Luxury Design Secrets Revealed

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Top Fifteen Tips for a Designer Look

Hello Design Lovers, today I’m revealing the Luxury Design Secrets that will instantly elevate your home. Including my top 15 tips for getting a designer look in your home. These are my tried and true tricks for creating magazine-worthy rooms, and each one of them is so good. Let’s dive right into the first Luxury Design Secret.

#1 Architectural Moldings & Paneling

If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of thoughtful applied moldings, paneling, and beams. These details add instant character and depth to a room and are my go-to trick for getting a high-end look.

Design Secrets - dining room paneling and ceiling beams

If you are a DIYer, many of these wall panels and moldings can be applied yourself; if not, a skilled trim carpenter can easily add paneling and moldings to a room very quickly and affordably.

My favorites include raised picture molding, tongue and groove paneling on walls, stacked base moldings, cove crown molding, and feature ceiling beams.

All of these applied architectural millwork details will add instant character and depth to a room; trust me.

#2 Luxe Lighting

This is a big luxury design secret, so much so that I dedicated an entire post on how to choose and install chandeliers, pendants, sconces, and lamps. Y’all are going to want to check out the LIGHTING DESIGN post.

My biggest tips for lighting are to choose the correct scale and be mindful of the color temperature the fixture puts out. For scale, many times, we see chandeliers that are too small, sconces that are hung at improper heights, or even lamps that are the wrong size for a table.

Generally speaking, lighting fixtures that are scaled a bit larger give more of a designer look, so be mindful of the size. As for color temperature… this is a big one. You want to make sure that all the fixtures in a room emit the same color.

For example, you don’t want bright white bulbs that put off a bit of a blue hue in the same room as a warm white fixture. This is an easy fix; just make sure all the bulbs are the same warm white. And if you are looking at LED fixtures, I always like to stay in the 2700-3000 Kelven range.

Design Secrets - dining room styled and large pendants

The higher you get on the Kelvin scale, the cooler the light is, so we always opt for the warm light of 2700-3000 Kelvin.

Lighting can get a bit technical, so we actually created a free “LightingGuide” sharing all our scale and hanging tips; it’s chock full of so many good insights about how to choose lighting for your home, your going to want to snag it; so click the cover!

#3 Large-Scale Art & Mirrors

Design Secrets - mirror and art in entry

This tip can really make an impact in a room easily and affordably. So when shopping for art and mirrors for your home, you want to make sure that you look for pieces that are large in scale.

A statement piece of art or mirror can set the tone for an entire room and give a big bang for your buck.

#4 Window Treatments

Window treatments soften a space and instantly add a cozy, welcoming layer. If you are wanting to add drapes to your space, I suggest going tall.

We like to bring the drapery panel rods almost all the way up to the crown moldings or ceilings.

This gives the drapery an elevated-high-end look and instantly creates the feeling of higher ceilings.

Also, think about adding café curtains and Roman shades to your windows. These pretty little window treatments are functional and beautiful and will give you a designer look.

Design Secrets - bedroom window treatments

#5 Artful Door & Cabinet Hardware

The interior hardware in a home is sometimes an afterthought, but it is soooooo important for setting the tone of your rooms. I often hear people say they want to go with the cheapest option when it comes to hardware… But Friends… that’s not always the best decision.

Design Secrets - kitchen hardware

Think for a minute how many times a day you interact with the doorknobs and cabinet and drawer pulls in your home.

We touch and use hardware daily, so it needs to be beautiful and have a quality that will stand up to life’s wear and tear.

Go for heavy, solid hardware if you can. I love brands like Baldwin, Rocky Mountian Hardware, Emtek, Armac Martin, and even Top Knobs if you are wanting something budget-friendly.

#6 Large Scale Rugs

There are few other things more impactful than a beautiful, large-scale rug to ground a space and add color and depth to a room. We see improperly scaled rugs so often that this tip had to make the list.

When shopping for rugs or placing a rug in your home, you want to ensure that it fills the space properly.

If it’s going in a living or family room, under a seating grouping, it needs to be large enough that all the chairs and sofas can either be completely on the rug or, at the very least, the front two legs.

Design Secrets - living room rug
Design Secrets - dining room rug

For a rug under a dining or kitchen table, you want to make sure that the rug is large enough that when the dining chairs are pulled out for someone to sit down, all for legs of the chair remain on the rug.

Any other way, and you’re going to end up with an unintentional rocking chair.

We see so many runners that are improperly scaled for kitchens, so I had to include this tip… Measure the width of your walkway; if you’ve got 4.5-5ft in between your island and cabinetry… don’t you dare put a 2ft runner there; that’s a no-no.

Go for a runner that is 3-3.5ft wide, and it’s going to look so much more high-end and keep your feet nice and cozy as you cook.

Design Secrets - kitchen runner

#7 Mixing in Antiques & Vintage Pieces

This is probably my very favorite tip of all, as I love using antique and vintage furniture and decorative pieces in my designs. Mixing in pieces with history and soul not only elevates your interiors but they keep your rooms from feeling like a furniture showroom.

Design Secrets - antique and vintage pieces mixed together

A few of my go-to’s for a layered, welcoming look are incorporating antique handmade ceramics, vintage lamps, antique mirrors, and art and vintage handmade rugs.

These elements will add a layer of interest and history to your room, and as a bonus, they are a fun thing to shop for.

