People say you can’t learn style: You’re either born with it or you’re not. While this may be true to some extent, we believe you can learn how to make your home polished and put together whether you’re a born stylist or not.
But here’s the thing: Just like an effortlessly chic French woman has a certain je ne sais quoi, it’s hard to put your finger on what makes an interior exceptional.
To demystify the secrets that make an interior memorable, we turned to the most stylish ladies to grace our Instagram feeds: These worldly women are art directors, interior designers, brand marketing managers and fashion stylists, and they know a good room when they see it.
We asked each woman to share what she considers to be the biggest decorating faux pas. Don’t even try redecorating before reading these leading ladies’ insightful advice.
▪ They embrace contrast: “People with great style have a natural understanding of scale and proportion,” New York-based interior designer Alyssa Kapito says in. “Having everything in a room at the same height and scale is a rookie mistake — it’s the contrast that makes things interesting.
“Try oversize artwork next to a pair of petite lamps or incorporating height into your room with sky-high curtains.”
▪ They don’t focus on the TV: “A lot of people decorate their apartments surrounding their television, but your TV does not have to be the central focal point of your room,” says Babba Canales, a N.Y.-based Swedish “It” girl and brand marketing professional. “Instead, it’s much nicer for a beautiful long table to be a focal point of a room where friends and family can gather.”
▪ They don’t copy Pinterest: “The main thing that I want to redirect people from falling into is following trends or copying what they see on Pinterest and Instagram,” says Paige Geffen, an L.A.-based stylist and art director. “It feels inauthentic. We are so saturated with beautiful imagery, and I think we can all agree that we see the same things over and over again.
“Our spaces can reflect who we are, and they can become environments that meet our needs both aesthetically and purposefully. Pick a color scheme that inspires you. Acquire pieces that speak to you. Start paying attention to what colors, materials, textures and shapes make you feel happy, creative or whatever it is you like to feel.”
▪ They don’t fall back on white: “It’s a myth that white walls make a room feel bigger and lighter,” says Lucy Williams, London-based blogger, stylist and writer. “This is only true if there’s great natural light.
“In London (or darker ground-floor apartments), you’re better off embracing dark narrow corridors and bathrooms by using dark, rich colors, like navy, charcoal and emerald, to add depth and coziness.
“I still love bright, white interiors, but only if you have plenty of natural light. Otherwise it can end up looking dank and drab.”
▪ They get proportions right: “I think the thing people get wrong the most is proportion, like picking armchairs that are too big for a room or a rug that’s too small,” says Sophie Ashby, a London-based interior designer. “All the most sophisticated spaces I’ve seen are beautifully in proportion overall.
“Of course, you can break the rules, but you have to follow them first.”