You can never have too many interior design ideas up your sleeve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re upgrading an underutilized corner or renovating your space from top to bottom—inspiration is a must. Because in any design process, there are lots of questions to be answered and a lot of decisions to be made, and interior design inspiration can make all that stuff a little easier to sift through.
But where can you find such a boundless source of design inspiration? Here, of course. We asked interior designers to share 51 of their favorite interior design ideas—and all of them are ready for your perusal, below.
Meet the Expert
- Cortney and Robert Novogratz are the husband-and-wife design team behind The Novogratz.
- Alice Chiu is the principal designer at Miss Alice Designs.
- Courtney Clark is an interior designer at Mackenzie Collier Interiors.
- Rebecca Langman is the principal designer at Revision Custom Home Design.
Segment Your Space
Take a look at your space. Are you navigating an extremely large room? If so, it may make sense to break it into smaller areas.
“If you have a large open space, the idea is to divide and conquer,” Cortney and Robert Novogratz, the husband-and-wife design team behind The Novogratz, say. “Find a way to break down the space into more intimate seating or activity areas.”
The designers also recommend using rugs to define these mini-areas.
Load Up on Lighting
Lighting is a necessity in any home, and if you stock up on statement-making options, you can make it a must-have and a nice-to-have. Alice Chiu, the principal designer at Miss Alice Designs, recommends snagging at least one show-stopping fixture for your home.
“I like to have at least one light fixture that stands out—whether it's 1-2 large pendants over a kitchen island or a unique vanity light in the bathroom," she says.
Add Unexpected Showstoppers
Getting playful with your décor choices doesn’t only mean picking vibrant colors and bold prints. It can also mean adding glamour in places you’d never expect to find it.
“Creating drama in unexpected places makes a space compelling and memorable,” Dorene Lorenz, Alaska-based interior designer, says. So, hang a chandelier in your bathroom, put art in your kitchen, or turn a hall closet into a bar cabinet.
Take a Risk on a Dark Paint Color
Dark colors can be intimidating to decorate with, but they can add serious drama to a space.
“Rooms painted with darker colors feel more dramatic, yet intimate and cozy at the same time,” Sharleen Pyarali, owner of the e-design firm Clickable Curations, says. “Darker hues provide depth, dimension, and richness to an otherwise simple room.” So, give them a try in a powder room, a dining room—or maybe even a bedroom.
Commit to One Pattern
Pairing different patterns can get daunting, but if you love the way prints look, try committing to one and filling your space with it. “If you’ve fallen in love with a certain fabric or wallpaper, find out if the manufacturer carries other products in the same pattern,” Pyarali says.
If they do, snag a few different pieces—and put them all in the same room. “Being committed to a pattern can easily take your space from boring to bold,” she says. Plus, it’ll help you cut down on the decorating overwhelm.
Dress Up Your Appliances
No kitchen is complete without a few appliances—but don’t let that ruin your carefully curated aesthetic. According to Courtney Clark, an interior designer at Mackenzie Collier Interiors, you can actually enclose your range hood in another material to make it prettier.
“People are enclosing range hoods in unique ways—whether that be with wood or wallpaper,” she says. “We've even added art before to make it more visually appealing.”
Warm Up Your Bathroom With Wood
Your bathroom deserves as much attention as the rest of your home, and wood accents can be a great way to warm it up. “Wood is warm and inviting,” Lisa Melone Cloughen, principal designer at MC Interiors, says. “It asks us to relax into nature and enjoy the experience of a bath or a shower.”
If you’ve been blessed with hardwood bathroom floors, great. If not, you can cozy up your space with a few accessories—like a teak bath stool or a wooden bath mat.
Mix and Match Your Furniture
Snagging a matching furniture set isn’t the only way to keep your space balanced. In fact, mixing and matching your furniture can look just as harmonious—and much more dynamic.
