Designing a Space You Love

Home isn’t just a reflection of your style or a form of self-expression. It’s a place that influences how you feel when you start and end your day. It can make your life easier, or more hectic, and lend towards the achievement or postponement of your goals. When designing a space at home, make it a space you love. Keep these five questions top of mind to influence and inform decisions from paint color to purchases.

Splashes of paint colors, in deep purple, red, hot pink, orange and gold
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What Feelings should the Space Evoke?

How do you want to feel when you’re at home? Does your answer vary depending on the room? Jot down any words or phrases that come to mind.

For me, home is a place to rest, to entertain, and to be inspired. When I walk into a cluttered, disorganized space, I’m less motivated to do something fun and productive with my time, like read a book or try a new recipe. But entering a space that’s clean, where everything has a home, calms my mind and allows me to focus on projects and activities that bring me joy.

What is the Aesthetic?

Maybe you’ve fallen in love with millennial pink, marble, and brass. Or perhaps you gravitate towards earth tones and wooden home furnishings. Your aesthetic could be a combination of all the above, plus pops of yellow and throw in some mixed metals. Whether its modern farmhouse, art-deco, Scandinavian inspired or any of the other hundreds of possibilities, mark the style of your space with some defining colors and features.

While it’s important to have a cohesive look, try venturing outside of the furniture set that matches the headboard you just purchased. Opt for a dynamic approach of mixing and matching different colors and materials to make a big difference in the overall aesthetic of a space.

When designing a space you love, request free samples of textiles pictured here, like carpet, flooring and paint chips.
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Is it Comfortable?

That couch could be a piece of art. No, literally, you could look at it all day. But could you sit it on for a few hours at night? I walk a fine line between aesthetic and comfort, but try to stay practical and remind myself of how I want to feel in a space. Comfort is always key.

Is it Functional and Convenient?

Take my purchase of these West Elm C Tables that I use as nightstands. Visually, they make me super happy. Functionally, I’m out two spaces for books, chargers, chapstick, hair ties, extra coasters and hand lotion that would typically live in the drawers of a nightstand.

In the initial debate, aesthetic won over extra storage, but in the long term, I’ve had to compensate for storage by relocating those nightstand essentials to less convenient spots. I’ve learned the importance of function and convenience, and with future purchases I’ve made sure to account for both.

Does it Bring You Joy?

Marie Kondo’s method of asking oneself if an article of clothing sparks joy, to determine whether it lands in the keep, donate or trash pile, is a phrase that I try to live by in all senses… not just via my closet.

Posing this question before a purchase may seem redundant, and you may be thinking, why else would I buy it? But, if you find an answer is simply functionality, or just convenience, only comfort or purely for aesthetic, and if that object doesn’t contribute to how you want to feel in a space, how can it bring you joy?

Don’t buy something because it checks off one box. Aim for a multifaceted response that ultimately comes down to sparking joy. Asking these questions will guide you towards setting an intention for each space, to furnish and decorate with items that serve you, your lifestyle and your goals.

Sparkler
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Most Loved Sites (for Interiors)

Most Loved Sites series meets interiors! Like most people obsessed with interior design, I have a favorites tab saved on my browser filled with homeware sites. I’ve narrowed it down to a list of the top ten gems, and a few notes on why they’re my go-to’s.

roost

Roost offers a bespoke collection of furniture, tabletop, home decor, lighting, textiles and more. The handcrafted details, and unique use of gemstones and mixed metals make for stunning finds.

The catch, is that Roost is a wholesale distributor. I visit their site for inspiration, but purchase their products through Burke Decor (which is a great site in it’s own right).

Roost is one of my Most Loved Sites for interiors. Pictured: rustic, mid-century modern living room

schoolhouse

American made, quirky but traditional home decor, hardware, office goodies, you name it. Schoolhouse is the perfect site to find a retro wall clock, or wooden toys for children. It’s also a personal favorite for lighting fixtures.

If you like homes styled by Joanna Gaines, this is the site for you.

Wooden countertop with farmhouse sink, looking out onto a bay window facing a garden

gracious home

Located in Manhattan’s upper east side, Gracious Home is an independently owned and upscale store that carries brands like Sferra and Le Creuset.

It boasts a curated selection of lighting, kitchenware, linen, and accent pieces, as well as some decorative furniture. I love their bedding, frames and holiday decor.

Gracious Home is another one of my Most Loved Sites for interiors.  Pictured: White bed with ethereal chandelier and wooden nightstand

west elm

West Elm accounts for the majority of pieces in my home. It has playful, mid-century modern collections with a refined edge.

If you have an affinity towards brass, wood, and pops of color, this will likely become a favorite of yours as well. West Elm also supports hundreds of locally made, sustainably sourced and fair trade products, which are identified with symbols below the products themselves.

