Tips & Tricks: 7 Secrets from Interior Designers

byTeam GM

6 years ago

Ever wondered what tricks interior designers use to create that picture perfect space? You’re not the only one! Despite working closely with interior designers over the years, there are some tips and tricks that even we weren’t privy to. But today, we’ve asked some of our favorite designers to spill them all. We called on our resident design experts Kate Lester and Daniela Malca Benloulou to give us a peek into their world and they did not disappoint. They’re sharing seven of their go-to design secrets with us below, and we’d love to bring you along with us. So keep that page scrolling and get ready to take notes! By the end of this, you’ll be designing your space like a pro, and no one will ever know where you picked up these expert skills—but don’t worry, we’ll keep your secret safe…

1. We use faux plants sometimes.

“When styling tall bookshelves and other hard-to-reach spaces we sometimes use faux plants. (I know, insert gasp here.) But the honest truth is that we want these spaces to look amazing and have longevity, and sometimes it’s just impossible to keep things alive in areas with low light (like basements), or with clients who we know will never water them.

“The trick is to mix in real and faux. If you can, do some real florals or greenery at eye level where it is easy to replace/water. Then, in the higher spots or far corners you will be good to go faux. Just remember to make selections that are not too shiny or bright. Succulents are always a good option, since even real ones look fake sometimes. Add in faux pieces to bookcases or hard to reach spots and you will notice that the entire space will feel more alive. Plants add depth, texture and a pop of color, so don’t be afraid to use them!”– Kate Lester

2. We always prepare for wear and tear.

“When choosing materials for furnishings, always opt for the option that’ll hold up against stains and wear and tear best. You may not have kids or pets now, but you never know!” – Daniela Benloulou

3. Size does matter to designers.

“I always find that regular people are afraid of buying larger pieces of furniture. Most people buy a huge bed, and then flank it with these tiny nightstands that belong in a kids room. If you want your bedroom to immediately feel larger, then the secret is to buy bigger furniture! Fill those voids on either side of the bed with appropriately scaled pieces. We often use 3-drawer chests or small writing desks with a chair. The added bonus is tons of extra storage and a bed wall that looks grand and welcoming.”– Kate Lester

“In small rooms, aim for light colored furniture with slim lines. Bulky and dark items will absolutely make your space feel more crowded. Ideally, sofas and tables should have long, skinny legs!” – Daniela Benloulou

4. Don’t underestimate the power of painter’s tape.

“When you’re not sure if a new piece (art or furniture) will fit in your space, take some painter’s tape and tape out the dimensions. It’ll be easier to visualize its size!” – Daniela Benloulou

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5. We go bold or go home in the powder room.

“If you are lucky enough to have a powder room, then please don’t be boring! Paint it a dramatic hue, or cover the walls in an amazing wallpaper. Add a funky light fixture and mirror (a cool one, with a frame) and a statement piece of art and voila, instant designer-inspired space! Don’t worry if it’s too bold or bright, it doesn’t have to be completely in step with the rest of the home. Have fun and remember that if people come out talking about it, you've already won!”– Kate Lester

6. One-of-a-kind always wins.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—nothing brings a space to life like vintage, found, and one-of-a-kind finds mixed in with the rest of your décor. Not only will they add instant personality and depth to your space, but they’ll also be a topic of conversation with any guest. (And yes, that even applies to something as simple as a throw pillow.)

“Try not to buy mass-produced throw pillows. I prefer to find one-of-a-kind gems on Etsy or through my travels.”– Daniela Benloulou

7. We bundle our books with intention.

“When styling bookshelves or coffee tables, books look better stacked horizontally. You can’t cram in all your college books this way, but you can highlight your books with the best spines.”– Daniela Benloulou

On the other hand…

“If you have a ton of books that are less than exciting on a bookshelf, turn them around so that the spines are facing the back. This way, you get a more tonal, uniform look from the pages.You can also cover them in white butcher paper or linen scrapbook paper if you are patient and up for a crafting day. The all-white/off-white curated look adds interest, and no one will ever know that all of those books once doubled as a side table in your dorm room.” – Kate Lester

Did any of these design secrets surprise you?

If they did, we hope you pass them along… Because these kinds of secrets are meant to be shared, right? ;)

Thanks again to our designers for sharing their wisdom with us! You can see more from Kate and Daniela by following them on Instagram @klinteriors and @danielabenloulou.

Xx Team GM

Photos:, Lauren Pressey forKate Lester