“Buying a living room set is like surrendering to the furniture gods—taking the easy and visually boring way out,” Betsy Helmuth, principal designer at Affordable Interior Design, says. “Designers look for things that go together but never came together. Do that, and your space will look professionally curated.”
Buying a living room set is like surrendering to the furniture gods—taking the easy and visually boring way out. Designers look for things that go together but never came together.
Create a Floor-to-Ceiling Palette
Not sure what to do with your trim? Try painting it the same color as your walls. “Paint your crown moldings and baseboards the same color as the wall,” Chiu says.
She adds that this is a particularly great choice in shorter rooms because the consistency of color will draw the eye upward—creating the illusion of more space. Meg Piercy, principal designer at MegMade, agrees, noting that this floor-to-ceiling approach can also be a great way to make a statement with a bold color.
Pair Bold Prints With Bold Colors
Many of us think we need to choose either a bold print or a bold color, but you can actually pair the two. “Bold paint colors in geometric patterns make a big impact in small spaces,” the Novogratz team says.
And if you’re not keen on committing to such a bold statement, remember that you can use peel-and-stick wallpaper to try it out temporarily. “Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a lifesaver if you're looking to spice up your space without the hassle of installing with paste,” Piercy says. “It's the perfect solution to creating a curated look on your walls—especially people who love to change up their space often.”
Decorate Your Ceiling
Interior design doesn’t stop at your walls and floors. Your ceilings also deserve some love, and they can be the perfect place to make a surprising statement. “We tend to forget about the fifth wall in our home—the ceiling,” Pyarali says.
She recommends using paint, wallpaper, exposed beams, or wood paneling to dress yours up.
Splurge on a Statement Mirror
Most bathrooms call for at least one mirror—and the right one can transform the rest of the room. “An interesting mirror defines a space,” the Novogratz team says. So, pair your bold backsplash with an even bolder mirror, and sprinkle in some statement lighting to match.
Invest in Your Entryway
Your entryway is the first thing guests will see when they walk into your home, so it needs to welcome them in, establish the visual tone of your space, and give them a place to store loose items. To get the job done, Melone Cloughen recommends pairing a plush rug with a sleek console table—and throwing in a storage basket, too.
And don't be afraid to take a few design risks. “Your entrance is a transitional space, so you can go bold with your designs,” she says.
Pair Conflicting Aesthetics
Remember that you don’t have to stick to just one era, palette, or general aesthetic. In fact, mixing and matching pieces from different décor styles can leave you with a space that feels texture and dynamic. “Mix and match styles,” the Novogratz team says. They recommend pairing rustic with modern, but plenty of other pairs would work, too.
Get Playful With Wallpaper
Wallpaper can be a fun way to add personality to your space, and since peel-and-stick options are so abundant, you can take risks without getting too committed.
Wallpaper is a great way to make a statement,” Chiu says. She recommends using wallpaper to create a focal point in a smaller space—like a powder room or hallway.
Use Mirrors to Open Up Your Space
The rumors are true: you really can use a mirror to make a room look and feel bigger. “Leaning a large mirror against a wall can make a room appear taller,” Chiu says. “The lines visually elongate your walls.”
She says drapes with vertical stripes can have a similar effect. Keep an eye out for a tall floor mirror that would look great in your space, and use it to open up the room.
Experiment With an Accent Wall
If you love the look of a bold color or print—but you’re not ready to fill a room with it—consider an accent wall. If you’re not sure where to put it, the Novogratz team has a little advice.
“An accent wall is a great way to highlight a feature or area of a room, or disguise an element that you don't like,” they say. Look for an area you’d like to highlight—or hide—and put your accent wall there.
Add Touches That Feel Uniquely Yours
When designing your space, don’t worry about simply recreating what you’ve seen before. Try to incorporate yourself—and your housemates—into your design choices.
“One of my favorite pieces of advice is to have my clients show their personality in their space,” Rebecca Langman, principal designer at Revision Custom Home Design, says. “Spaces that are designer only will rarely feel like home.”
