5 Essentials for a Well-Designed Room

By Cristina Cleveland

Have you ever decorated an entire room only to be left thinking that something was… missing? I know that beautiful homes take time to curate but I’m guilty of lacking patience in this arena. Is it really so much to ask to have my home look like I’ve lived a full life in it for years, within months of my moving in? While this may be a tad unrealistic, I have found that there are a few key pieces that will help you put the finishing touches on a room that’s looking incomplete. If you are as impatient as I am and just want your house to feel like home already, keep reading for my quick checklist.

Lighting – If you plan to be in your home more than a year, it may be worth your while to go ahead and install a light fixture you love – the sooner you do this the longer you have to enjoy it. And nothing screams “rental” quite like apartment lighting. But even if this is not an option for you, be sure to incorporate other sources of light into your home like floor lamps or table lamps. Ambient lighting is a must-have for making a space feel like home.

One piece of furniture that is not from a big box store – Your sofa, coffee table and dining table may all have come from a big box store – I know mine did – but try to work in at least one unique piece of furniture into each room, like this red bench. Whether it’s an antique passed down from family, an odd thrifted find or an investment piece, it will instantly elevate the rest of your furniture, giving them a dose of character.

Art – Art does not have to be expensive, in fact there are so many online outlets for affordable prints and originals that it’s easier than ever to start your own collection. Browse Etsy, Society6 and Minted to discover artists and photographers that suit your style.  This Spanish art exhibition poster is under $100 and looks like it could belong in a museum itself.

Something old – If most of your furniture is new, especially if your style tends towards modern lines, then incorporating something old, like this vintage globe, will provide the much-needed weight and oftentimes texture that may be missing from your room. Old books, scratched wood or a threadbare quilt can help break up the monotony of glossy, modern surfaces.

A rug (or two) – In my own home, although I had furnished and accessorized my entire living room it didn’t feel whole until I added an area rug. Even though it is not a main feature of the room above, rugs complete the look. The fact that there are not one but two rugs layered on top of one another gives the living room an easy, casual feel. You can find a jute rug similar to the one in the inspiration photo at Ikea, and it makes a great neutral base for layering almost any color on top of it.

*Inspiration photo New York Times by Nicole Franzen, Pendant light The Future Perfect, mirror Consort, art exhibition poster TRNK, Garza Marfa bench Heath Ceramics, faux cowhide Dot & Bo, globe Chairish, chair Horne, Persian rug HomesteadSeattle