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.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

Start the new year in a kickass home you love with these 5 tips to get your home ready for the new year: Purge, Clean, Restyle, Accessorize, and Nap.

Let’s get your home ready for the new year! It’s worth taking a day or two in December to clear out what’s not working from 2019 and give your home a freshening up for 2020. Here’s how I do it.

1. Purge

You had to know this one was coming, right? It’s time to KonMari the crap out of your home. While I love Marie Kondo’s concept of deciding if an item in your home “sparks joy”, if you’re not getting a clear answer on that (or if EVERYTHING sparks joy and you can’t let go of anything!), ask yourself this:

“Do I use this item, or do I love it?”

Those are the criteria I use as a filter to make decisions as to whether or not I’m keeping something. I have to either use it (like my boring but functional spatulas), love it (like the antique wooden bookends I inherited from my grandmother), or both (like my favorite cropped leather jacket).

If you use it and/or love it, it stays. If not…buh-bye. Go through your closets, drawers, and shelves. Don’t forget about your furniture too. If there’s something you’ve been living with that you just can’t stand, it might be time to invest in replacing it.

If the item is worth over $50, sell it! If it’s still in great shape but less valuable, consider donating it to a local shelter, mission, or Christmas gift drive.

2. Clean

Got rid of all the stuff that’s been weighing you down? Bust out the all-purpose cleaner and scrub scrub scrub. Baseboards? Check. Ceiling fans? Check. Replace the air filter? Check.

Whether you deep-clean your home yourself or hire it out (a very, very worthy investment in my books!), you’ll be stunned with how much better, fresher, and lighter your house feels.

Start the new year in a kickass home you love with these 5 tips to get your home ready for the new year from Atlanta interior designer Lesley Myrick.

3. Restyle

Alright, the hard stuff is over. You’ve done the emotional work of letting go of things you no longer use or love, and you’ve deep-cleaned your house like a madwoman.

Now, let’s have some fun! Here’s your chance to start busting out of boring. Getting your home ready for the new year isn’t just about buying some pretty new things (although that’s coming, so hang tight), but it’s about taking a look at what you already have with fresh eyes and giving it a new life.

Gather up allllll the decorative accessories in your home. Think: bowls, hardcover books, houseplants, candles, bookends, knicknacks. Spread them out in one room where you can see everything at once.

At first glance, you’ll probably notice some things that you’re tired of, that are outdated, or just no longer reflect your style. Give them a little love, and then GET THEM OUT OF THERE. (See: #1 Purge, above.)

Use what’s left and restyle your home.

Have you had that white ceramic bowl on your kitchen counter for years? See how it looks perched on a stack of hardcover books in your living room. Has that potted plant been in your living room forever? See if you like it on your kitchen counter.

The idea is to take a look at what you already have and shop your own home before going out and buying new things. Sometimes a fresh perspective and moving things around can give a room a whole new look.

Start the new year in a kickass home you love with these 5 tips to get your home ready for the new year from Atlanta interior designer Lesley Myrick.

4. Accessorize

You’ve worked with what you have (congrats, you!) and hopefully most of your rooms are feeling pretty fresh and peppy after your awesome restyle. But mayyyybe there are a couple of things missing. Like, wouldn’t your coffee table look great with a large brass tray on it? And wouldn’t your bookshelf look totally pulled-together with a framed piece of art sitting on that empty shelf?

This is the time to make a list –

a very specific list – and go shopping. (Or, hire your favorite designer – me – to do a Design Strategy Session with you where we can shop and style your home in a day! Contact me for deets).

Stick with your list, and don’t get seduced by cool things that don’t have a place. You have so much great stuff already – this shopping trip is just to fill-in-the-blanks with a few key accessories.

5. Nap!

Girl, you’ve earned it. You’ve worked your buns off to bust out of boring and your home is organized, tidy, cleaned, and super styled. Go get some afternoon shut-eye.

Start the new year in a kickass home you love with these 5 tips to get your home ready for the new year: Purge, Clean, Restyle, Accessorize, and Nap.