She recommends mixing family photos and homemade artwork into gallery walls and sprinkling other memorable items around the house.
Choose a Flexible Neutral Palette
One of the first steps you can take when designing your space? Picking your palette. And if you want something versatile, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with neutrals.
“When designing anything, I always think about flexibility,” Savannah Phillips, interior designer at The Knobs Company, says. “Using neutrals is a way to create an interior that can be coordinated with ever-changing furnishings, finishes, and décor.”
Put Pretty Must-Haves on Display
Every kitchen is filled with glassware, dinnerware, and more. And these necessities need somewhere to go. One idea? Let them double as décor.
“Display beautiful plates and glasses on open shelves for functionality and style,” Esther Dormer, interior designer at Dormer Design, says. Of course, you can extend this idea well beyond the kitchen—and into any other room with pretty stuff you need to store.
Add Pops of Nostalgia
Homes are great places for creating and storing memories, and you can easily weave this nostalgia into your décor scheme. “I like to incorporate nostalgia in unexpected ways,” Lorenz says. Look for old family photos, antique heirlooms, vintage quilts, and other special pieces, and use them the way you’d use more classic decor.
Sneak in Storage Where You Can
Storage is essential in any home, and you don’t have to use massive containers to get the job done. “Visual clutter is mental clutter, so aiming to make your physical environment more minimal can create more calm in your life,” Josie Abate, founder and design director of Ambience Design Group, says. “You can achieve this through selecting quality statement pieces that are multi-use.”
Keep an eye out for storage ottomans, nesting tables, or benches with built-in drawers. These pieces can maximize your storage setup—without demanding any extra space.
Give Your Home a Sense of Place
When designing your home, consider where you live and pay homage to it. “Use local materials, color palettes, textures, and images to tell the story of the area,” Lorenz says. “It makes for an authentic, timeless space that is well-rooted in the past, but current and relevant decades later.”
Use Shelves for Form and Function
There are two kinds of storage: open and closed. Closed storage solutions—like cabinets—conceal items, and open storage solutions—like shelves—put them on full display. This means your shelf isn’t just a storage essential, it’s also a form of décor, and anything you put on it will double as décor, too.
“I love open shelving because you can not only show off your necessities, but you can also accessorize them in any way,” Clark says. She recommends adorning your shelves with picture frames, knickknacks, and other trinkets you haven’t found a home for yet.
Build a Mini Office
You don’t need a designated home office to have a work-from-home space. So keep an eye out for nooks and crannies that are currently underutilized—and that could become your next home office.
“You could convert a closet into a mini office,” Lisa Cini, senior living interior designer at Mosaic Design Studio, says. “Though it may not be perfect, if you can use technology or great design to reduce the amount of stress, then you're winning.”
Give Your Oldest Pieces a Makeover
If an older piece no longer suits your space, consider whether you could revamp it. “You can take an old piece and completely repurpose it to match your personality and style,” Piercy says.
Paint a vintage table, reupholster an antique couch, or tackle one of those DIY projects you bookmarked forever ago. “They don't make furniture like they used to,” Piercy says. “So, it's the best of both worlds getting a great piece that can also now fit your home's look.”
Colorblock Your Décor
Color makes a classic addition to any home, but what if you clustered all that color into one spot—or onto one wall? “Color blocking is a great way to incorporate some of your favorite hues while keeping the space looking elegant and chic,” Abate says. “In a classic interior, walls are typically painted neutral colors, while artwork and accessories can incorporate more vibrant colors and patterns.”
This approach makes it easy to swap out décor over time without having to repaint your space.
Add Light With a Mirror
Mirrors aren’t just decorative—they can also serve a function in your space. “Many people add mirrors to their space as artwork,” Pyarali says. “But, let’s not forget what they’re really made to do—reflect.”
Don’t just hang a mirror to fill space. Consider what that mirror will be reflecting. One no-fail option? Hanging your mirror opposite a window, where it can reflect natural light into your space.
