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9 Genius Interior Design Tips, as Told by a Local Designer


Photo credit: Courtesy of du soleil photographie

The start of a new year always signals that it’s time to get rid of the old and bring in the new—and your home décor should reflect that too. Have you been itching to update that one really outdated space in your home for years? The time is now, and we sought the advice of local interior designer and styling guru Rebekah Brown to make it happen. With more than 10 years of experience in crafting her clients’ dream homes, she knows a thing or two about getting your room in tip top shape.

Here, she shares some of her best kept interior designer secrets, but if you want to hear more of her insight you can see her speak (in-person!) at the Philadelphia Home Show, January 11-13, 18-20.

Consider the room’s role

Before you begin any reno project you need to ask yourself how you plan to use the room. “With any project, I start by asking, what are you looking to get out of the space,” says Brown. “How are you planning to use the space? What changes need to be made to make the space work better? Will there be heavy traffic and use or a more ornamental feel?” Regardless of your response to any of these questions there are ways to build spaces that are personal, practical and beautiful.

Make an entrance

With your entryway that is! This space sets the tone for the rest of your home (no pressure, right?) and the first impression for guests—so you want to make it a good one. It’s important to create a space that’s comfortable for your visitors but doesn’t skimp on your personal style. “Entryways need to be a balance of functionality, practical storage if needed, and a space with added interest—leaving your guests wanting to see more of your home,” says Brown.

Upcycle existing pieces

Giving your space a refresh doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive shopping spree—you can repurpose things you already own. “I always start my design consultations by seeing what the client already has on tap,” says Brown. “What design elements are in their attic or easily at my disposal.” Maybe that armoire from your grandmother’s house is pretty cool on second glance or that bedside table from your childhood home would look great painted in a chic new color. Think outside the box and you’ll be surprised at what you might find.

Build around your budget

Don’t let a budget (or lack of budget) deter you from giving your room a refresh. There are design tweaks that can be made at any price point. If you want to upgrade your kitchen determine if you have the budget for a full-blown redesign. What about changing out the appliances? Can you repaint the cabinets? Small tweaks can add up to a big change to the look and feel of a room.

Choose a basic base with fun pops

“I always love to start with a neutral base palette and allow pops of creativity and color to come through in wallpaper and/or accessories,” says Brown. “Or you could try incorporating old charm through using antique pieces.” Whatever your style is, the best place to showcase it is through accent items that you can swap in and out as your style evolves over the years.

Stay local

Start hunting for your really cool interest pieces in your own hometown. Hit up local home stores, thrift stores, even craft fairs—you never know what you’ll find. Even better—pick up artwork, and small décor items when you travel. Artisan pieces from your travels tell the story of a special time and place in your life and add a ton of character.

Making your lighting inviting

Nothing kills a room’s setting and mood quite like a set of harsh LED bulbs. “Keep your lighting warm,” says Brown. “I’m all for cost-effective lighting but always opt for the warmest LED bulb you can find.” Lighting has a lot of influence on your home’s atmosphere and aesthetic. Have fun with your fixtures but make sure they complement the rest of your space.

Add architectural details

Architectural details can really add a personal touch to your space and often look magazine-worthy. “I always like to recommend starting simple—like with the molding,” says Brown. “For a bigger impact you could repurpose wood beams for your mantel, incorporate industrial windows or install a vintage door.” Any of these upgrades will act as a conversational piece that finishes your space off in style.

Look down

Flooring is often forgotten in a rehab but can actually make a big impact in your space. “The flooring options are endless and go a long way,” says Brown. “Choose a style that not only looks good but will last through your everyday wear and tear.” Her favorite? Vinyl! “Your grandma’s vinyl flooring is not the vinyl you are seeing today,” says Brown. There are so many beautiful and high-end looking options that can fit any budget.

Start designing your dream home at the Philly Home Show, running January 11-13 and 18-20. Click here to snag your tickets.