PS. Lesley Myrick Art + Design is taking a break for the Christmas holidays. We’ll be back in January 2020 (after some serious holiday accessorizing and napping!) with the big reveal of Lesley’s Texas home tour. See you next year!


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

What is a Design Jumpstart? Here's how Lesley Myrick helps homeowners bust out of boring in just two hours.

What is a Design Jumpstart?

You hear me talking about these two-hour power design sessions all the time.

But, like,

what exactly happens at a Design Jumpstart?

Think of it like this. You have two hours ahead of you. You could…

….binge-watch your favorite show for the zillionth time (mine is Sex and the City, by the way) and drool over the fantastic, way-too-expensive apartments.

…browse Pinterest and create a “Dream Home” board with all the interiors that you’d love to have one day. One day.

…have coffee at a friend’s house and end up feeling totally jealous of her effortlessly cool and stylish space.

Or…

…instead of wishing you lived somewhere else, you could do a Design Jumpstart session with me to take action and kickstart the transformation of your home in just two hours.

What is a Design Jumpstart? Here's how Lesley Myrick helps homeowners bust out of boring in just two hours (including suggested floor plan sketches).

Kind of a no-brainer, right?

At Lesley Myrick Art + Design, we kickstart many design projects with a two-hour power session (done either in-person or virtually) called a Design Jumpstart where we walk you through our 3-step Design Jumpstart system.

Jam-packed with personalized design ideas, inspiration, and tactical resources, a Design Jumpstart sets a solid foundation to bust you out of your boring home.

The 3-Step Design Jumpstart System

What is a Design Jumpstart? Here's how Lesley Myrick helps homeowners bust out of boring in just two hours with the 3-Step Design Jumpstart System.

Our 3-step Design Jumpstart system will make the most of our time together and leave you with an actionable to-do list that includes all the items we’re suggesting you purchase or improve; design and style ideas; as well as contractor and vendor resources (if available). We’ll use this master checklist as the foundation to launch your design project – or if DIY is more your speed, it’s all yours as a guide for navigating design changes on your own. In just 2 hours, you’ll go from stuck and overwhelmed to a freakin’ Interior Design Superhero, ready to bust out of a boring home.

Live in the Atlanta or Macon, Georgia area? We’ll meet in-person at your home. Live elsewhere in the US or Canada? We’ll get together virtually using video conferencing on your phone or computer (and don’t let the tech freak you out, we’ll walk you through getting set up for our session!).

What is a Design Jumpstart? Here's how Lesley Myrick helps homeowners bust out of boring in just two hours (including a detailed to-do list of items to purchase and improvements to make).

Not sure if a Design Jumpstart session is right for you? Book a complimentary call where we can learn more about what you’re looking for and recommend the most kickass design package for you.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

What do you get for that fabulously creative lady in your life when you want to knock her socks off with a great holiday gift? Here are a few gift ideas for interior design lovers.

Yup, the holidays are coming – and if you’re anything like me, gift-giving isn’t what you’re best at. (I’ll stick with interior design, thankyouverymuch.) So what do you get for that fabulously creative lady in your life when you want to knock her socks off with a great gift? Here are a few gift ideas for interior design lovers.

As an interior design lover myself, I humbly admit that I want EVERYTHING on this list.

What do you get for that fabulously creative lady in your life when you want to knock her socks off with a great holiday gift? Here are a few awesome gift ideas for interior design lovers.

10 Awesome Gift Ideas for Interior Design Lovers

Domino: The Book of Decorating

This book came out in 2008, but it’s still one of my favorite decorating references. (Here are 9 other books that make great gifts too!)

Color Wheel Pin

So freakin’ cute on a denim jacket or blazer! I already have a color wheel tattoo, but this color wheel pin is definitely a less permanent option that’s (almost) as cool.

Sturdy Ruled Notebooks

These simple, black hardcover notebooks are the best. They’re super sturdy, with a built-in pen holder and beautifully thick lined paper. I use these daily and always have one in my purse for jotting down to-do’s, ideas, and design inspiration.

