10 of the Most Popular Home Design Questions Answered

Home Design

How many layers of paint is enough? Do you need to use a particular type of wood for your shelves? It is possible to keep chartreuse and gold from clashing? Those looking to start home renovation projects commonly run into design issues, and it’s not always easy to find answers. You could spend hours upon hours searching for the solutions to your home design questions and turn up empty — the internet is a huge place with many leads. Fortunately, the answers to ten of the most popular home design questions are right here.

1. Is it necessary for all of the wood tones in a room to match?

No, the differences in texture and hue that come from mixing woods brings interest to a room. Plus, being too matchy-matchy is not only difficult unless you buy all of your decor and furniture at once, but it tends to make a room look flat. To prevent a jumbled look, try to place no more than three different woods in one room.

2. I can’t seem to find the perfect paint color for my walls — how do I go about picking one?

Try to get away from the idea that you must find a perfect shade, as there’s such a huge variety that you’ll end up causing yourself much more hassle than you need to. Also, instead of painting samples on your actual walls to find the shade you like most, paint on pieces of cardboard and tape it to the wall.

3. I like the look of several types of metals, can I mix finishes in a single room?

Feel free to mix, but it’s best to limit yourself to three different shades of metal to keep the room looking cohesive. And, yes, you can absolutely get away with having both silver and gold decor in one area.

4. How do I match art to the rest of a room’s decor, and does it have to match at all?

Your art doesn’t have to match your room, but it can be used to pull a space together. If the art’s style, period, or theme is different from your decor, it helps if the piece has colors used in the room.

5. Silk flowers — faux pas, or can I get away with using some?

Silk flowers are just fine, and there’s a way to help them pass for the real thing. First off, buy as high a quality of faux or silk flowers as you can — these days craft stores have nice options. Next, add actual water or fake resin or acrylic water to the vessel you use. Nothing screams “fake” more than vibrant flowers in a water-less vase.

6. It’s boring having all of the walls in my home the same color, how do I mix it up and still achieve a cohesive look?

Pick a color that’s forgiving, such as a shade of gray, white, beige, soft brown, or silvery blue for the majority of your home. Then, add in complementary accent walls in different rooms if you want a change of pace. Also consider the shades of the existing finishes and flooring in your home — pick cool paint colors for cool finishes and warm paint to coordinate with warmer tones.

7. My house or room is really small, what am I supposed to do with such a tiny space?

Above all, don’t try to crowd the room with furniture. This is something many people commonly do with living areas and bedrooms because they think they must have certain pieces. If your living room is small, you don’t need a big couch and a coffee table — a few comfy chairs or a smaller sofa and a side table would do. Also, avoid painting all of the walls in small home a dark color, as it will make the space feel even more tiny.

8. Is there a right way to use lighting in a room?

The best strategy is to light a room according to what it’s used for. There’s general, task, and accent lighting, but you may not need all three in one space. For instance, a living room that gets a flood of natural sunlight during the day doesn’t call for tons of lamps or an elaborate array of overhead lighting. If you watch TV in a room, lighting that prevents glare and isn’t distracting is key. Rooms used for reading or relaxation call for task lighting that works best for those activities.

9. How do I pick the right decor style for my house? And what’s the difference between traditional, contemporary, mission, etc?

This is one of the most common home design questions that is also one of the more complicated to answer. Different styles of decor are given names like “traditional” and “mission” to reflect their overall aesthetic, but there truly are few hard and fast rules. For instance, some modern homes are very minimalist while others have plenty of furnishings and decor, but what they all have in common is clean lines and an open feel. However, like contemporary decor, modern design doesn’t necessarily mean it came from the present decade. On the reverse, traditional decor doesn’t always include antiques or old-world furniture.

To keep it simple, decor styles are labels that attempt to categorize the looks of certain spaces. When choosing a style of decor, many find that it’s easier to abandon the idea of their homes having one look and simply choose colors and pieces they like that work well together. There’s nothing wrong with having an older vase on a modern table or putting a touch of farmhouse chic into a contemporary kitchen. To keep yourself from obsessing over whether you’re getting everything “just right”, avoid forcing yourself to stick to any one decor style.

10. I have next to no budget, so how am I supposed to make my space look better?

The best solution here is two-fold: be resourceful and take inspiration from pricey pieces that you like to create your own decor. One trick that you can use to make things look more expensive and trendy is to use metallic paint or spray paint. Vases, picture frames, and even small pieces of furniture can be completely revamped with just a few coats. Even if you don’t use metallic paints, going the DIY route will save tons of money and allow you to fill your space with items that are unique.

Aside from getting crafty, you can opt to scour estate sales, garage sales, and thrift stores for great decor and furniture finds at super low prices. You’d be surprised how many nice items you can find when you do a bit of digging.