What do the designers see?

An interior designer’s eye is different. Instant reactions to what’s happening in a room are second nature to those who design for a living. After some informal chats with the interior designers in our HomeStores, we decided to poll our creative audience in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio—asking some of our designers to talk about what things they notice when they enter a home for the first time. From entryways to hallways, here’s what our designers had to say!


“I think I always look at the floors first, then work my way up. I look at placement of furniture and then how the walls are decorated. Eventually, I look at the ceiling to see light fixtures or any fun details. While I am scanning the space, I am always thinking what could make the space better. Overall, I pay the most attention to furniture and the space planning.” – Vera


“As a designer, when I enter a new space or new home, I’m usually on sensory overload. I take in the whole space. What I probably notice first is the amount of lighting, as well as any fragrances. After that, I start to pick up on the whole vibe or emotion of the space and how that is directly correlated to the colors within the room. My eyes are then searching for focal points—and hoping that it isn’t a multitude of clutter. Once I can digest all of that, I’m usually trying to remember that there is probably a person in front of me that requires the attention of my wandering eyes. Then I start sneaking peaks of all of the other things… flooring, finishes, furniture, artwork, textiles, textures, etc. Oh, and I always tend to notice awesome doors! I love arched tops, little window cut outs, and when a door is painted in a darker color. I like how anchoring a dark door helps bounce my eyes back around to the artwork and accessories in the rest of the room.” – Matthew


“When I first enter a home, I take it all in as a whole. I love a lived in, loved home. Especially if I know the person who lives there. I can see their personality in what they’ve chosen to surround themselves with. I sneak peaks at everything I can, and then usually, at the same time, I’m looking for any signs they have animals to pet!” – Sarah


“When I first enter a home I can’t help to just see where my eye goes. I love to find the focal point of the space. I love to dissect what was the inspiration for the whole look? I go from there and look around. I look at the furniture placement… if it makes sense or if there is a better way to make it look more inviting. I also look to see what the theme or color story is. I feel color tells a lot about the person and their interests. I always look at all the small details—pictures, small knick knacks… this is where the person’s personal touch shines.” – Michaela


“When entering someone’s home, I first take in the basics like if the room is full or not. I look at color and wall art. I love when homes have interesting wall art. I also notice if there are prints, whether it’s on the couch, curtains, or in art. Print designs are personal; I can get a sense of the person’s style by what they chose.” – Anna


“The first thing I see when entering a home is either the pets or the kids. If there is a dog, I will notice nothing else. If there are kids, then I usually notice the mess (but that’s parent life, I guess!) Next, I notice the color, and if there is a non-neutral color scheme. I think I see the biggest, heaviest pieces first, like the sofa or TV and entertainment pieces. then I start seeing the decorations. My house is always under some kind of renovation, so messy houses don’t bother me, but it also makes me always see what needs straightening. When I walk into a beautiful, neat, organized house, I am a child of color and see whatever is bright and beautiful in front and center. – Alicia


And there you have it… a glimpse into what designers might see in your home. We hope you have a blast making your home you, using the inspiration from our team!

But, do your spices match?

It’s like a dream. After months of browsing online and a few visits to your favorite stores, you found the perfect furniture, fixtures, and matching accessories for your home. Everything is placed precisely where you want it, just the way you like it. Hammers and nails are back where they belong, hidden from daylight in the garage or toolbox or garbage can depending on how bad the excess nail holes got.

You look around. You like what you see… but, something still feels off… and you can’t put your finger on what it is.

Ashley HomeStore kitchen accessories

You look around. You like what you see… but, something still feels off… and you can’t put your finger on what it is.

Ladies, I’ve been there, and what I’ve figured out after quite a few moves—and an unreasonable love of redesigning all of my rooms on a whim—is that it might not be just one thing. It’s probably a few (or a lot) of little things that you don’t notice because, well, you’re all wrapped up in living there. Your blind eye takes over—and can you blame your eyes for taking a break? You just spent the last 3 hours pining over precise furniture placement and obsessing over shades of gray. Those mamas have had it.

Here are a few super easy things you can do to put the finishing touches to your home design… and they’re probably things you maybe never even noticed. These are little things that—piddly as they may be—once you change them, you’ll see a huge collective difference (and maybe never see your room the same again).

Is your spice rack in harmony?

Tidying up your kitchen design can be way lower maintenance than new appliances, countertops, and heavy cleaning.

Just stop and look around. First, notice where your spices are strewn. If they’re out in the open, do they have a nice place to live? Do the lids all match?

Trust me on this one. As obsessive compulsive as it may seem, I never even thought about this until one day I walked in my kitchen and saw it. Green lids, black lids, red, white… you name it, I had the colors of the rainbows in there, and not in the good way!

Arrange those little pops of flavor and turn them into big pops of design. Get some matching lids—one color only, please—and you’ll be shocked at the tidy (not tiny) difference it makes. And, if you’re feeling as bold as the contents of your cayenne pepper jar, empty the contents into clear glass containers and celebrate all the beautiful, spicy colors. One simple search on Pinterest or Etsy is just about all it takes to get all the ideas you need. Here are a few I found:

Source: Live Simply