A Design Jumpstart Gift Certificate

What’s better than the gift of a home you freakin’ love? A 2-hour Design Jumpstart session (either in-person or virtually) with yours truly is a kickass gift for that cool gal in your life who would love a little help busting out of her boring home. Upon purchase, we’ll mail you a physical gift certificate, wrapped and ready to give so you look like a total rockstar.

Paint Chip-Inspired Calendar

OH COME ON. This paint chip calendar is so pretty! I don’t actually need a wall calendar (Google Calendar is my ride-or-die) but this one is so pretty I just might have to add it to my wishlist.

A Turquoise Statement Ring

Teal is my spirit color (and turquoise is my birthstone) so I’m all about this ring. But any fabulous statement ring will do! The bigger, the better.

Digital Color-Matching Tool

This little color matching tool is my FAVORITE thing! You can scan any surface and it will give you the closest Sherwin-Williams paint color match, as well as the CMYK/RGB/hex values. Design nerds, have fun!

Architecture of American Houses Poster

Ugggh this infographic poster is the coolest! It’s a visual history of American home styles from the 1700s through today. I want this sucker framed in my office.

In The Company Of Women

For interior designers, creatives, business owners, or anyone who wants to be inspired to find creative work they love, this book is perfection.

Pretty Gel Pens

Rainbow gel pens 4-EVA. Tul makes some of my favorite pens, and while I mostly use black, who doesn’t love an assortment of rainbow-colored pens too?

What’s on your holiday wishlist this year? Maybe something from this list of gift ideas for interior design lovers?


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

Tired of your gallery wall? Here's what to do instead for MAJOR visual impact.

Here’s a fresh idea for your walls.

Tired of your gallery wall? If you’ve been staring at the same bunch of photo frames for a long time you might be itching for a change. (I still love a good gallery wall though – here’s one from my old home in Texas, and our new house in Atlanta.)

If swapping out a couple of pieces of art on your gallery wall doesn’t feel like enough of a change, try this instead.

Go big.

Yup, go the complete opposite direction! Instead of multiple small images, start fresh with one GIANT piece of art. I know – it can feel scary committing to just one giant image! But the visual impact and cool-factor are undeniable.

Tired of your gallery wall? Try this instead - replace it with one GIANT statement piece.

See? Here’s the same room with its previous gallery wall:

Tired of your gallery wall? Here's an awesome idea on what to do instead.

Maybe your statement piece is a vintage family photo that you have blown up to 40″x60″ (like mine above – it’s a photo of my husband when he was a kid!). Or perhaps it’s one large statement artwork, or even a macrame wall hanging.

Try a large statement piece of art or a wall hanging instead of a gallery wall for a fresh look.

It takes a little courage to commit to just one thing on your wall, but I say, go big or go home! If you’re growing tired of your gallery wall, try replacing it with one statement piece of art instead.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

What I wish I'd known about using removable wallpaper - tips and tricks from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Just because I’m an interior designer doesn’t mean I know everything about everything when it comes to home decorating. I learn a lot (and I mean a LOT) as I go, through trial and error and making mistakes. On the Bust Out of Boring show last week, I shared what I wish I’d known about removable wallpaper before using it for the first time. And I promised y’all a deeper dive here – with photos.

(Wait, you’re not tuning in to Bust Out of Boring on Monday mornings? Catch me live on Facebook and Instagram every Monday at 9amET answering your design Q’s and helping you create kickass homes you love.)

If the word “wallpaper” still conjures up bad memories of scraping outdated floral prints off of every surface in an older home, you’re not alone. Wallpaper has gotten a majorly bad rap because it used to be SO TEDIOUS to install – and take down.

Check out these tips on how to install removable wallpaper like a pro

Thankfully, wallpaper has come a long way.

