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  • Catia Castro

Design Do's and Don'ts


DON'T: Don't be afraid to leave artwork unhung. This can be especially useful for larger pieces in a rented space. (did someone say deposit back)

DO: Hang artwork and mirrors at eye level. I'm short at 5 feet so I use my husband's eye level as my guide.

DON'T: Hang artwork up by the ceiling. I see this so often and it really is a major fail.

DO: Group smaller pieces together for a larger impact, as I did below, with these vintage Barbie prints, in my daughter's bedroom.

DO: Keep your interior's larger pieces neutral and then inject the space with bursts of colour.

Today, I am going to share with you my own design do's and dont's. Of course rules were meant to be broken and it's not to say that there aren't exceptions to these rules, but I think they are a good place to start if you are a novice.

Currently my house is an absoulute nightmare, as we are in the process of moving. I seriously cant wait to decorate my new house! Bigger, better and brighter.

I have always been a "natural" when it comes to decor.

My earliest memory was of me babysitiing my Mom's best friend's son. While he slept I cleaned, rearranged and decorated her home. She was so easy going and never minded, telling my mother I was talented...I was 6.

Just like cooking, I think I am just a creative and artistic person.

Over the years, I've had my fair share of awful rented spaces, homes and apartments, each was kissed with a little magic to make them more lovable and pleasing, aesthetically.

Below are my top tips to make the most of your interiors, rented or owned.

Happy decorating XOXO

DO: Opt for a neautral colour scheme in your larger upholsterered pieces. Trends come and go, so swapping out your throw pillows, area rug or sofa throw is a lot more cost effective than replacing an orange sofa.

Patterns on pillows are easier to swap, than an entire floral couch or printed drapes.

DON'T: Don't be afraid to repurpose furniture. This vintage vanity is doing double duty as my husband's desk, in our foyer.

DO: Buy the best you can afford. I really can't stress this enough. Quality furniture that's built to last is a much better investment. Cheaper items will need to be replaced more often and will end up costing you much more in the long run.

Mirror, mirror on the wall...my favourite trick. Mirrors make any space feel larger, and when strategically placed, like across from a window, will allow light to bounce all around the room. Bonus :)

DO: Balance. In design, it is important that a space's weight is equally carried. Above, I've balanced the lamps and ginger jars simply by mirroring the other side. Weight can also be obtained visually, by grouping three smaller objects against one larger one. Below, the weight of the television is equalled visually by the grouping on the left.

DO: Buy fresh flowers. No explanation needed. They will transform any room and your mood. Win, win. Flowers...they are everywhere in my home.

DON'T: Don't be afraid to try something new. Why not remove upper kitchen cabinets. In my current house, we took them down and replaced them with a large piece of framed art. Perfect...

DO: Mix patterns, prints and textures. Above I've paired a floral, geometric, neutral satin and leopard prints. (Leopard print is a neutral, just sayin' ) A live cat as a prop can't hurt:)

DO: Do use all sorts of vessals to hold your flowers. Here my favourite ginger jar looks gorgeous with my peonies.

DON'T: Don't forget to softnen your windows by dressing them. Although, some design trends embrace a naked window, I have never cared for them. Drapes, blinds and curtains polish up a room like nothing else. If you splurge on one thing, this is it.

DO: Decorate your coffee table with loved objects in groups of three. Place objects at different heights to add visual interest.

DO: Buy what you love. I fell in love with my non-traditional bright white tree.

DON'T: Don't try to match everything and please, please don't buy a matching bedroom suite. It is BORING and predictable. A successfully decorated room is put together and flows, without having matching nightstands. None of my furniture periods match, yet they all live harmoniously because, the decor pulls it all together.

DO: Go for it! Life is short, so buy that peice of art you love or the fabulous wicker coffee table at the local antique shop. Your home is a reflection of you and you will find a spot for it.

DO: Don't be afraid of colour or art in the kitchen. I love art and nudes. You will find them everywhere in my home including my kitchen. I tend to have a very neutral decor with pops of colour. In this case art and oranges.

DO: Make room for an outdoor space. Whether it's a patch of dirt, two feet wide, a balcony in an apartment building, or a 100 acre lot. Own it. I turned the ugliest garden in the world, into a little haven.

DO: Use curtains to separate and unify a space. Our house came with unchangeable, ugly wallpaper. So, I hung silk, grey curtains between the office and dining room. The colour unified the space and the soft folds of drapery, distracted from the wallpaper.

DON'T: Don't be afraid of unconventional. When I first moved to England, I found the most amazing cherry dining table with no chairs, so I pulled up a seatee instead. It was plush and comfortable, neutral and the small white pattern, matched the set of dining chairs purchased later and painted white.

DON'T: Don't be afraid to DIY. I found these incredible gold, faux bamboo frames, with the ugliest prints imaginable. So I bought them and gave them new life by framing within some abstract art. Now they are proudly hanging in my bedroom.

DO: Think about lighting. Never, ever buy fluorescent bulbs (except for your loft or garage). You want warm light in your rooms. It's the most flattering. Add lamps everywhere for mood lighting. I have them in my kitchen. Think of lamps like earrings, jewellery for your room.

DO: Put all your lamps on dimmers...You can thank me later.

And last, but not least..."DO" enjoy your home, have fun and don't ever apologise for your taste.

Stay tuned next month, for my before and after posts of our new house.

#decor #design #colour

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Crawley,West Sussex UK

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