Our Experts' Best Interior Design Advice

Thursday, October 06, 2016


We asked some of our on-staff design gurus to share their favorite decorating tips of all time, from essential truths that everybody should live by to more specific advice that only the pros know: 

Invest wisely

"Spend the majority of your budget on art and the major upholstered pieces. Quality is important and will save you in the long run." —Rosie Pinedo, Cisco Home Costa Mesa

"Work with classic designs for the main pieces and make trendier items accessories or lighting, to have the room remain timeless." —Lance Terrile, Cisco Home Melrose

"You get what you pay for! Pay quality prices for the main pieces, like your sofa, your bed and the dining table that your family will gather around for years to come. Budgets sometimes don't allow for you to do everything at once, so make a design plan and buy to the plan, room by room." —Carla Sofia, Cisco Home Melrose

Color theories

"Fluidity is important. We want to float from room to room organically, so pick a theme and color scheme to use throughout the house. One color can be more prominent in one room while in the next it plays as an accent piece." —Carla Sofia

"When painting a room always pay attention to how the light in the room changes as the day goes on. Place large samples of a color on each wall so you can see how the color looks at different times of the day." —Lance Terrile

"Bold patterns and bold color can be sued in small spaces. A powder room for instance is a perfect place to use that must-have herringbone black and white wallpaper or floor pattern." —Carla Sofia

Style is in the mix

"Mix it up with different textures of upholstery and layers of textiles to amplify the space so it looks multi-dimensional, especially if you're doing a lot of neutrals." —Susie Ahern, Cisco Home Pasadena

"Beyond color and pattern, look for variations in textures of fabrics. You want to avoid repeating too much of the same weave." —Amanda Overton, Cisco Home Pasadena

"Don't forget to mix up the surfaces of your hard pieces too. Layer different materials look wood, metal, glass and mirror." —Rosie Pinedo

"Don't forget the legs of your furniture! You should mix it up, with some short, some long, some curvy and some variation in styles. Together this brings visual interest to a room." —Amanda Overton

"Two words about wood: Stains and grains! It's always important to use consistent or complementary stains and finishes, but the grains of the wood should never be repeated more than once. It's ideal to have one 'statement' grain like teak or reclaimed Douglas fir, then blend in other complementary woods such as antique oak or walnut." —Amanda Overton

A room's "envelope" is as important as the contents

"Always start floor up, whether it's hardwood, carpet or tile. Work from a color in the flooring to start your scheme for the room." —Lance Terrile

"Window treatments in most rooms are like the eyebrows to our face. They balance and anchor the features, so make them strong and pop. Mount them 1 foot higher than the windows, fooling the eye into seeing a taller and more prominent space." —Carla Sofia

Accessories define your style

"If your budget can't accommodate the total remake of your living room, a few pillows go a long way. Find your favorite print and get a lush, cushy pillow in that fabric." —Amanda Overton

"Every room should have a couple of vintage or global pieces, without going overboard." —Rosie Pinedo

"Let your investment pieces be a focal point. Have a family heirloom painting? Hang it above the fireplace. Gorgeous antique paneled screen? Use it as wall art." —Susie Ahearn

"I always say, 'If you love it, it will work.' Show off your old antique screen or grandmother's rocking chair by putting it front and center. Placement and balance are key. An antique seen can make a great room divider or a unique one-of-a-kind headboard—I have a Moroccan dressing screen that I use this way. Your grandmother's rocking chair reupholstered can fit into any setting. As long as the color scheme and balance is there, it will work!" —Carla Sofia 

The interior design experts at Cisco Home stores are full of great advice like this, and their services are free when you shop with us!