I have a friend who just moved into a new apartment and she was stuck in design limbo.

Design limbo = that place between throwing things together you already own because you’ve had them forever and wanting to create a beautiful new home.

She was lost in the sense of enormity of the project and conflicted by the “should’s” and “shouldn’ts”.

So, like most, she did nothing until she eventually called upon my help.

Together, we went inwards, identified what she wanted her new home to feel like and unleashed her inner designer.
I’ll share with you the same tips that worked for her, so you too can learn to design from the inside out.

You can read all the design “how to’s”, but until you discover your own inner designer you will be creating a space based on the formulaic rules that apply to anyone.

And let’s admit it, you’re not just anyone! You are uniquely YOU and you deserve your home to be a true representation of who you are.

When designing, I’ve found there are three inner categories to explore. We’ll go through all three and I’ll give you a quick challenge for each one.

#1 – Patterns

Each of us has routines and preferences that make up our unique pattern.

For instance, when you are sleeping, how do you lay in bed? I tend to lay on my side and love the ability to both curl up next to the wall as well as reach over to grab my notebook in the morning. So, this means I place my bed next to the wall with a small nightstand on the other side. My nightstand needs to have enough space for a lamp and some books. That means I actually chose a nightstand that is a small bookshelf.

Another example might be a habit you want to implement. For instance, what if you would like a daily movement practice and can’t seem to make it consistent? You can think of an existing habit and add a design trigger to it. Such as, you always wake up, go to the bathroom, and get a glass of water. What if you put a water bottle and your work out shoes right outside of the bathroom? That way, every morning you wake up, go to the bathroom, and put on your workout shoes and fill up your water bottle!

The idea is to identify a personal pattern and design your space based on that.

:: Your Pattern Mission… should you choose to accept it ::
Think of one preference or routine you have when you first wake up in the morning and then one way you can adjust your design around your personal pattern.


#2 – Atmosphere

Atmosphere is all about how you want your home to FEEL.

Maybe you see a modern, sleek photo in a magazine and you try to replicate it for your home. Afterwards, you love to show off your handiwork, but it doesn’t actually make you feel cozy and homey.

What if you designed the other way around? From how you want your space to feel.

Atmosphere is especially key when your home isn’t ideal. Maybe it’s not your dream home in terms of size, amenities or layout. Does that mean you still have to dread coming home? Nope! You can still create a space that you love to come home to.

:: Your Atmosphere Mission… should you choose to accept it ::
Write down how you’d love your home to feel when you wake up in the morning. You can start out with a few, but then pick just ONE of those feelings, head to your bedroom, and decide on one thing to remove or add to make it feel that way.


#3 – Aesthetics

Most people jump to this part and skip over the previous two steps. But, by completing them, you have a much easier and more satisfying experience choosing a style to guide your design. So be sure to complete #1 and #2 first. 🙂

Now that you know what your patterns are and the atmosphere you want, you can choose textures, colors, and overall styling to match.

If you don’t spend much time at home and you want to feel refreshed, as though you clear the slate when you get home, maybe you choose whites and aesthetics with simple curves. A simple sanctuary without many distractions.

Or if your home is your place for creativity to blossom and you want to feel inspired and alive. Bright colors, organized craft materials with some art on the walls, might be more of your aesthetic style.

The key is that it is an extension of who you are and how you want your home to feel.

:: Your Aesthetics Mission… should you choose to accept it ::
In 1-2 sentences, summarize your aesthetic style similarly to the examples I gave above. Then, have some fun by making a Pinterest board. This can be a great way to play with possibilities on a small scale.

Go forth and unleash your inner designer!
Create a home that looks + feels like an accurate picture of who YOU are.

And if you’re up for it, share your design findings in the comments!


Photo by

  • LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? Get more goodies for FREE!


  1. Good article and I was pleased to recognize that I do these things already ! I must have lots of color all around me to feel good. I use garden banners inside, calendar pictures, magazine cutouts on pieces of paper then tape to closet doors, quality pictures on the walls, cards, posters, stick-ons for the windows and walls, and knick-knacks of a wide variety on tables and dressers. Some of the walls are pale green or mellow yellow. Furniture is mish-mash and that works for us. I cover up pieces that aren’t so good with tablecloths or runners. It is fun to switch things with the seasons.

Comments are closed.