8 Things Interior Designers Notice in Homes

The first rule of design is that everyone’s taste is different. So one single design simply can’t please everyone. But interior designers know so much about trends and style that it’s impossible not to notice a few things and make some judgments when they enter someone’s home. In case you are planning for a design expert to roam your halls sometime soon, or just want to ensure your home is designer-friendly, we have teamed up with House Beautiful to bring you a few things that professional designers notice when they walk through your door.

How the room is lit
Most designers are very sensitive to lighting, and will notice how your space is lit. Atlanta-based designer Vern Yip says, “Nine times out of ten, I think when people walk into a room and they like the ambiance, it’s because the lighting has been done correctly.” According to Yip, this means the room has a variety of light sources, including recessed, sconces, hanging fixtures, and more. Bright, natural light remains the favorite light source among both designer and consumers. Pro tip: the best source of light is always natural light, but if the room doesn’t have direct access to plenty of sunlight, use a variety of different lighting sources to make sure the room is well-lit, but not washed out.

The layout of the room
The first thing San Francisco-based designer Scot Meacham Wood does when visiting a client’s home, is evaluate what is and isn’t working for the room; this usually ends up being the layout and room function. This allows him to properly offer solutions. For example, in a construction project, he will look for architectural error that could be fixed, things like poorly aligned doorways and oddly place overhead lighting.

Whether or not there are flowers
Small accents say a lot. Things like flowers by the door or in the living room can brighten up a space like few others can. It’s these little touches that help make a space feel like a home. If you need some inspiration, take a look at this gallery by House Beautiful: 55 Pretty Flower Arrangements to Cheer Up Any Room. Pro tip: add a small flower arrangement to any room that doesn’t quite feel like “home” to instantly boost the energy.

All the small things
For some designers, the smallest items in the room are the first to catch their eye. Interior designer Eche Martinez says, "I'm obsessive about spaces being uncluttered and personally prefer minimal styling," and "So many times I walk into beautiful homes only to encounter endless tiny memorabilia sitting on the mantle gathering dust!" Pro tip: store the 10-year-old crafts and memorabilia for safekeeping, and replace their display space with items that are more functional.

What it smells like inside
Candles and diffusers have their place, and when used mildly as an accent, are a beautiful way to enhance the overall experience. Just be careful not to overdo it, or to mix multiple strong scents. Whether it’s too many candles, a powerful diffuser, or intense incense, some are bound to wonder what those scents are all trying to cover up. Pro tip: open up the front and back doors to allow air to flow freely through the house for about 10-15 minutes each day to keep the air from getting stale. And follow that up with a lightly scented candle or diffuser.

How the bathroom is stocked
Hand soap and clean towels are not only subtle, elegant additions to a powder room, but also important ones. This would also be another great area of the house to have a light, clean-scented reed diffuser. Pro tip: make sure to be changing out the hand towels at least once a week, and additionally just before any guests show up. Eucalyptus and lavender both make excellent choices for diffuser scents.

Who actually lives there?
Design is so personal and ultimately needs to be functional and reflect the lifestyle of those who live in the home. Two of the best determiner of how the space should be designed are the size of the family, ages of any children, and how often they like to entertain. Pro tip: for families who have children and also like entertaining, ample storage in every room is key to keeping things decluttered. A decluttered space is a relaxing space.

Where their furniture would go
Some designers’ minds just never stop working. Here’s proof: "When I walk into a friend's home for the first time, I'm rarely (if ever) aware of their belongings," admits Wood. "In my mind, I'm always trying to decide how I would arrange my furniture in their house — not their furniture."

Remember: the first rule of design is that everyone’s taste is different. One design simply can’t please everyone. So the best thing to do is to make your home’s design reflect your personality and to match the functionality needs of your family.

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