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The Three Things an Interior Designer Swears By in Each Room - Cupcakes & Cashmere

The Three Things an Interior Designer Swears By in Each Room

The formula one of our favorite interior designers uses in her own home.
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Photo by Monica Wang

Photo by Monica Wang

I first met Katie, an interior designer and founder of Katie Hodges Design, over Instagram, when I posted to Stories that I was searching for a rug for my bathroom. After she commented with a suggestion, which turned out to be exactly right (to go for something a little narrower), I clicked on her profile and completely lost myself scrolling through her beautiful, light-filled designs. I asked her to share the three things she swears by in creating each room—from a calm bedroom to a welcoming entryway. Read on for her tips! - Emily

As a long-time follower of Cupcakes and Cashmere, I am beyond excited and honored to have been invited as an interior design contributor. I am sure you all would agree when I say that Emily has an incredible ability to connect with her audience, so I feel very much at home here. I first discovered Emily in 2009 during a brief stint in fashion PR, fresh out of college, discovering who I was—and who I wanted to become. Emily was one of my initial inspirations to do something I LOVED, rather than just “something.” 

One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is helping people create spaces that become the backdrop of their lives—and not just a pretty Instagram photo. There’s a lot of tentativeness associated with people decorating their homes, and I love helping dissolve some of that stress. Check out the fool-proof formulas that I employ in each room to achieve a beautiful and well-balanced result:

Photos by Amy Bartlam

Photos by Amy Bartlam

At times regarded as 'boring' and 'plain,' rooms with neutral color palettes have proven themselves timeless and here to stay. Their main appeal lies within the fact that you really can’t go wrong, and it’s one of the most flexible color palettes to work with. While it may be tempting to select pieces that 'make the room,' consider your final outcome as the sum of multiple parts.

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Chairs are a great opportunity to infuse a little personality to your space. Opt for a chair with an interesting shape, a dash of whimsy, or an unexpected texture to mix things up (i.e. safari, leather, and basket chairs).

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In the ever-changing world of design trends, it’s nice to rely on the tried and true, good ol’ white linen draperies. Don’t get me wrong, there are amazing rooms with all sorts of drapery colors, but I can’t get enough of white linen. Mounted higher on the wall with a thin rod, draperies give the illusion of higher ceilings and add a beautiful texture.

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It may seem contrary, but color in small doses is absolutely appropriate in a neutral space. Pillows are my favorite design ingredient for adding that dash of color without stealing the show. Keep the colors relatively quiet and complimentary to their surrounding environment.  

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Photos by Amy Bartlam

Photos by Amy Bartlam

Earthy, warm colors are comfortable and cozy, so they're an ideal direction to go in for a bedroom. Staying somewhat monochromatic while playing with textures is key in achieving this look.

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A beige linen bed serves as a strong foundation piece without overwhelming the space. I use this bed time and time again because it’s the perfect canvas for layering, and super versatile if you decide to re-decorate down the line.

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To maintain a soft feel, avoid too much contrast between items, and practice restraint with color. If you have wood floors, use them to your advantage and select complimentary wood-toned pieces for a monochromatic wood look.

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Skipping ornate or busy art allows the space to feel laid-back and unfussy. Monochromatic nudes sketches, black and white line drawings, or geometric prints would suit this vibe. If you’re like most of us and find that selecting art is tough, pop some hats on the wall to act as a place-holder for when you do find the right piece. 

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Photos by Monica Wang

Photos by Monica Wang

In my experience as a designer, I find that 80% of clients request a bedroom with no color. But those who want a little ‘more flavor’ need not shy away from color in the boudoir.

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In my design process, I usually start with the rug. Not only is it the largest textile in the room, but rugs create a vibe that often dictates other selections in the room. Opt for a vintage or antique rug, as colors have faded over the years and tend to feel less overwhelming

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Mixing patterns and color is key here, so don’t skimp on pillows and accessories. Stay consistent with your color palette for a polished look, and use a variety of patterns and textures to avoid being too “matchy matchy.” A tip for mixing pillows: Large scale patterns look best alongside smaller patterns, and use blacks/whites between pillows to break it up a little.

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You can’t go wrong with a hint of mid-century in any space, and the bedroom is no exception. A woven bench adds an unexpected element of cool while polishing off the space. Drape a throw over it to add a little softness, and pillows tie it back into the bed. 

Photo by Monica Wang

Photo by Monica Wang

Photos by Amy Bartlam

Photos by Amy Bartlam

Even the smallest of entries deserve some attention—think of them as your home's first impression. 

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Nothing says “welcome” like a well-appointed entry rug. This is a great opportunity to use color, and if you’ve been dying to purchase a vintage rug but shied away from the price-tag, smaller vintage rugs are much more affordable and common than their larger counterparts.

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Juxtaposing the traditional vintage rug with modern artwork is one of my favorite design tricks! The vintage rug is the little bit of ‘something old’ anchoring the space, and the modern art is the ‘something new’ keeping things looking fresh.

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A pendant light is like jewelry for a room—a little special and definitely complimentary. It draws the eye upward, providing the illusion of higher ceilings. If you have an interesting ceiling detail, avoid using a pendant that’s too ornate as it will likely steal attention away from your architectural features. 

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Photo by Amy Bartlam

Thank you, Katie! You can follow her at @katiehodgesdesign.