Tricks for a Designer Look

You see amazing rooms in design magazines and assume you can’t achieve the same look, but you can!

Designer Melody Palmer shares the 5 design rules to getting that magazine ready finish in your own home!


A fun designer trick I often do at the beginning of a project with a client is to create an inspiration board to represent my ideas. Simply find things that make you happy. Start gathering pictures from magazines of rooms and colors you’re drawn to, gather fabric swatches and add random things like a broach that reminds you to add a touch of sparkle. As you start gathering these items, it will help you determine if you are going for a cleaned up traditional esthetic, a modern esthetic with pops of color or it will allow you see if you’re into other design esthetics like vintage, minimalistic, rustic or others.

Trick 2: MIX IT UP:

A huge key to getting that designer look is to mix things that work well together which will give a surprise factor in a room. Think a velvet couch with modern pillows or a hot pink candelabra on a gallery wall. These types of juxtapositions gives your room a fun vibe and a pop of personality.

You can also mix things up pricing wise. It is important to invest in key pieces like a sofa. Keep the lines clean and the color neutral to keep it classic which will allow you to be able to change it up for many different looks. Then, depending on your budget, find accent chairs, tables, lamps, and accessories from varied stores like Home Goods, Restoration Hardware, World Market, flea markets or online on sites like KSL (add KSL link here).


Keep your background and main furniture pieces neutral so you can pop with accessories and be able to keep a flow with your design. Keeping it neutral and having a similar color running through your home will make it flow room to room and make it feel more open and larger.


Every room needs a focal point to draw your eye to and to build your room around which will give your room that pop factor! This can be a fireplace, a great bookcase, a framed wall or a statement piece of furniture. You can also give something a big impact with a fun pop of color with an accent wall.


Accessories are what finish a room and house off. Once your bones of your background and furnishings are in, this is where you can really have fun to make it yours! You can bring in those on-trend fabrics, pillows, geometric rugs and statement accessories that are unusual and great.

Although, be careful in accessories to not overdo! Edit, edit, edit. I am often called in for a consult to help edit a room. I always start by pulling the over accessorized things out of the room to see what we really have to work with. Then I can see if the pieces work, or if some furnishings need to be changed. Next we have some fun adding some fun accent pieces and accessories and making them new again with how we display them and/or we find something new and fresh to brighten the look.

The moral is less is more. Don’t display everything you love or have gathered on travels all over your room. A lot of us get into trouble by bringing too many things in and it gets cluttered very quickly. And remember that you bring your personality into your room with how you accessorize, so have fun!

Photography credit:
Sandy Whitaker Photography, Blackbird Ink Photography, Heather Hackney Photography

Win a design consultation with Melody Palmer Design. Simply “Like” Melody Palmer Design’s Facebook page by Monday, January 28th and your name will be entered in the drawing. To have multiple entries in the drawing you can also “Follow” Melody Palmer on Instagram.

Visit for more details on the design consultation giveaway and to view more of her design portfolio.

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