Wallpapers are now easier to install, and much easier to remove than they used to be. But regardless, traditional papers are still quite permanent. When you glue something to a wall, it’s gonna be there for a while. That’s why I totally love removable wallpaper. It’s basically a giant vinyl sticker strip that’s stuck to the wall – and can then be easily peeled off with no damage to the wall surface underneath. Removable wallpaper is awesome for renters, or for an office where you can’t make any permanent changes.

Despite its advantages, here’s what I wish I’d known about removable wallpaper before I used it for the first time.

#1. Removable Wallpaper Isn’t Necessarily Cheaper

Oh, did you think giant stickers for your wall would be way less of an investment than traditional wallpaper? So did I. But that’s not always the case. If you’re thinking about using a removable wallpaper only because you think it’s gonna be cheap and cheerful, think again. The price may be more similar than you think to regular ol’ wallpaper. (But since you can DIY and don’t need an installer, it may work out to be more affordable in the end.)

Can you believe this is removable wallpaper? Love these tips to help you install removable wallpaper like a pro.

#2. Installation Can Be A Little Tricky

For the wallpaper installation above, I hired a professional installer since the room has 10′ ceilings (and also because I didn’t want to mess it up!). My installer surprised me by saying this was one of the most difficult installations he had done.

Why?

Traditional wallpaper – installed by wetting a floor-to-ceiling length strip of paper with water and paste – has a lot of wiggle room to slide into place on the wall. If the strip of wallpaper is slightly crooked, it’s easy to shimmy it straight while it’s wet.

Removable wallpaper has no forgiveness. It’s gonna stick to that wall exactly where you place it. If it’s slightly crooked or the pattern doesn’t quite match, you’ve gotta peel up the whole strip and re-position it.

#3. Vinyl Is Stretchy.

I would have never thought of this unless my wallpaper installer had pointed it out, but as he was pulling and re-positioning the removable wallpaper, it would stretch ever so slightly. It may not look like much of a change, but when the vinyl stretches just a little bit, the pattern may not quite line up with what’s already been applied to the wall. He did a stellar job with the installation, but he admitted to me that there was one area he just could not get to match up properly. (Thankfully, it’s hidden behind the brass credenza.)

Most removable wallpapers are touted as “removable and re-positionable”, meaning they can be removed and re-applied somewhere else. However, experience has shown me that once they’ve been pulled off a wall, they’ve stretched enough to be nearly impossible to re-install well.

Such a cool way to accent a built-in desk - with removable wallpaper.

Removable wallpapers are cool, quick to install and remove, and super awesome for anyone who wants to jazz up their space but can’t make a permanent change. All of the wallpapers shown here are from Walls Need Love, one of my fave wallpaper vendors. They’re not sponsoring this post – I just dig ’em and think you might too.

What I wish I’d known about removable wallpaper is that it has its own quirks with installation and removal (so be prepared!), but it’s an awesome option for major impact with minor commitment.

ūüĎČ Don’t make the same mistakes I did! Learn from a design pro – check out more of Lesley’s hard-earned wisdom in the What I Wish I’d Known series.

How to Choose Art for Your Home - tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Whether you love abstract paintings, landscapes, large statement pieces or gallery-style collections, here’s how to choose art for your home.

Actually, let’s start with how not to choose art for your home: by picking what’s popular that you’re seeing all over Pinterest. It’s so easy to succumb to peer pressure with art. After all, if “they” like it, why shouldn’t you?

I might offend some cactus- and macrame-lovers, but I’m not into either of those trendy art themes. At all.

I know, they’re both having a major moment right now, but really – they’re just not for me. The only reason I would hang either a cactus print or macrame wall-hanging in my home is that I’ve gotten so used to seeing them everywhere that they (almost) feel acceptable to me.

But honestly, they just don’t speak to me personally. They might finish off a wall and look rad for now, but in a few months, I’m going to be totally tired of that dumb cactus.

How to Choose Art for Your Home - look for a common element between pieces of art

So how do you choose the right art for your home?

