The Most Expensive Design Lesson I've Learned from interior designer Lesley Myrick

The most expensive design lesson I’ve ever learned (and the most important lesson too!) is to trust my gut. Because when I don’t trust my gut, bad things happen. Like an abandoned toilet left behind in the middle of a bathroom full of…well, full of pee. A full toilet that I had to carry outside and shove in the trunk of my car.

Yes, it was as disgusting as it sounds.

“Trust your gut” isn’t just a cute, trite little quotable. This was a lesson that cost me real money, real time, and real embarrassment in front of a real client. (#facepalm) Here’s the story.

The Most Expensive Design Lesson I’ve Learned

For a bathroom remodel project a couple of years ago, I needed to hire a contractor for some last-minute help. I was trying to schedule this while I was out of town and my favorite go-to contractor wasn’t available.

Our policy at Lesley Myrick Art + Design has always been to meet with people before we hire them to get to know them and make sure they’re a good fit. It’s important to me that I trust anyone I hire on for a project and that they have integrity.

In this case, I was desperate and I broke my own rule of meeting contractors before we start working together (big mistake!). Since I was in a pinch, I was referred to a contractor by someone I knew and went ahead and hired him after just a brief phone call. I was skeptical – there were a few red flags on our call – but felt relieved that he was able to come through in a pinch. After all, how bad could it be?

Transitional bathroom with white cabinets and grey marble

What I didn’t know…

…was that this contractor was not even really a contractor. He was just a “handy” friend of a professional acquaintance who was struggling, and she wanted to give him a chance.

Had I taken the time to meet him and listen to the gut feeling I had about him, I could’ve saved myself a lot of time, money, and embarrassment.

So what happened?

This “contractor” did some demolition, electrical work, and plumbing – and all three of those were done wrong. Nothing was up to code, nothing looked right, and nothing worked.

I paid out of my own pocket to hire three new qualified tradespeople – a plumber, an electrician, and a painter – to fix all the problems that he had created. I felt like I had failed my client, and I was absolutely mortified!

When I met the contractor the first day at the client’s home, my gut told me that he wasn’t the right person for this job – but I knew the job had to get done and I was so focused on keeping the project on track that I didn’t tune in to what I was really feeling. I let my logical brain stomp all over my intuition.

And so, not only was the work done poorly and not up to my standards, it was done so badly that I had to eat the cost of redoing the whole project. For a brand-new business owner, the financial hit was painful – but it was the right thing to do. It’s the most expensive design lesson I’ve learned, and I will never make the same mistake again.

Bathroom vanity with teal accessories and marble countertop

Okay fine, but what about the toilet?

Before we wrapped the project up, there was the toilet.

One of the tasks the contractor handled was removing the client’s existing toilet and installing the new one we had specified. I’m sure you’ve already guessed, but of course the new toilet wasn’t installed properly and I brought in a licensed plumber to fix things.

But before the plumber arrived, the contractor removed the old toilet, left it in the middle of the client’s bathroom floor…

…and then peed in it.

That is what I walked into on a routine site visit. A used, disconnected toilet sitting in the middle of the room, full of urine.

I mean, can you even believe that?

My sweet husband (I owe him one!) and I carried that toilet out, and put it in the trunk of our car, and drove it away.

If I had trusted my gut,

I would have saved myself weeks of headache, lost time, and lost income. I also would’ve saved myself the experience of hauling a full toilet out of a client’s house, which is something I can’t say I ever want to do again.

Dreamy soaking tub by Lake Hill Builders and Lesley Myrick Art + Design

Trust your gut.

There’s going to be a little feeling, a little nudge – and it’s so easy to tune it out. It’s so easy to discount that feeling and not think that it’s important.

But that little gut feeling is what’s standing between you and an expensive design mistake. Trust your gut when choosing a designer, architect, or contractor to work with. Trust your gut when choosing paint colors (because your gut rarely wants you to have beige walls – you know it’s whispering for navy!).

Don’t let your design mistake be settling for a boring beige rug. Listen to the whisper and spring for the hot pink Aztek-inspired rug that makes your heart beat just a little faster.

Listen to that little tiny nudge, that little feeling, even if you can’t explain it and even if it feels kind of scary. You’ll never regret going with your gut.

The Most Expensive Design Lesson I've Learned
What if your living room doesn't have enough seating? Try this...

What if your living room doesn’t have enough seating?

