6 No-Fail Tips I Learned from Following Interior Designers on Instagram

Decorative objects on shelf.

JC Designs

I use Instagram primarily to follow my favorite interior designers and bloggers, which means that I’m exposed to quite a bit of swoon-worthy décor inspiration on the daily. And, as a result, I've picked up several no-fail tips and tricks from lots of talented designers, many of which I’ve since incorporated into my own home.

I’m sharing six of my top designer-approved techniques for making your place look extra stylish. And don’t fret—they’re much easier to replicate than you might think.

Layer Your Rugs

Living room with layered rugs.

House of Chais

Based on the images I see on Instagram from designers, layering rugs truly never fails. It doesn’t matter if you lay a vintage piece over a more traditional jute (this combo is my personal fave) or even mix and match different patterns—it is an excellent way to add dimension and color to a room.

While I mostly see this technique implemented in the living room, you can also layer rugs in the bedroom to create an extra cozy space. If you’re struggling to find an authentic, weathered piece that strikes your fancy, note that mass-produced rugs with Turkish-like patterns can look quite chic, too. I see these pieces in a number of designer and blogger homes (the duo behind Chris Loves Julia even recently came out with their own Loloi line). 

Use Books as Décor

Decorative objects on shelf.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

Even a major bookworm like me can love to read yet still appreciate books for their décor potential. In practically every designer home tour I view online, I see books stacked everywhere—on the coffee table, a nightstand, an entryway console, you name it. They’re an excellent way to add height and dimension to a piece of furniture and can add a bit of personality to a space.

Whether you love wine, travel, or fashion, you can most definitely find books that reflect your interests and hobbies and still look nice and sleek. 

Style With Plants and Greenery

Bedroom with plants and greenery.

COTTAGE + SEA

Greenery, in the form of plants, olive branches, or even seasonal garlands, can truly liven up a space—no pun intended. Make use of that empty corner by setting out a potted fiddle leaf fig (real or faux), and then sit back and admire the height, color, and texture the plant adds to your space.

After spotting tons of olive trees on Instagram last year, I ordered a fake one of my own and constantly receive compliments. It’s helped tie together my bedroom and also looks darling on my screened-in porch. 

Mix Expensive with Inexpensive

Decorative objects on shelf.

JC Designs

I’m always amazed when I spot a beautiful sculptural piece or framed photograph in a room only for the designer to point out that it’s actually a piece snagged from HomeGoods or H&M Home. Adding a sophisticated touch to your space doesn’t mean splurging on each and every item by any means. You can find chic, artful décor at a number of lower-priced retailers—the key is not to go overboard with items from any one place in particular in order to create that desired “collected” look.

Personally, I love H&M Home for budget-friendly but still beautiful drinkware, cake stands, and plant pots. Zara Home has been an excellent resource for cane furniture and bust sculptures. Don’t let these big box stores deter you when in fact you can score some pretty stunning finds. 

Go for Dramatic Lighting

Living room with sculptural lighting.

Katie Hodges Design

A good light fixture will steal the show, and designers are certainly aware of this. My saved photos on Instagram almost always boast an over-the-top sculptural fixture that immediately draws the eye upward (while still serving a functional purpose).

Serge-style lighting is a no-fail choice and can be found at a number of price points. Modern globe pendants are also a popular choice and look lovely in any room of the home—I personally have globe chandeliers in both my entryway and dining nook. 

Mixing Patterns is A-OK 

Patterned dining room with colorful rug.

Casa Watkins Living

I’ve always felt a bit skeptical about pattern mixing, but it’s actually super commonplace, and the final result can look sophisticated and chic when done well.

Many of my favorite designers aren’t shy about incorporating multiple patterns and color schemes in a room, and this always makes a statement. Take cues from Michelle Gage, Jewel Marlowe, and Stephanie Watkins, all of whom execute this exceptionally well.

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