Try a Two-Tone Kitchen
Picking a kitchen cabinet color is always a big deal, but remember that you don’t have to commit to just one shade. “The two-tone kitchen is a classic design favorite of mine because it's always unexpected,” Clark says.
You can paint your top and bottom cabinets two different colors, or you could take a page from Clark’s book and paint your island a statement-making shade.
Invest in an Eye-Catching Rug
Rugs may seem like an obvious décor choice, but there’s a reason they’re so classic. “Spreading a large area rug on the floor of any room can tie everything together and give the room a polished look,” Andrea DelMonico, lead interior designer at Trendey, says. “The large rug anchors furniture, dampens sound, and gives the room a cozier feel.”
If a large area rug feels too obvious, you can always layer a couple of different rugs, Dormer says.
Design Vertically and Horizontally
When many of us decorate, we work from eye level down to the floor. But, don’t forget to look up—there’s plenty of vertical space to take advantage of, too.
“Add custom cabinets all the way to the ceiling,” Cini says, noting that her favorite trick is to paint these cabinets the same color as the walls. “You'll gain lots of storage space but barely notice that they've been added to a room.”
Let Your Art Inform Your Palette
Many of us start with a palette then select art that suits it. But, what if we reversed this process? “Use artwork to inspire the colors of a space,” Abate says. “You can pick out wall colors, furniture, carpet, and accessories from shades you see in the art.”
This may seem revolutionary, but it’s a great option for anyone who’s already stocked up on art.
Try a Surprising Tile Choice
Paint isn’t the only way to establish your color scheme. The materials lining your floor can be just as important. So, why not opt for something surprising?
“Black tile is unexpected and wears well in public spaces,” the Novogratz team says. Consider taking a risk on some dark, moody tiles—especially if you’re decorating a high-traffic area, like a guest bathroom.
Keep Your Lines Clean
Furniture can get expensive, so it’s worth it to invest in a few pieces you can carry from home to home. “One of my all-time favorite ways to design a home is to use clean lines and a more minimalistic approach,” Phillips says. “As the big trendy décor items fly in and out of trend, basic geometrical furniture pieces are ever-present.”
Remember, you can always swap out smaller items like décor and accessories, so sticking with the same clean furniture doesn’t have to mean crafting a boring interior.
Pair New With Old
Antiques may seem out of place in a contemporary space, but the truth is, very different eras can pair very well together.
“One of my favorite ways to design a space is by mixing contemporary design with antiques,” Jan Rutgers, co-owner of JANGEORGe Interiors & Furniture, says. “The juxtaposition of these two styles can give a super personalized stylish look to any space.”
Experiment With a Few Black Accents
Dark colors tend to add depth to a palette, and if you don’t want to commit to a dark coat of paint, you can always sprinkle in a few dark accents.
“While often a feared or shamed design choice, I cannot get enough of black or gray designs,” Phillips says. “If you are not fully committed to a fully black home, using dark accents on the doors, windows, and other decorative items can be a way to incorporate dark colors without going all out.”
Keep Comfort in Mind
A beautiful space is just about useless if you don’t want to spend time in it, so don’t just think about the way you want your space to look—consider how you want it to feel, too.
“Style is important, but comfort is king,” the Novogratz team says. Stock up on some lounge-worthy finds, and pro tip: always test out the furniture before you buy it.
Bring Color Into Your Kitchen
Kitchens are often crisp, clean, and light-filled, but they can also handle a fair amount of color.
“Color, light, and design are key to creating a kitchen that will increase feelings of calm and minimize stress,” Nicole Michael, interior designer at Nicole Michael Designs, says. Paint your cabinets, stock up on vibrant glassware, or take a risk on a bold backsplash.
Make Your Furniture Multitask
If you’re navigating a small space, look for ways to make your furniture multitask. Could an upholstered stool double as a side table? “Have furniture that is useful for more than one thing,” Melone Cloughen says. This could be a desk that doubles as a buffet—or even a bench that doubles as a coffee table, she says.