This is a really common problem. Our living rooms might suit our immediate families – there’s enough for four butts comfortably – but when you’re hosting a party, have out-of-town family visiting, or just have friends over, there’s nowhere to sit. Short of buying a bigger house or using folding chairs (ick!) there actually are things you can do to increase the number of seats in your living room pretty easily.

And yes, it does mean buying new furniture, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as completely redesigning your living room.

When a living room doesn't have enough seating I recommend adding benches or ottomans - or heck, both if you've got the space for 'em! In front of the fireplace is a great opportunity to add a bench and have your guests, perch there when they're over for a party. This space is often underused in a living room, and there might be more room there than you think.

What if your living room doesn’t have enough seating?

Introduce a bench or ottomans.

When a living room doesn’t have enough seating I recommend adding benches or ottomans – or heck, both if you’ve got the space for ’em! In front of the fireplace is a great opportunity to add a bench and have your guests, perch there when they’re over for a party. This space is often underused in a living room, and there might be more room there than you think.

Swap your hard coffee table for a soft surface.

When seating is short in a living room, consider replacing a hard metal or wood coffee table with an upholstered ottoman. For daily use, a large tray on the ottoman will give you that tabletop surface you’re looking for. But when you’re entertaining that tray can come off and you have another place for people to sit and chat in your space.

If you happen to have enough space behind your sofa, a sofa table or a console table behind it with a couple of benches or stools tucked underneath is a really chic vignette.  And then - spoiler alert! - those little stools come out and you can put them wherever you need when you're having a party.

Rock a console table with stools underneath.

If you happen to have enough space behind your sofa, a sofa table or a console table behind it with a couple of benches or stools tucked underneath is a really chic vignette. And then – spoiler alert! – those little stools come out and you can put them wherever you need when you’re having a party.

There are creative ways to get more seating incorporated in your living room, with small scale furniture – which I don’t always recommend, but in this case if everything else in your space is the right proportion and scale it can be a really nice mix.

Although we’re still somewhat sheltering-in-place, life is starting to open up and entertaining at home is becoming a doable again. (Woohoo!) If your living room doesn’t have enough seating, these tips can help you make space in your home for your favorite peeps.

What if your living room doesn't have enough seating? Here are 3 ideas from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Don't get stuck with crappy seating! Here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.

Confession time: I’ve made some major interior design mistakes before. Instead of letting them bum me out, I’m choosing to learn from them and share them with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did! I’ve purchased a lot of furniture for myself and my clients over the years, and here’s what I wish I’d known about buying accent chairs.

Confession time: I've made some major interior design mistakes before. Instead of letting them bum me out, I'm choosing to learn from them and share them with you so that you don't make the same mistakes I did! I've purchased a lot of furniture for myself and my clients over the years, and here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.

What I Wish I’d Known About Buying Accent Chairs

See these beautiful cognac leather wing chairs? I LOVE THEM. The leather is buttery soft and perfectly distressed, the nailheads are antiqued just enough to look legit, and the high back and wings are beautifully proportioned.

All of those things I was able to discover with material samples, online images, and detailed dimensions.

But what I didn’t do before buying these chairs was butt test them.

No Butt Test = No Bueno

While I thought I did my due diligence by ordering samples and confirming measurements, what I didn’t do was get my body into a showroom or store to actually sit in these chairs.

What I would have discovered is that while beautiful, they’re very upright – and I was hoping for a chair that was a bit more relaxed and slouchy. The nailheads down the wings and arms look great, but they hurt a bit when you rest your arms on them! While these chairs would be amazing for a more formal living room, I like to curl up and read and these chairs don’t quite do it for me.

How to buy the perfect accent chair for your living room!

I always recommend trying out seating in person before purchasing.

If you’re buying accent chairs, or a sofa, or another piece of upholstery, it’s worth the time and effort to see if a local store or showroom has one on the floor that you can test before purchasing. Everyone likes different things about their seating – firm or soft seat cushions, loose or tight back cushions, a square or scooped arm. The best way to tell if a piece of furniture is right for you, your lifestyle, and your needs is to sit in it and see how you feel. You’ll know right away if it’s the right piece for you.

But what if a Butt Test Isn’t Possible?

I’ve purchased most of my furniture (and so have most of my clients) without getting to sit in it first. It’s not always possible to get your booty into a furniture sample, especially if you don’t live near the vendor you’re ordering from, or the piece is being custom-made for you. Here’s what I recommend instead.