Mid century modern dining room with a marble table, and pink suede chairs with gold accents

serena & lily

Coastal meets modern; Serena & Lily is super Cali-inspired.

They carry everything from furniture, to art, home decor, lighting, dining, and more. Collections hone in on earth tones and natural materials like mahogany, rattan, abaca, and reconstituted stone.

It’s great for beach house finds with a modern twist.

Beach inspired family room with a blue and white color scheme. Touches of wood and greenery

arhaus

Artisanal and elegant with a sustainable approach. Arhaus carries indoor and outdoor furniture, all-things tabletop and decor, and a stunning collection of wall art ranging from prints, to maps, to framed tapestry and watercolor pieces.

The duality of their unique yet functional homeware translates to comfortable living fit for everyday use.

Modern yet traditional family room with ivory couches and a gold and white coffee table

anthropologie

Anthropologie is traditionally known for its clothing and accessories, but I love its funky, upbeat and whimsical collection of furniture and home goods.

I gravitate towards their outdoor, kitchen and dining collections the most, along with their dish towels and assortment of candles.

If the style doesn’t appeal to you, consider this site for housewarming and host gifts (I’ve had a lot of luck in the books and games section).

Anthropologie is one of my favorites on this list of Most Loved Sites for Interiors. Pictured: leather l-shaped couch with white pillows and a white wash wooden coffee table

sur la table

This store’s specialties are cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools and even some pantry finds (think: olive oils, seasonings, specialty hot cocoa mix, chocolates… the works).

Sur la table also carries small kitchen electronics like coffee makers and toaster ovens. I like to pick up various odds and ends from here, like spatulas, cookie cutters, ramekins, and linen napkins.

To top it off, they offer in-store cooking classes, and are available for hire to teach cooking classes for dinner parties at home.

Fresh baked breads, olive oil, and spices

world market

With products from literally all over the world, the options on World Market are truly endless. It’s a perfect site for reasonably priced homeware without sacrificing style.

I furnished the backyard in my last apartment entirely from this site; the outdoor couch, coffee table, rug, and garden stools included.

Fair warning, this site can sometimes require a bit of a dig to find the pieces you’re looking for, but the reward of hidden gems at half the cost is well worth it!

Outdoor furniture vignette with pops of white and blue

bloomist

Inspired by nature, Bloomist has a minimalistic approach to pitchers, vases, accent pieces, botanicals, pillows, candles and books.

The company uses natural, environmentally friendly and sustainable materials in their craft vessels, and donates 1% of earnings to global causes. It’s a win-win!

Bloomist is such a great resource on this Most Loved Sites for Interiors list. Pictured: Collection of white, stone and glass vases holding foliage arrangements

If you liked this post, view more of my go-to’s on the Most Loved Sites series.

Fresh Floral Arrangements at Home

I have an affinity towards fresh floral arrangements. They’re an easy upgrade to any space, and always boost my mood. They can be dramatic or simplistic, widespread throughout the home or featured in a few select spots.

I should preface by saying I’m extremely fortunate to be in the events industry for a number of reasons. There are a lot of perks, and being around fresh florals with the occasional chance to take some home is definitely one of them.

Floral Arrangements at Home

Any time I’m given the opportunity to take an arrangement home from an event or table sample, I gladly will! But more often than not, I’m creating my own arrangements at home.

I love a larger floral arrangement in the kitchen, a bud vase on the nightstand, clusters of flowers on the coffee table, or an arrangement on the dresser.

If I’m planning to have guests over, I may opt for a bud vase or two in the restrooms as well. Essentially, the more flowers, the better!

Budget & Buy

I build the cost of flowers into my weekly grocery budgets. I typically pick up stems at the flower market or bodega and arrange them at home, so I allocate between $15-25 seasonally (or more, depending on how often I’m hosting).

Taking the time to compose an arrangement is a creative outlet that I really look forward to each week – it’s a great way to inspire creativity!

Check out this post by B Floral for tips on how to navigate the NYC flower market.

Take advantage of flowers that are in-season for arrangements that are cheap and cheerful. I personally love bunches of eucalyptus in a white pitcher, or 5-6 single stems in bud vases, all in a row on a mantle or dresser.

Simple Supplies

When creating your own arrangement at home, two useful tools to have on-hand are chicken wire and floral tape. Floral foam is also helpful when creating more sculptural arrangements.

Form a grid pattern on the outside of the vessel with the chicken wire or tape, fill your vase with water, and begin adding your stems.

This next part is entirely up to you; use your artistic eye to create an organic shape for a whimsical arrangement, or pack the flowers in clusters for a tighter arrangement.

Floral Delivery Services

If you’re short on time, or seeking an elevated look, consider subscribing to a biweekly floral delivery service. I use URBANSTEMS when I need a more sophisticated arrangement for a specific occasion, like my Friendsgiving dinner, and to send flowers to friends and family.


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