include all my favorites here.

Shelly Signature

Filing the Nook–Decorating Around Your Fireplace



Empty Fireplace Nook

Elements of Style


You’ve seen them, those little nooks that sit next to a fireplace and sometimes hold built-in shelving.  I’m a big fan of built-in shelving but sometimes builders skimp on the cost and effort of putting them in so a homeowner is left with an empty nook space to fill.

When Ikea came on the scene,  bloggers and design enthusiast starting creating custom looking shelving with Billy Bookcases gave them the look of built-in but with a tremendous cost savings.

Laura Ramsey, interior designer, home design vignettes,

Laura Ramsey Furniture & Interior Design

Now, if you’re not a DIYer and you don’t want to go to the expense of hiring someone to build bookcases, there are some creative alternatives to filling those nooks that flank your fireplace.


I love window seats and this just might be the next best thing, a comfy upholstered banquet.  What’s also great about this design option is the wall space that you’d have to hang a beautiful mirror or piece of artwork.

Fireplace Nook1

Roses and Rust



Floating shelves will afford you the same function as a built-in bookcase but are much easier to install and they have a more organic feel to them.  Using reclaimed wood for the shelves is also a great way to add charm to your decor.  Ikea has lots of affordable floating shelf options but this one and this one are my favorites.

Blackband Design2

Blackband Design



Creating a desk or workspace within the nook is a great way to make this area functional.  I love the idea of a wall unit that can be closed up and concealed when not in use, enhancing the visual appeal.

Fireplace Nook3

Better Homes and Gardens



You can always fill the nook area with a piece of accent furniture like a demo-lune table, cabinet or console table.  This look works great if you style is traditional and you like symmetry in your decor.

Fireplace Nook4

Better Homes and Gardens



Free standing bookcases are always an option and provide great flexibility if you like to change-up your decor from time to time.  This bookcase/cabinet combo is a great option and I love this glass front option.

Fireplace Nook5

Decor Pad 



If wall space is limited in the room where you fireplace is, you might want to leave the nook area free of furniture and use the wall space to hang a collection of artwork.

Fireplace Nook6

Country Living



My favorite approach to decorating the nook is to make a creative statement with a combination of furniture, art and decorative accessories.

Fireplace Nook7


If you have bookshelves next to your fireplace or will be adding some to your decor, here are a few styling tips to keep in mind…

♥  Paint the back of your bookshelves to add a color pop and visual interest.  Depending on the accessories you use, they might also pop better against a colorful backdrop.

♥  Use an eclectic mix of accessories for visual interest and to add personality to the room.

♥  Create visual depth by placing item front and back along each shelf and use items of different heights to create depth top to bottom.

♥  Arrange books vertically and horizontally to create movement for the eye to follow within the overall arrangement. 

Bookshelf Styling.001

image via Dimples and Tangles


The fun part of decorating is to make the most of the space you have and putting your own spin on  your decor.

Happy Decorating!

Shelly Signature


Design Chat: Selecting a Sofa (and developing an accessory plan)

Design Chat Header.001.jpeg.001

I’ve got another installment of Design Chat for you today, where I answer and provide design advice to a readers question.

Like many of the other Design Chat questions, Kimberly’s design challenge centered on finding the right sofa for her living room.  Here’s the question Kimberly posed about a sectional she was considering…

“I read your blog about the do’s and font’s of a sectional and I am strongly considering this sectional for my room. Here are my questions…
1. Is the sectional too dark? I have tons of sunlight. I am wanting to steer away from the tan/beige, and I hear grays are very neutral, but I don’t want it to be a fad thing. The size is 115 X 115.
2. The back of the sectional would face the direction of looking into the room to define that space b/c I don’t want to block the bay windows.
I have a family of 5 and we purchased a single couch with the intent on adding more chairs, but they hated it b/c we couldn’t all sit together. Therefore, that’s why I am looking at the sectional, I know it limits us when it comes to moving furniture around.   What do you think? ” 

Here’s the space that Kimberly is dealing with. You can see that the room is pretty large, has a great span of windows at the far end and a fireplace and bookshelves that sit on one wall.



And here’s the sectional that Kimberly is considering.  She spotted this piece at End Up Furniture in Greenville, SC.

Sectional From End Up Furniture


Ok Kimberly, here’s what I think.  

 Given the size of your room I think this sectional is a great option.  The scale looks good and the sofa will really anchor the room.  As far as the color goes, the darker grey get two thumbs up from me. Grey is definitely considered a neutral and are a great alternative to a lighter khaki or tan colors.  You can feel confident that grey will not go out of style in the coming years.

Looking at the other elements in the room here’s a couple of suggestions I have to round out the space.

♦  Place side tables at both ends of the sectional piece that sits along the wall and add tabletop lamps to make that sofa functional for reading etc.

♦  Highlight the window with drapes.  You could either hang panels at the far ends of the bay window or at all the break points along the window which would give you four hanging panels.  Curtains will add softness and allow you to bring some color into the space.

♦  I’d also suggest to create vignette or small sitting area at the window so that space feels purposeful.  Maybe place an upholstered bench under the center window or two accent chairs with a  small side table between.

♦  Finally, I’d hang a larger piece of artwork on the wall over the sofa to balance the TV wall and overall scale of the room.  And relook your rug, maybe adding something with minimized pattern work.  Both of these areas give you another opportunity to bring some color and pattern into the room.

Here’s a quick inspiration board I pulled together, to give Kimberly an idea for a color and accessory palette to work with her new sofa.

Kimberly Byrd.002.jpeg.001

Kimberly Byrd.002.jpeg.002

update:  Kimberly purchased the sofa and it was delivered earlier this week. She’s on her way to a new space for her family to enjoy.


You might also like these posts (click on image):

2-Creating A Pillow Assortment For Your Sofa.001.jpeg.002

Styling a Sectional Sofa

Sectional Sofa Design Guide Part 2.001

Shelly Signature

Small Space Decorating Tips

Last year I wrote about the Tiny House Movement and how it is gaining in popularity.  Well, a year later and the movement is just picking up steam.

I recently finished an article for a friend of mine who started and published Welcome Magazine here in Atlanta years ago.  She has since moved to New York and is in the process of re-establishing the magazine there.  She asked me to write an article for it with tips for decorating small spaces and I thought I’d share a few of those tips with you here in the blog.

Decorating small spaces can be challenging.  The layout of a room, the style of furniture, the paint color and how to keep the space organized are just a few of the design elements you have to consider.  The tips I’m sharing will help you do all of that without sacrificing style and personality.

Small Space Decorating.001


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