3 Tips for Buying Accent Chairs Online:

  1. Carefully read reviews. Look for comments that talk about fit, comfort, and durability of the piece. Take outlying complainers with a grain of salt – but if you see several comments about one particular aspect of the chair, pay attention.
  2. Measure an existing piece of furniture that you have and love, and compare measurements. If your current accent chair has a seat depth of 22″ but the one you’re planning to order is only 20″ deep, it might be too shallow to be comfortable for you.
  3. Pay attention to how the chair is constructed. Quality construction often means a more comfortable piece of furniture (although not always, as some of that is just personal preference about measurements and proportions). Here’s a quick guide to common terms you’ll hear when it comes to upholstered furniture construction.
Don't make the same mistake I did! Here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.
Grab this FREE area rug size guide from interior designer Lesley Myrick

I’m a HUGE fan of decorating with color and pattern, and area rugs are an awesome way to introduce both into your home. But how do you choose the right-sized rug? It’s tricky when you’re in a store and a rug looks huge – but then you get it home, and it’s about the size of a postage stamp. (Whomp whomp.) That’s why I’ve created a free area rug size guide that you can download right here.

In general, bigger is better.

The most common mistake I see with area rugs is choosing ones that are too small. I know it can feel scary to pull the trigger on a large rug, but trust me, it’s worth it for the visual impact it has on a space! Here’s a room-by-room look at the best rug sizes.

In a bedroom with a queen-size bed,

6×9 is about the smallest size that. works. An 8×10 is even better and will ensure that the bed and nightstands will be happily situated on the rug. For a room with a king-size bed, go bigger if you can. 8×10 works, but a 9×12 feels large and luxurious.

Wondering what size rug to put in your bedroom? Check out this free rug size guide.

In the living room,

beware of the dreaded POSTAGE STAMP RUG! You know – when a rug is so small that it just sits in front of all of the furniture looking like a teeny tiny postage stamp? A 4×6 or even 5×7 rug won’t cut it. 6×9 is about the smallest rug that’ll look right in your room, and again, bigger is going to be better.

Is a larger rug more expensive? Of course. But is it going to make the difference between your room looking piecemeal or perfectly polished? Absolutely. Save your money on the accent chairs no one will use, and invest in the perfect rug instead.

In the dining room,

there’s one key thing to remember when choosing your area rug size – and that is that you’ll want to leave around 2′ of space between the edge of your dining table and the edge of the rug. That leaves enough space for your chairs to be pulled in and out comfortably without falling off the edge of the rug (which is the literal worst).

Wondering what size rug to put in your living room or dining room? Download this free rug size guide.

What if your rug is too small – but you love it?

If you already have an area rug you love but it’s just too darn small, there is a solution – and that’s to layer it over a larger rug. In the colorful living room below, we layered a plush (but small) sheepskin over a large round leopard-print rug. Layered rugs add depth, dimension, and interest to a room and are most successful when one rug is patterned and exciting, and the other is simpler and more subdued.

What if your rug is too small - but you love it? If you already have an area rug you love but it's just too darn small, there is a solution - and that's to layer it over a larger rug.

Grab your FREE area rug size guide.

You can download your free area rug size guide right here. The visual guides and design tips included will help you choose an ideally sized rug for your living room, dining room, and bedroom. I’ve also shared some examples of area rugs that are the wrong size, and why. I hope this is a useful tool for you as you start rug shopping!

Download this FREE area rug size guide from interior designer Lesley Myrick

All month we’ve been talking about color, so today I’m re-posting the 6 best paint colors for walls, trim, cabinets, and more. This is one of our most popular blog posts so if you missed it before, I hope it’s a useful resource for you now!


Now, don’t die of shock: 4 of the 6 best paint colors for walls, trim, and cabinets I’ve chosen are neutrals.

That’s right.

Your color-loving designer pal has chosen white, greys, and even BEIGE as her favorites!

There is a method to my madness, I promise. While a dramatic blue wall color can be awesome in certain rooms (like my Dark Night bedroom below), most of the time your walls are best treated as the backdrop and not the center of attention. Paint is cheap, and is meant to highlight the other amazing parts of a room design. No one wants to invest thousands in gorgeous living room furnishings and decor only for their friends to comment on how much they loooooove that $30 wall color!

So, what are my favorite paint colors? I’m glad you asked.

