There are so many elements that when combined create the ideal interior for a home. It's not just beautiful things either (although they help). No, creating your own space, your personal sanctuary is just as much about your energy and personality too. It's easy to look at the styled imagery of iconic designers and feel as though it's miles away from our reality, but according to Spanish designer and author of New Perspectives, Luis Bustamante, "A house has to transmit the essence of the owners" and " interpret their dreams and aspirations."
He writes in his book that our homes often say more about who we are than our clothes, taste in food, and our hobbies, and believes the key mission of every decorator is to "ensure the house speaks the same personal language as its owners." And you don't need to be an interior designer (or hire one) to achieve that.
In fact, the biggest influence for anyone when approaching an interior is travel. "It has completely influenced my style," he says. "I have learned so much traveling around the world getting to know different cultures, different people, different ways of living." All these are key for inspiration.
"A house is very personal. It's where you spend the most time with family and friends and where you collect things from your life," he says. "So it gathers very interesting things that really speak for themselves about who lives in the house." It's all about creating visual harmony with symmetry and personality to create timeless spaces.
Read on to discover some more of Bustamante's tips for creating a house that feels like home and the one thing he says every home should have.
DEVELOP AN EYE FOR DESIGN
This is something many of us admire in our favorite designers, and it often feels like you either have it or you don't. However, Bustamante says there are several things you can do to develop and hone your eye. "Traveling, visiting different countries, cultures, museums, galleries, seeing what's going on in terms of design and culture, being awake," he says. "All of these things add up and influence how the eye is developed."
BE BOLD WITH YOUR PAINT CHOICES
For most of us, choosing paint color can be incredibly daunting. We end up with piles of swatches and a wall that's swathed in varying shades of the same color and oftentimes more confusion around which one to pick. Bustamante dives into the deep end with his color choices and makes bold decisions.
"I like dark colors for walls because they give richness and then add a lot of whites to give contrast," he says. "I also use a bright color for details and small spaces. I like red or strong colors just used in small spaces or details to give a hint of color, but I never use them in big spaces where you can get overloaded."
STRIKE A MIX BETWEEN HIGH AND LOW
Our readers often ask this question and we sympathize: How do you perfect the mix without making a clash or appearing cheap? Striking a balance between high and low can a tricky task, but Bustamante confirms that experimenting with the "mix" of new and old, the expensive with the cheap, "is the key."
He adds: "I really like to mix textures and not necessarily expensive ones. I love to use sisals, and this material is not expensive at all. I believe the mixture of different materials is the key to obtain richness."
AFFORDABLE DOESN'T HAVE TO LOOK CHEAP
Even the most expensive redesigns have budgets. But there is beauty in constraints. The outcome from that tension between budget and creativity is usually more impressive and dynamic than not having one. You have to think outside the box and get crafty. Bustamante agrees and also confirms that good design isn't about using all high-end pieces.
"You can do great things using non-expensive materials," he says. "Nowadays there are a lot of new amazing materials that have great prices." Like Zara Home's stunning fall/winter 2018 collection.
CONSIDER A HOME LIBRARY
What is the number one thing every home should have? For many designers, it's artwork, sentimental pieces, or personality, but for Bustamante, it's a library. "I believe books give the best ambiance in a home," he says. We could not agree more—here are a few home libraries for inspiration.
Shop Bustamante's new book and discover more of his design tips and interior inspiration.