Do You Have What It Takes to Make Your Home Truly Designed?

I’m writing this from the kitchen island of my future in-law’s home, and once again I am impressed with how warm and comfortable this home is. There’s no place like your own home, and the home you grew up in, but besides those places, this is truly my second home. The thing that always impresses me is how thoughtful this place is. Right now I am working under spot lighting that is soft but strong enough to keep me on task.

The island has an outlet placed high enough to easily plug in my charger. The deep kitchen sink looks out over a window. Everything is made of high-quality materials, from cherry wood and granite to hardwood floors and the nice type of baseboards. So as I look around, I think what makes me so comfortable and at the same time admiring are two things: good design in the home and the high-quality building materials that go along with it, and great design in the products and furniture in the home.

But the thing about getting to this point is that it requires a good amount of money, and even more importantly, the time commitment to make your home awesome. You have to be willing to buy items that are just for decoration, like vases, china, paintings and things to hang on the wall, smaller furniture like side tables and wine racks and consoles. To truly design, you would even change your designs and items out for the seasons, especially fall with its oranges and browns and winter with its Christmas and festive spirit. Right now, the mere idea of owning stuff that only comes out once a year overwhelms me. My idea of Christmas decorating is a string of colored lights on the balcony.

key to beautiful interior design is that you don’t buy everything at once, and in fact, that is the opposite of good design. You have to live in a space to know it and know what your needs are and what will work best in the space. You may buy one thing one week and two weeks later find its perfect complement at some other store. That’s design. Bringing things together in your own unique way.

I bought a few things earlier this year that I was really pumped about: a huge silk plant that looks real, a rug, and a bookcase. The silk plant was the only non-functional item, but it makes an impersonal apartment entrance feel like our own place. The bookcase is much too large for our current space but can be explained by my love of books and plans to own our own place that is at least 1,000 square feet. And the rug is the first step towards designing our space. Rugs make a space warmer, separate living areas and add color to white sofas and white walls (both of which I employ frequently).

When we go home this week, I will be excited to be back in my own home, but I will miss the warmth and character of this home (and the people in it!). You can spot a good designer when their style resonates in every space they create. Even before we have our own place, it’s time to work on making each place we occupy as comfortable and inviting as it can be. What’s next on your design list?