The best deep, dark, super sexy paint color for walls: Sherwin-Williams Dark Night

Best navy paint color: Sherwin-Williams Dark Night

Let’s hear it for MY FAVORITE PAINT COLOR EVER, Dark Night. I’m obsessed with this inky peacock blue with just a hint of teal in it. It’s navy with a badass twist. My master bedroom is this color, as are my front door and exterior shutters – what can I say, I really do love it! I’ve also convinced clients to paint with this color too. *insert evil laughter here*

Dark Night is the artsty cool girl in highschool who wears killer eye makeup and oozes confidence, and you just want to be around her and hope some of her cool-factor rubs off on you.

The best livable neutral with a little green in it: Sherwin-Williams Relaxed Khaki

Best neutral paint color: Sherwin-Williams Relaxed Khaki

I’ve loved my living room in Relaxed Khaki. Crazy how different it looks in the space than on this color swatch, right? It’s not beige (despite kind of looking like it…shhh!) but is an easy, livable, earthy neutral. In my home it really reads as green, but in other spaces it looks more like a true khaki.

Relaxed Khaki is like that hot dad at the playground – he’s not what you’d usually go for and is more boring and stable than you are, but somehow that’s really attractive.

The best medium-ish gray for cabinetry: Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray

Best gray paint color: Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray

Anyone else start singing “Aaaamazing graaay, how sweet the sound”…? Amazing Gray is a great medium gray that I’ve used on cabinetry before and loved the results. It’s not too purple or blue, and it pairs really nicely with marble and metallics.

Amazing Gray is kind of cocky (I mean really, that name!) but you can’t argue with the fact that he really is pretty amazing.

The best light grey for walls: Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray

Best gray paint color: Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray

Just like 7Up is the “agreeable soda” – meaning that pretty much everyone will drink it even if it’s not their absolute fave – Agreeable Gray is a pretty safe bet for your walls. It’s light, soft grey that runs just a little on the greige side with a touch of brown in it. I like to design with a LOT of color (hello, have we met?) and Agreeable Gray creates the perfect neutral canvas so that the art, lighting, furnishings, and rugs can take all the attention.

Agreeable Gray is like your boring neighbor that you like just fine, but he’s not the most charismatic guy. But you just like him, you know? Even if you can’t always remember his name.

The best crispy fresh white for alllll the walls and trim: Sherwin-Williams Extra White

Best white paint color: Sherwin-Williams Extra White

I’ve had my fair share of battles with white paint, and I’ve found a hands-down winner – Extra White. It’s not too yellow, not too blue, and really pops against bright and rich colors. All of my interior doors and trim and ceilings are in Extra White. So fresh and so clean.

Extra White is totally the over-achiever (you know: class president, valedictorian, straight-A student) of whites, and no other white even comes close. But he deserves all the accolades, even if you’re a little jealous of his success.

The best chartreuse  for a killer pop of color: Benjamin Moore Citron

Best bold paint color: Benjamin Moore Citron

Citron is like, THE BEST yellow-green ever. Benjamin Moore says that, “a generous dose of green gives this earthy, organic yellow a mellow, somewhat mysterious quality.” Mysterious? I don’t know about that. But I DO know that this electric chartreuse is my fave for adding a burst of color to a baby change table (which we did in Ford’s nursery), an interior door, or an accent table.

Citron is like biting into a lemon and making a killer sour face, but secretly you really like it and will probably do it again.

Want to know more of my favorite paint colors? I’ve got a FREE blue and teal paint color guide for you. Download it right here. 

5 Reasons You Need Both Color and Neutrals - design tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick

It’s no secret I love color – hello, my obsession with teal is loud and proud. But while I’m always your cheerleader for adding color and pattern to truly express yourself at home, there are 5 reasons you need both color and neutrals in interior design.

1. To Create Contrast.

Because too much of one thing is boring! Contrast is one of the principles of design that makes things interesting. Too much of the same is boring, but too many competing elements is distracting. I like to use neutrals as the foundation and allow color to be the contrasting element that gets your attention.

2. To Create a Focal Point.

Neutrals become the backdrop to bring color center stage. If you use neutrals to create contrast, you’ll be drawing the eye to the colored items – the fun stuff! In the photo below, the colorful trio of pillows and teal area rug are definitely where my eye lands first, and are the clear focal point in the room.

