Ask a designer: 5 top interior design questions, answered

Ask a designer: 5 top interior design questions, answered

You want your home to be beautiful, comfortable and functional. But achieving that combination is often easier said than done – especially for those of us who don't have that “design gene” or the budget for an interior designer.

But with a few simple strategies, you CAN create an amazing, inviting space, no matter what your budget. We talked to interior designer Stacey Cohen, owner of Stacey Cohen Design and inventor of Room Edit, and asked her to weigh in on the questions people ask her the most.

Q: How do I make my small space feel bigger?

A: Don’t think small: I recommend that you go big with your furniture. There’s a misconception that small furniture works better in a small space. But I'm a big believer in the exact opposite: a big sofa that fits the entire length of a wall will be a lot more impactful than lots of small pieces cluttering up the space. Probably more comfortable, too.

Photo by Stacey Cohen (Stacey Cohen Design)

Another option is putting mirrors in places where they’ll reflect space and light. It’s all about strategic placement: if what’s reflected in the mirror is a cluttered counter, your space will feel more cluttered than it really is. Position a big mirror across from a window, on the other hand, and it will add a real sense of spaciousness – and double the amount of light.

Photo by Stacey Cohen (Stacey Cohen Design)

To really maximize your space, your best bet is to start with a plan. Before buying anything, draw out your room and figure out what size furniture will fit in that space.

Q: What's the best furniture investment I can make?

A: Decor is like fashion: it’s easy to mix the highs and lows, and combine investment pieces with bargain finds. You’ll probably want to spend more on larger pieces like sofas, beds and dining tables to ensure they’re comfortable and will stand up to use over time. Then you can mix in the lower-priced pieces: area rugs, side tables and accessories. The more affordable items are where you can more easily jump on trends: it’s a lot easier to switch those pieces out when you get tired of them.

Photo by Stacey Cohen (Stacey Cohen Design)

Q: How do I choose the right paint colours?

A: Your wall colour should be the last thing you decide on – after you've chosen your furniture and finishings. But you should also think about how you want your room to feel. Want moody and dramatic? If you've got blues in your palette, you can go for navy or burgundy walls. If you want a vibe that’s really calm and peaceful, I recommend white, ivory or a pale grey.

And unless you’re planning on repainting every year, I don’t recommend following what’s trendy. Pick something you'll be happy with for a few years.

Photo by Stacey Cohen (Stacey Cohen Design)

Q: How do I create a cohesive look that isn't a mishmash?

A: One word: balance. Stick to one colour palette in the main materials throughout your home. It will act as a framework and provide consistency. You can layer in pops of colour with pillows, accessories and art, but having that single palette really helps create flow from one space to the next.

Photo by Stacey Cohen (Stacey Cohen Design)

Q: I'd love to hire a designer but I don't have a big budget – what should I do?

A: I get this question all the time, and I’m a big believer that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a beautiful space. Interior design tends to get sold as a luxury service, but I don’t think it should be: everyone deserves to live in a place they love. There are lots of resources online to help you learn basic design principles, or you can try something like Room Edit, an affordable design service that makes decisions easier.

Need some design help – or just a little inspiration?

Check out Room Edit or visit Stacey Cohen Design to get started on creating your own beautiful spaces.

Looking for an amazing new home to decorate?

Talk to a agent. Our neighbourhood and building experts can help you find a great condo or house – the colour palette and furniture is up to you!

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