Celebrate the Space You Have
Keep an eye out for special features in your home, and try to preserve them where you can. Stained glass windows, ornate trim, and built-in archways aren’t the kind of thing you’ll find everywhere, so try to integrate them into your décor scheme.
“Keep elements of the original home,” Dormer says. “It will give you an attachment to the history of the place that adds a depth of flavor.”
Spring for Some Window Treatments
Window treatments may seem unnecessary, but they can transform a space. And yes, they’re worth the investment.
“Drapes are always worth the cost,” Brenna Morgan, interior designer at Brenna Morgan Interiors, says. “They can frame a beautiful view or add interest to a boring view. I never do a room without window treatments.”
Pick One Color Constant
It’s reasonable to switch up your palette from room to room, but try to keep at least one color consistent throughout your space to create more visual harmony. Dormer recommends sticking to one wall color or one-floor design and using furniture to switch things up from there.
Keep Your Structure Simple
Think about the items that will stay in your space for a while and try to keep these timeless. “It's much easier to swap out a pillow than to rip out a backsplash in the kitchen,” Kylie Bodiya, interior designer at Bee’s Knees Interior Design Studio, says.
She recommends sticking to classics and neutrals—especially when it comes to the structure of your home. “Make sure that the bones of the home are good quality and timeless,” she says. “If the bones are timeless, then you can do anything you want with color and pattern to change up the look.”
If the bones are timeless, then you can do anything you want with color and pattern to change up the look.
Combine Different Metals
Spoiler alert: your hardware doesn’t have to match. “Don't be afraid to mix metals,” Chiu says. “Adding unexpected metals can make a room feel unique and timeless.” Pair glossy gold lighting fixtures with matte black drawer pulls, or get even more obld than that.
Balance and asymmetry aren’t mutually exclusive. Just ask Kristin Bartone, creative director and principal designer at Kristin Bartone Interiors.
“I typically create balanced, but asymmetrical spaces that spark interest,” she says. To pull it off, she lays out her interiors using a nine-square grid (a popular concept in architecture and interior design).
Start With a Fabric You Love
If you’ve fallen in love with a striking fabric, consider using that as your starting point. “I always start with fabric,” Morgan says. “From fabrics, you can choose your overall color palette.” Then, you can work your way to paints, prints, textures, and more.
Bring Mother Nature Indoors
Plants make a classic addition to any home, and if you have a black thumb, you can swap live plants with other natural elements, like branches, shells, and crystals. “Any natural element that resonates with you is the ideal choice,” Melone Cloughen says.
Free Up Space With Sconces
Ceiling lights and table lamps may be popular lighting choices, but they’re not your only options. Wall-mounted lights like sconces can look just as striking and be just as useful.
“We love adding hard-wired wall sconces in bedrooms because it draws the eyes up when you walk into the space,” Clark says. “This design idea is also great because it frees up space on your nightstand for extra accessories.”
Sprinkle in Some Color
All-white interiors may be all the rage these days, but don’t be afraid to bring color into your space. “Yes, white space is important,” Piercy says. “But, adding pops of color throughout your home gives your eyes a place to land.” Invest in some colorful furniture—or at the very least, some colorful accessories.
Invest in Your Finishing Touches
Bring your space together with some thoughtfully chosen accessories.
“I like to finish with an extra 10% of styling—just a few little things that can be used as conversation starters or fidgets for uncomfortable guests,” Bartone says. Think: dominoes, games, sculptures, and more. “These are items clients don’t think they need, but once they are in the space, they love”
Never Stop Decorating
Your home doesn’t have to come together all at once. And even if it does, you can swap out décor and furniture as your tastes change.
“As you grow and evolve over the years, so should your home,” Pyarali says. “Changing up seasonal décor and adding 1–2 larger pieces a year will help your home feel renewed and in alignment with your current preferences.”