It’s only after you’ve checked out the pop of color that you start to notice the other beautiful neutrals elements, like the custom light-grey curved sofa and copper and iron nesting coffee tables.

Neutrals set the foundation to create a colorful focal point.

5 Reasons You Need Both Color and Neutrals - design tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick

3. To Create Balance.

Too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing! Too many safe neutral colors can mean a room becomes a total snooze, but on the flip side, an extreme room bursting with color can make your eyeballs want to pop out. A mix of color and neutrals feels balanced and harmonious.

4. To Keep the Crazy Under Control.

You might not believe this as I’m always encouraging people to “bust out of boring”, but I actually think too much color isn’t a good thing! I’ve seen plenty of designer rooms with color and pattern everywhere, and while they may look incredible in a magazine or a showhouse, they just don’t feel all that livable. (And honestly, they’re probably not. Many homes like that were designed totally for show and for the shock factor.)

I want to live in a home that’s livable, delightful, and unexpected – not a total assault on the eyes. Mixing neutrals and colors keeps the crazy under control.

Before and After: A Fresh + Cozy Waco Living Room designed by Lesley Myrick with a custom curved sectional and colorful pillows in teal, chartreuse, and red.

5. Because they’re both awesome!

Neutrals can be boring (hello, builder’s beige walls) but they sure don’t have to be. Neutrals can be rich, livable, and exciting when you introduce a variety of textures and finishes. A beige microfiber couch and matching loveseat is a total snooze; but a cream performance fabric sofa, inlaid wood coffee table, hammered metal accent table, and white faux-fur pillow combo is super chic, sexy, and touchable. And then – add some colorful pillows, a gorgeous area rug and a few well-chosen accessories. BOOM. Nailed it.

Whether you love neutrals, color, or both,

it’s essential to know your style so that you can create a room that truly feels like you. Here’s a fun, free quiz to discover your true design style – and you’ll also get a shoppable style board with furniture and decor I’ve curated just for you.

Why Bobby Berk is the Most Under-Appreciated Member of Queer Eye
Photo: BobbyBerk.com

Alright guys, it’s time for a little #realtalk about Queer Eye on Netflix. (You’ve seen it, right?) We all love Jonathan’s outrageous personality and Karamo’s cool composure, Tan’s fabulous fashion sense and of course, Antoni’s cooking. (And his pecs, if I’m being totally honest.) But let’s get real for a minute: while their roles and guidance are essential to the show’s success, their workload is NOWHERE NEAR what Bobby has to take on! Here’s why Bobby Berk is the most under-appreciated member of Queer Eye.

Why Bobby Berk is the Most Under-Appreciated Member of Queer Eye - insights from interior designer Lesley Myrick
All photos: Christopher Smith

Queer Eye is a perfect example of the “HGTV effect”.

The HGTV effect is the way that television shows have made interior design, home renovations, and home flipping look easy, fast, and affordable. And if you’ve ever tried to redo an entire home like Bobby does on each Queer Eye episode, you’ll know that it takes so much longer (and can cost so much more) than television shows would lead you to believe.

Love Bobby Berk! Here's why he deserves more credit on Queer Eye.

For reference, from start to finish,

a living room project at Lesley Myrick Art + Design can take 95 hours, a master bedroom 75 hours, a home office 75 hours, and a kitchen makeover (with no construction, just a refresh) can take 60 hours. I know – those numbers are probably waaaaay beyond what you expected!

Remember, these are the all-in totals: everything from initial client meetings, site measurements, design and specifications, procuring products, supervising construction and installation, sourcing accessories, and – finally – styling the space for a big HGTV-worthy reveal.

Love Bobby Berk! Here's why he deserves more credit on Queer Eye.

The scope of work for Bobby –

– and his team, since he obviously doesn’t do this all by himself – is absolutely massive for a whole-home makeover. And on a tight deadline, no less! I give Bobby major props for pulling together what he does with the limited time and resources he has. It’s no easy feat – and he makes it look easy. Furniture goes out of stock, items arrive damaged, and things can go missing in transit. To get an entire home pulled together in a week is a major accomplishment.

It always makes me laugh

to see what the other Fab Five do as part of their transformation. Cook a few meals, buy a few new clothes, and give a great haircut. Important, yes – but time-consuming, not really.

And then there’s Bobby Berk, the most under-appreciated member of Queer Eye…with barely any camera time because he’s working so hard to pull of total television magic!