#8 Collection Groupings

This tip goes hand in hand with Tip #7 of adding vintage and antique pieces because so often when we collect something, it’s an antique treasure.

So my tip for displaying these items is to go bold and group them together in an artful arrangement.

This could be on a wall; if your collection is art, I’m a huge sucker for a grid of antique art. Or this could be on bookshelves or a table surface, like a collection of pottery, antique books, or vintage treasures.

Either way, grouping and displaying items in a collection instantly elevates those pieces and makes a high-end designer statement.

Design Secrets - antique grouping in pantry

#9 Tonal Color Palettes

This is a luxury design secret I spoke about in previous design trends and paint trends posts, but it’s worth mentioning again because it’s a very easy way to achieve a designer look.

Design Secrets - tonal color palette in living room

When you are choosing paint, furniture, and décor for a space, think about focusing your color palette on a tonal range.

Meaning a range of lights and darks of a single color. This creates a high-end look while still giving you depth and interest.

#10 Layering Luxe Textiles

This tip is all about the throw pillows and blankets you decorate your space with. I have a few rules of thumb when choosing pillows and throw blankets. First, layer texture, pattern, and sizes for throw pillows.

Many times, if we don’t want to incorporate patterned fabric into the mix, we’ll do this by mixing different textures of pillows… like a mohair, paired with a bouclé and finished with a suede or leather pillow.

We usually opt for a solid or strip paired with a large-scale floral and small-scaled repeating pattern if we incorporate patterns. And pro-tip friends… Use oversized down inserts if you can for a high-end look.

Design Secrets- layered pattern and fabrics in bedroom

I like to go up a few inches on my inserts so that once they are stuffed into the pillow cover, they create a fluffy, welcoming look. There’s nothing worse than a pancake pillow on a beautiful sofa, so mind your inserts and go for a full, cozy look.

Design Secrets - cozy reading chair

For throw blankets, I always like to opt for natural fibers instead of acrylic weaves. First of all, they’ll hold up much better, and secondly, they just look so much nicer.

So opt for 100% cotton, linen, or wool throw blankets. They will instantly elevate your room, I promise.

#11 Incorporating Fresh Flowers & Live Plants

This tip is soooooo easy y’all. Go grab a bouquet of tulips at the store, clip a few leafy branches from your yard, or add a lacy fern to your room. Incorporating live flowers and plants into your space is an instant mood lifter and adds a welcoming and sophisticated layer, and they will make you happy, which that’s your home’s highest purpose, after all.

Design Secrets - Living room with live plants

#12 Signature Fragrance

Design Secrets - Styled shelves with fragrance

This luxury design secret is often overlooked. But a scent is just as powerful of an addition to your home as any of the other design elements we’ve discussed.

The scent evokes memories like nothing else, and how your home smells affects you and is often the first thing visitors experience when coming into your home.

So, my suggestion is to find a scent for each season that optimizes the experience you want to create in your home and then layer that fragrance throughout your home with diffusers, candles, and room spray. There are so many amazing products out on the market now that can help you achieve the perfect home fragrance, so I’ll link a few of my favorites below.

The next two honestly go hand in hand, so I’m grouping them together.

#13 and #14 Cutting the Clutter & Curated Styling

First of all, cutting the clutter in your home will instantly elevate your space and, as a bonus, put a focus on the furnishings and decorative items that you have displayed. When we clear the clutter, the result is a more thoughtful, well-designed, sophisticated space.

As a follow-up to cutting the clutter, #14 curated styling. I want you to play around with the arrangement of the decorative elements in your rooms.

Create visual harmony with how you group items into various vignettes, and always keep in mind those design principles of interest, scale, repetition, and movement.

Design Secrets - styled entry round table

#15 Instant Curb Appeal

Design Secrets - Exterior styling

The easiest and least expensive way to add instant curb appeal to your home is through a welcoming entry.

By adding abundant potted plants, a beautiful wreath, and a sophisticated doormat, you can really impact your home’s curb appeal.

Another easy tip is to make sure that your exterior decorative elements are scaled properly and highlight your home’s architectural features.

Let’s use window shutters as an example… if you put shutters on your home, please, please, please scale them appropriately to the windows.

I am always shocked at how many gorgeous homes I see with shutters that are not scaled correctly. If you are flanking a window with two shutters, each one of those shutters should be half the width of the window. Period. The end.

And if you have a single shutter hung on one side of a smaller window, the shutter needs to be the full size of the window. Guys… I can’t stress this one enough; I will make allllll the difference in the world on your curb appeal.

Design Secrets - Shutters

One more thing about shutters…. Just go ahead and add the hinges and shutter dogs… even if they’re purely decorative. Shutters aren’t meant to be screwed directly to your home.. and if you add the hinges and shutter dogs to your shutters, they are going to add depth to your exterior and create a timeless, authentic look.

Shop these looks that we use when designing a home:

Friends… Who’s ready to jump right into these 15 Luxury Design Secrets and give our home a designer look? If you enjoyed this post let me know in the comments below which Designer Tip was your favorite. And please watch the full video of Luxury Design Secrets Revealed and check out the Pinterest board here.

As always, thank you for reading, and remember, good design is for everyone, so create a home that inspires you, have fun decorating your spaces, and fall in love with where you live, one room at a time.

XO, Ashley

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