Interior Designers Share the Trick to Making a Space Look Instantly Cooler

Updated 03/07/19

The term "effortlessly cool" gets thrown around a lot in the world of interior design. However, if you ask most designers, they'll inform you that a lot of effort actually goes into making a space feel truly cool. In fact, we recently tapped four interior designers with varying aesthetics that are all undeniably cool in order to learn all about how to make a home look cooler. 

According to them, it seems as though cool homes feature striking layouts, a mix of styles, fresh materials, classic pieces, bold art, edgy paint colors, innovative technology, and intriguing décor in each and every room, including even the most mundane spaces. Ahead, they share the furniture and décor decisions—both big and small—that contribute to the cool factor of a home. While they all offer distinctly different ideas, they can agree that a cool home comes down to a lot more than what objects it houses. 

"All homes that I consider cool have a wow moment," says interior designer Jade Joyner of Metal + Petal. "Even if you don't like the space and even if you cannot imagine living in it yourself, cool homes make you think, broaden your horizons and expand your mind," she continues.

Keep reading for the interior designer-approved ideas that will make your home look cooler—or that will at least leave you feeling inspired.

1. Create spaces for entertaining

Grand dining room
Elizabeth Roberts

According to Abbe Fenimore, interior designer of Studio Ten 25, spaces that allow for easy entertaining tend to be a big priority for her clients. "They want open space that allows for larger groups, yet they want to create cozy spots for guests to chat without feeling distracted," she explains. In order to achieve this atmosphere, it's all about the layout. "Well thought out seating arrangements that don't feel segregated are key to making a home's layout look cool," the designer continues.

Joyner agrees, however, she thinks there's more to creating a cool space than simply having an open layout. "While I believe that cool homes have hip vibes that usually include tall ceilings and a good open flow, the coolness factor of a home does not necessarily depend on its layout," she points out. "It's more about the finishes, the fixtures, the materials, and the amount of risk the homeowner is willing to take," she adds.

Serena & Lily Hanging Rattan Chair
Serena & Lily Hanging Rattan Chair $498
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2. Pair something old with something new

Vintage Décor
Alyssa Rosenheck

"When I am working with a client who wants me to design a 'cool' house, I start by bringing in elements that are unexpected," Joyner explains. "These could include a great work of art by a contemporary artist, a printed fabric, vintage finds, and exaggerated pieces," she says. For her, it's all about the avant-garde, the unusual, and the edgy. That means choosing to ignore any traditional design "rules" and letting go of the urge to follow popular trends, according to the designer.

If you're not quite sure how to achieve this style, start by mixing décor. "I love a mix of metals, textures, and eras," Joyner says. "Something old paired with new, like a fabulous antique chest flanked with modern metal chairs," she continues.

1stdibs Carved Italian Gilded Mirror
1stdibs Carved Italian Gilded Mirror $499
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3. Give concrete a try

Concrete bedroom
Alyssa Rosenheck

When it comes to your home's furnishings, there are certain materials that you can embrace for a truly cool look. One such material is concrete. We've been noticing the industrial element popping up in cool spaces for quite some time and designer Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design confirms that the material is just as cool as we thought.

"I love small side tables fabricated from concrete or small upholstered pieces, like ottomans, in pastel hues," the designer notes. "These light touches of cool tones are a great way to add cooler-colored furniture without making things feel too cool and formal," she continues. Start small with a simple side table or make a statement with a large dining table made from a rough slab.

West Elm Industrial Concrete Side Table
West Elm Industrial Concrete Side Table $399
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4. Follow a "less is more" philosophy

Minimal bedroom
Catherine Kwong

"I stray away from anything gimmicky," Joyner says. Particularly when decorating a bedroom, she makes it a point to add interesting details without going overboard. "I like to add in something playful like a teak hand chair, a hanging swing, or a heavy flocked drape that makes a minimalist room feel warm," the designer says. "Skip the plug-in water feature and go for a giant antique kilim that covers the entire floor," she suggests.

Joyner also believes that experimenting with scale can do wonders for upping a bedroom's cool factor. "Use oversized pieces to make a room look larger and play with scale," she says, recommending placing large chest beside a bed instead of small nightstands, even if it's a squeeze. Finally, she notes that cool bedrooms often follow a "less is more" philosophy. "Do not be afraid to leave spaces blank and bare," Joyner says.

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5. Hang modern art

Modern living room
Studio Ashby

For interior designer Edyta Czajkowska of Edyta & Co., making a room look cooler often comes down to the art you hang on the wall. According to her, a quick way to infuse a space with fun, edgy energy is to hang bold, modern art.

"To me, a home that is cool is one that is very personal and experimental while keeping things modern and fresh," she says. "Taking a look at the overall home aesthetic is important, from architectural elements to personal bold art selection and iconic, custom furnishings are what truly make a home 'cool,'" the designer points out. Follow her lead and source large or smallscale modern art that speaks to you.

West Elm The Arts Capsule Frame Print, Wooly Throw
West Elm The Arts Capsule Frame Print, Wooly Throw $299
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6. Use gray paint

Gray living room
Liljencrantz Design

While there's no one paint color that's necessarily cooler than the next, Murray recommends using a shade of gray to make your home look cooler. "I love a deep gray," the designer says. Even if you're more attracted to a white paint color, Murray suggests finding one that has a gray undertone to it. "It's cooler and always makes a space feel super clean and fresh," she adds. Painting a room a new shade of paint can instantly transform just about any space. It's a relatively quick and easy way to add to your home's cool points.

Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray
Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray $40
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7. Hide bulky technology

Console décor ideas
Sarah Sherman Samuel

While the television is often the focal point of standard living rooms, Fenimore offers an innovative idea for making your space feel infinitely cooler. It's not that you can't have a TV in your home, but you can discretely camouflage it to let your design choices shine.

"Technology has given designers the ability to hide T.Vs, speakers, and even lighting in plain sight," the designer explains. "I love seeing the motorized pieces of art that hide a TV and complete the room when not in use," she adds. For the uninitiated, you can turn to brands like Samsung for well-disguised television sets that masquerade as a painting you can hang right on the wall.

Samsung The Frame SmartTV
Samsung The Frame SmartTV $978
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8. Add bold décor to the bedroom

Sarah Sherman Samuel

No room is too small for a cool makeover. According to Joyner, you can transform any bathroom into a luxurious, eye-catching space with the right accessories. "It's all about going big," the designer says. Her larger-than-life ideas include installing a chic wallpaper (that perhaps even extends up onto the ceiling), laying down bold tile for the floor, hanging an interesting light fixture, and forgoing the traditional vanity for a more unusual vessel. "You can also install found objects instead of traditional bathroom accessories," Joyner adds.

Sarah Sherman Samuel Pink Marble Wallpaper Mural
Sarah Sherman Samuel Pink Marble Wallpaper Mural $250 $125
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