Why Bobby Berk is the Most Under-Appreciated Member of Queer Eye

So Bobby Berk, I salute you.

You make interior design look easy, but I know it’s not. Thank you for showing us the power of busting out of boring and creating a kickass home you love. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.


WHAT’S YOUR TRUE DESIGN STYLE?

We know you’re not just modern or traditional – you’re way more stylish and interesting than that! So what’s your true design style? Take our fun quiz to learn what your true design style is (and get a shoppable style board to help create a kickass home you love!)

Interior designer (and professional organizer) Lesley Myrick's favorite storage bins and boxes

I love getting organized! And with Social Distancing in place for the foreseeable future and many of us unexpectedly at home full-time, this is a fabulous time to do it. I wanted to share my favorite storage bins and boxes with you to help get your drawers, cupboards, pantry, kids’ toys, and pretty much everything else into place.

Fun fact: in addition to a 15-year career in interior design, I’m also a former professional organizer. Creating a functional, organized home is just as important for me as designing a home that looks awesome and reflects your true style.

If you missed last week’s post with my number one home organizing tip, start there. And don’t miss the free download at the end of this post, with your printable shopping list and links to all of the storage pieces. (Right now though, it’s definitely better to shop online and stay home.)

Interior designer (and professional organizer) Lesley Myrick's favorite storage bins and boxes for the office

My favorite storage bins for the office:

IKEA KUGGIS boxes with lids are my go-to for storing art supplies, fabric and finish samples, papers, and pretty much everything else. I love that they stack, and I usually stick a removable label on ’em so I know what’s inside (because I have so many!).

IKEA KVISSLE magazine files are the best for magazine storage, hands down. They’re $15 for a set of two, which seems really steep for simple white magazine files. Buuuuut – these babies are made of metal, and hold up infinitely better than their cardboard counterparts.

Three Posts rattan baskets are pretty enough to leave out on display and they hold a ton! I use them to organize binders on my open office shelves, and because they have large, open handles, one basket holds my power bar and all of the cords and cables are concealed in this basket.

Interior designer (and professional organizer) Lesley Myrick's favorite storage bins and boxes for the kitchen

My favorite storage bins for the kitchen:

These white plastic slotted storage baskets are my go-to for storage in the fridge, freezer, pantry and beyond. In the freezer, I use them to organize and separate bagged veggies, breads, and meat. In the pantry, we use one bin for crackers, another for PB&J, etc. In the fridge, I keep cans and bottles together so it’s easy to pull out the basket and find what I need. Oh, and did I mention they’re from the dollar store?

For teeny tiny items in the kitchen, I love this interlocking drawer organizer set from Target. I have one set that keeps measuring spoons, bag clips, and other small thingies grouped together; and another set in my “junk drawer” to organize tape, batteries, and small tools.

Interior designer (and professional organizer) Lesley Myrick's favorite storage bins and boxes for the linen closet

My favorite storage bins for the linen closet:

The linen closet can quickly become a frightening abyss of bedsheets and old towels, but these foldable fabric baskets with rope handles are a lifesaver. I have one earmarked for each bed in the house – and only sheets for that bed go in there. Easy peasy. (Bonus: I also use these same fabric bins for kids toys since they’re a decent size and easy for little hands to carry.)

For bulkier items like towels and blankets, I love large fabric storage cubes like these. I group like items with like (one cube has all of our white bath towels, another has all of our printed beach towels) and love that I can pull out one bin to grab what I need without causing an avalanche of linens.

Here’s where to find my faves.

Want to grab your FREE shopping list printable with all of the links and resources shared in this post for my favorite storage bins and boxes? Download it right here.

The best design advice for DIY-ers to bust out of a boring home during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place.

The best design advice for DIY-ers

It’s a strange time in the world right now – we’re all staying home in a much-needed effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. “Normal” life is on pause for a while, and as the working mom of kids who are suddenly at home full-time (!) I am living through this incredibly challenging season right alongside you. But you know what?

I think it’s an awesome blessing. Because being at home means you can really WORK on your home, unapologetically! I mean, what else are you going to do?

The best design advice for DIY-ers to bust out of a boring home during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place.

This is an awesome time to tackle DIY projects around the house (or call a design professional for a virtual consultation) and I want to share with you the best design advice I have for DIY-ers:

Trust your gut when decorating.

Confidence is key, baby. And you’re probably more capable of tackling that wallpaper installation project or choosing a new sofa than you think.

