Think small details…
Ever wonder what interior designers have in their own homes? What are their secrets to curating beautiful spaces? The answer isn’t a specific sofa or coffee table. Rather, it’s about the small details—decor and other products that often put the finishing touches on a room. From the bedroom to the bathroom and even the kitchen, here are ten things you’ll always find in an interior designer’s home.
Quality Cleaning Products
“Products that make cleaning and daily life less of a chore are at the top of every designer’s must-haves,” says Shay Holland, interior designer and host of HGTV’s Unfinished Business.
These range from inexpensive items, such as Magic Erasers (which are great for removing scuffs from walls), to higher-end products like a Dyson vacuum cleaner. “Not only do Dyson machines look fantastic, but the super slim design and attachments also allow for cleaning of everything from rugs to sofa cushions,” Holland explains.
If a Dyson isn’t in your budget, several other brands make similar products that are slimly designed and just as easy to store. Check out some of our favorite vacuums at a wide range of prices.
Well-Crafted Kitchen Essentials
From beautiful wood spatulas to chicly designed espresso makers, Holland reveals interior designers will often have well-crafted kitchen essentials in their homes. Any items that are stored on the kitchen countertop are particularly important. “For us, aesthetically pleasing tools are essential to feed the soul, as well as the stomach. Practical can be pretty,” she says.
Spending a night or two at the home of an interior designer? One thing you won’t need to worry about is sleeping on scratchy sheets, Holland tells me. “We’ll also have exceptional linens, especially bedding. No one likes to sleep on cheap sheets that pill after the first wash or that bunch up after a night’s sleep. While thread count can be an indicator of quality, we don’t get wrapped up in it.” Not sure which to get? Here are some of the best bed sheets we’ve tested.
Interior designers know how to light it up. This means having adequate lighting sources throughout the home and swapping out builder-grade fixtures for something more stylish. “Every designer will also have good lighting,” Holland says. “Lighting isn’t just a style decision, it can actually impact one’s mood and sense of well-being—and great design aims to elevate both.”
Even opting for quality light bulbs can improve a home’s ambiance. So, skip the fluorescent bulbs and opt for classic incandescent or more energy-efficient LED bulbs instead.
Malka Helft of Think Chic Interiors tells me designers always have quality table linens, such as cloth napkins, in their homes. “Cloth napkins are one of my secret touches when it comes to hosting events and elevating the dining experience. With interesting patterns and designs, a beautiful fabric napkin can add that extra touch of sophistication that sets your home apart.”
A Well-Accessorized Bathroom
While powder rooms are often small, they present a great opportunity for bold design. “Bathroom accessories can have a surprising impact on the ambiance of a powder room. I frequently switch out my soap dispenser, wastebasket, tissue box holder, and other little touches in order to keep things fresh and interesting,” Heft says. “Whether crafted from leather, metal, or glass, these small upgrades can make a big difference.”
No matter the style of your bathroom, you can’t go wrong with white towels, according to Heft. “I stock up on bath towels, hand towels, and face towels in stark white. These fluffy towels create a polished, retreat-like atmosphere that my guests always comment on. While they may show dirt more easily, they are a breeze to clean and never fade. Plus, you can always find them on sale if you keep an eye out.” Plus, if you keep some bleach in your cleaning kit, white towels are surprisingly easy to keep clean.
A Catchall Tray
Whether it’s on a nightstand, entryway, or home office, most designers use chic catchall trays to organize miscellaneous objects. “We wear many different hats and are always kept on our toes, our catchall trays being a true representation of that. Usually filled with keys (our own and clients’ homes or storage units), a lighter or matchbox from our favorite working lunch spot, a chic measuring tape, a designer deck of cards, an assortment of stolen pens, and of course, a crystal and palo santo,” says David Samuel Ko of Maison Ko. “As a constant host, it also comes in handy when you have guests over, since it acts as the curated junk drawer and you never know what you might need.”
Coffee Table Books
Vy Truong, co-founder and principal designer at Very Handsome Studio, tells me that interior designers always have large architecture or design coffee table books in their homes. “They’re great for decor and to flip through for inspiration. I tend to find a unique comfort in seeing the splashes of color, harmonizing variations of patterns, and distinct design of other homes.”
Designers can’t get enough bold, sculptural vases, especially ones of varying sizes. “A good addition to any room, fun and unexpected vases that match the theme, tone, or design of your home are great for adding visual interest,” Truong says.
Amanda Lauren, REAL SIMPLE