There’s no magic formula, but trust that you’ll know the right art when you see it. It will connect with you in an unusual way, and will speak to you. You’ll probably find yourself saying something like, “I really dig this piece of art, but I can’t explain why.”

THAT is how to choose art. Figure out what you like, what you’re attracted to, and then hang it on your walls.

“But Lesley,” I can hear you saying,

“what if I love a whole bunch of styles of art that don’t make any sense together?”

Even better, my friend! There is nothing more boring than matchy-matchy art that feels like it was purchased out of a catalog or mass home-decor retailer. I actually love layering art pieces in different mediums and different styles. In the photo above of my dining room there’s an abstract landscape oil painting done by my late Grandmother, a traditional-meets-modern portrait by Josh Young, a Lifehouse album cover, a Depeche Mode concert poster by Tara McPherson, an illustration by Lisa Congdon, and a subway station polaroid I picked up on the streets of New York.

Does any of this logically make sense together? Nope. But is it awesome all together? Yes.

How to Choose Art for Your Home - embrace an eclectic mix

Look for something common between the art pieces you select.

It could be a color (you’ll notice a green-blue color appears in almost every piece above), or maybe the subject matter.

If your art collection really does give off random (and not in a good way) vibes, you can unify the pieces by framing them in the same style or color of frame, or by using the same color of matting.

Great art will last through trends and be with you for a long time.

Trust your gut, listen to what you love (even if it doesn’t make sense!) and embrace the random. No one else has to love the art except you.

Trust your gut. Embrace what you love. That’s how to choose art for your home, and that is what busting out of boring is all about.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

With so many great deals on sofas out there, why buy the more expensive sofa when there's a cheaper lookalike? Interior designer Lesley Myrick shares the truth about cheap sofas - and what to look for when sofa shopping.

You know I love a beautiful, non-boring sofa. And with so many great deals on sofas out there, why buy the more expensive sofa when there’s a cheaper lookalike?

Here’s a little #realtalk from your designer friend Lesley.

Cheap sofas are cheaply made, and being cheap always ends up being expensive in the long run!

Quality is about so much more than looks, and what’s inside a sofa is what determines the price. That’s why two nearly identical-looking sofas (in photos, at least) can vary so much in cost. They might look the same in photos, but trust me, your butt and back can tell the difference.

I recently saw an Instagram post from a major home shelter magazine that featured two beautiful velvet sofas that looked quite similar. The question posed to their followers was, “Which is more expensive?

With so many great deals on sofas out there, why buy the more expensive sofa when there's a cheaper lookalike? Atlanta Interior designer Lesley Myrick shares the truth about cheap sofas - and what to look for when sofa shopping.

So which sofa is more expensive?

The big reveal was, in fact, that one of the sofas only looked expensive but actually cost less than $1000. And the underlying message was clearly intended to imply that there’s no need to pay more when a lower-priced sofa looks exactly the same.

You guysssss. While yes, these two sofas may look comparable in photos, you cannot possibly tell from a photo how good the quality is! And your poor butt is NOT going to like sitting on a sofa that is cheaply made overseas from poor-quality materials in mass quantities. It’s easy to make something look good in a picture, but let me tell you a “sit test” will reveal how great (or rather, terrible) the construction and quality are.

What should you look for in a sofa?

I’m the first to tell you that choosing a sofa that feels awesome to you is the most important factor. Go shopping. Sit on a lot of couches. Get to know what you like – tight back, or loose back cushions? Firm foam cushions, or squishy down and feather wrap? Three individual seat cushions, or one long bench-style cushion?

With so many inexpensive sofas out there, why buy the more expensive sofa when there's a cheaper lookalike? Interior designer Lesley Myrick shares the truth about cheap sofas - and what to look for when sofa shopping.