You know that little “nudge” you get sometimes? That little feeling that tells you when something feels right (even if you can’t explain it) or wrong (even if you can’t explain it)? THAT is the magic stuff when it comes to interior design. For me, it’s a feeling of peaceful excitement when I know I’ve made the right decision, and also this little bit of uneasiness when something isn’t quite right.

The best design advice for DIY-ers to bust out of a boring home during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place.

The best design advice for DIY-ers isn’t really design advice at all. It’s all about listening to your intuition, and saying yes when you get that peaceful excited feeling (even if you’re not sure why!) and saying no when something feels inexplicably “off”.

I’m a big believer that “useful and beautiful are all you need” at home. It’s kind of along the same lines as Marie Kondo urging us to tune into what sparks joy. For me, I only want things that are useful (like the new tortilla warmer that just arrived from Amazon) or beautiful (like the set of two paintings my kids made that are framed in my entryway) or both (my teal sofa!).

The best design advice for DIY-ers to bust out of a boring home during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place.

If this idea of listening to your intuition (aka. trusting your gut) is new to you, it might take time before you’re able to tune into those feelings that can help guide your design decision-making. And that’s okay! My motto is “helping people bust out of a boring home” and I want to help you bust out of boring, regardless of what that looks like. If you’d like to book a complimentary call with me to learn how we work and discover the best (virtual!) design package for you, I’m still available during social distancing. You can schedule a call right here.

Who doesn’t love a good before-and-after? Get ready, because all month long I’m sharing a tour of our Texas home, including the living room, master bedroom, kids bedroom, my office, my husband’s office, and the kitchen. Today: our navy master bedroom that doesn’t feel like a cave.

Before and After: A Navy Master Bedroom That Doesn't Feel Like a Cave

Disclosure: Some of the products in this before-and-after were sponsored by brands I use and love for myself and for my clients, including Sherwin-Williams, House of Antique Hardware, and Metrie. Thanks for your support!

When we bought our 1959 ranch home in Waco, Texas, the master bedroom kinda stumped us. It was this blank, white box with no personality whatsoever. And uggghh, that blue-grey carpet!

Here’s what the master bedroom like when we moved in.

Check out what this white box bedroom looks like after!
Whoa! Check out what this white box bedroom looks like after the makeover.

Underwhelming much?

This room was just screaming for architectural detail to be added, and thanks to our friends at Metrie, we were able to replace the baseboards with something taller and more substantial, add solid pine crown molding, replace all of the hollow interior doors with solid paneled beauties, and add applied panel moldings on the wall for visual interest.

I love a space that has character, and interior moldings are an awesome way to bring architectural detail to an otherwise boring room that’s lacking in personality.

Love this before and after of a bedroom with navy walls!

It took me ages to decide on using this navy wall color,

but it’s now become one of my faves – Sherwin-Williams Dark Night. I love that while the walls are dark and the room felt cozy, it doesn’t feel like a cave at all. Navy walls are totally trending this year and I’m all for it! (Here’s some more thoughts on using dark paint colors and if dark or light paint colors are better, if you’re interested.)

The panel molding is quite subtle with the navy wall color, but that’s exactly the point – it’s meant to bring texture and architectural interest to an otherwise plain wall.

Love this before and after of a bedroom with navy walls by interior designer Lesley Myrick

I can’t get over how pretty and classic the paneled doors are –

– plus, OMG, those brass doorknobs from House of Antique Hardware are divine! I love anything that feels like it’s from a New York Brownstone, and this door/hardware combo is totally classic NYC – even though it was in Waco.

The dresser is vintage (with the credit going to my husband for finding it at a local antique shop) and we replaced the lackluster wood hardware with these ebonized wood teardrop pulls and Victorian-style bin pulls.

Pretty navy bedroom walls!

The large mirror we used as a headboard was gifted from a friend, and the bedding is from Target. The brass lamp was scored at the Lamps Plus clearance center (located at their Chatsworth, CA headquarters).

You’ll probably notice a lot of similarities between this navy master bedroom in our Texas home, and the navy dining room in our Georgia home. That’s because the paint color, area rug, and large mirror were all repurposed in our new dining room when we moved. There’s no rule that says you can’t use a hot pink rug in a dining room, right?

Love this before and after of a bedroom with navy walls!

Thanks for following along with my Texas home tour! Next up is the super-cute bedroom my kiddos shared.