If you wanna get technical about sofa stuff,

here are 3 important things to learn about before you go shopping (and impress the heck out of your friends and family!):

  1. The Frame. The best quality sofas have frames constructed of kiln-dried hardwood, which retains its shape and remains stable for a long time. The joints are glued, dowelled, and screwed with reinforced corners. If a sofa is made of plywood or particleboard and is held together with staples, be wary.
  2. The Seating Support. Eight-way hand-tied springs and sinuous springs are the bomb-diggity for comfort and support. Web suspension isn’t as strong or sturdy on its own, and isn’t what I recommend.
  3. The Filling. You’ll likely notice most sofa cushions are filled with high-density polyurethane. (FYI, this is the good stuff you want to look out for! The higher the density, the firmer the cushion will be.) This foam can be wrapped in other materials like cotton, Dacron, or even super plush down feathers.

So, when it comes to sofas and upholstered seating,

When should you splurge and when should you save?

On upholstered furniture you’ll use often like your sofa, desk chair, and dining chairs, pony up and invest in the best quality you can afford. When you sit somewhere daily, you want it to be well-made, comfortable, and built to last.

And where to save? On upholstered furniture you won’t sit on frequently, like the bench at the foot of your bed, a chair in the entryway, or a living room accent chair that doesn’t see much action.

Don’t get duped by pretty sofa photos! Put your butt on that sofa and really put it to the test before you purchase. Suddenly, that cheap $1000 sofa doesn’t seem like such a great value any more.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

One BIG mistake I've seen clients make during an interior design project from Atlanta designer Lesley Myrick

In the 4 years I’ve been in business with Lesley Myrick Art + Design,

I’ve worked with over 90 clients on everything from 2-hour Design Jumpstart sessions to full turnkey home renovations.

Most of our design projects turn out awesome, and my clients are thrilled with their new home (and gratefully, they say so publicly!) But occasionally, things don’t go quite as planned. The end result is less than stellar. And the client isn’t over the moon – they’re straight-up bummed out.

So what’s the difference between a successful interior design project, and one where the end result is a let-down?

I’ve learned a lot with 90+ design projects under my belt,

and I’m always seeking out opportunities to tweak and improve our process, our communication, and our design packages. There have certainly been moments where I’ve dropped the ball, and let me tell you – no one takes those to heart and learns from those mistakes faster than I do.

But, I’ve also noticed something clients sometimes do that can completely de-rail a design project. It’s a mistake that seems harmless – a good idea, even – but the end result is a major disappointment.

So what’s the one BIG mistake I’ve seen clients make?

Stopping short before their project is fully finished.

Interior design is an investment. And it’s a process. And the middle part is MESSY! You’ve spent a lot of money on design fees and furnishings, without much to show for it (yet). Your home might be completely torn up in the renovation process. And every day a new, unexpected expense seems to pop up.

And instead of gritting their teeth (or asking for support) through the messy middle to get to the uhhh-mazing results on the other side, I’ve seen clients stop short. Grind things to a halt right before the magic happens. Freeze up, and freeze the project at the worst possible time.

If you are in the middle of an interior design project, or are thinking about starting one, I want to encourage you: trust your designer to see the project through to completion.

Check out this (smart!) tip from Atlanta designer Lesley Myrick: One BIG mistake I've seen clients make during an interior design project

There is no way you’re going to be happy with your home if you stop a project halfway.

So much of the magic of interior design happens at the end, when every pillow is fluffed and shelf is styled and you can walk into your newly transformed space and breathe.

I understand the fear that happens in the middle of a project, where it feels like things will never end and your wallet is taking a major hit. But stopping short means your investment will be for nothing, and a piecemeal home is hardly a place that will feel beautifully, authentically, you.

The middle is hard.

It drags on. It’s overwhelming. But that’s exactly why you’ve hired an interior designer! This is what we do best – manage the messy middle so you don’t have to. You guys, we LOVE this stuff. We live and breathe it. And we’ve developed systems and strategies to handle it.

Instead of hitting the brakes while your project is humming along at a million miles per hour, reach out to your designer for help. Talk about the process, the timeline, the budget, and the results. A simple conversation that keeps your project on track may be the one thing that makes the difference between a designer that lets you down – and one that totally rocks your world.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

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