The DIY Interior Design Game

Designing your own home gives you the opportunity to play the game and seal your victories
Photo Credits: Photography by Eric Piasecki
August 1, 2023

Doing-It-Yourself is profoundly rewarding. Only when you “play” can you reap the priceless comfort, sentimentality, and true connection that comes with designing your home with intention.

Allow me to relay some fail-proof rules to assure a glorious triumph to the DIY Interior Design game:

1. ART is the staple that no home can do without. A home that is monochrome or rich in palette, minimal or cluttered, is fascinating either way with a rich mix of ART (I capitalize purposely). I suggest framing your children’s artwork with a thick, bold or elaborate frame, or a collection of love notes to your spouse framed together on a single board. These are the real protagonists in making a house a home. Also, ART which poses as furniture, akin to design pieces by artists like Yves Klein or Claude Lalanne, is always a win. Follow Larry’s List on Instagram to get creative juices stirring. ART is everything. Live in ART.

2. It has been said that beauty is the midpoint between order and complexity. That which is typically defined as beautiful is the perfect balance between order and chaos. Avoid homogenous “cookie-cutter” design and create a rich concoction of older pieces reupholstered in fresh modern fabrics. Work in enthusiastic twists and pops of bold patterns from a rug or textured accent pillows. The mix will guarantee a space that is anything but stiff or banal.

3. Tinge your rooms with nostalgia and familiarity. A mix of mid-century pieces that are reminiscent of old films or our grandparents’ homes just as framing and properly displaying love notes or your children’s art is a clever way of working this aspect in.

4. As in many games, DIY implies continuous challenges, each challenge leading to a next. This is so that you will forever be “hooked” on continuing the game. Designing your home never ends, just as you, your lifestyle and taste along with that of your family continues to evolve. Try moving pieces and art around every so often; have a chaise newly reupholstered; bring out all the vases and buy tons of flowers to literally BRING LIFE to every room.

5. First challenge. WALLS. You can never go wrong with an off-white shade for walls. It gives you an easy and elegant blank canvas. It’s modern; it won’t tire you in the long run; and it gives you less limitations with the rest of the decor. Art also stands out better on a white wall. And well, since Art is a priority, then white it is. (Wall paint rec: Sherwin Williams Pro-classic in Satin Extra White)

6. Next goal: Begin with one piece. A rug is a good start. In my humble opinion, there is only one stop for a rug: CC-TAPIS. Their warm, professional and exquisitely tasteful team make it the ultimate of rug companies. Their rugs range from protagonistic avant-garde designs from collaborations with prestigious artists to more subtle and traditional styles that blend in. Once you experience their phenomenal attention and customer service, you’ll never again look elsewhere. Their custom-made silk-wool-linen-blend rugs, manufactured in Nepal, take 3 months to produce (www.cc-tapis.com).

7. FURNITURE. Mid-century furniture comes at a much better price than contemporary or newly reproduced versions. The quality and design integrity of a mid-century piece is (in my humble opinion) SUPERIOR than so many of the contemporary products offered today. The age a mid-century piece bears gives it life, sophistication, intrigue, and its endurance only ensures its quality. It’s about finding the new in the old. And through reupholstery, it’s about making the old modern. You can track down some phenomenal finds on 1stdibs.com. I believe they represent the most curated galleries across the globe. A caveat, you might find yourself spending countless hours in wanderlust on their website.

8. “Playing” the home design game means working out your own strategy towards each win. Once you’ve made a commitment to one piece then you go from there, working the next pieces and accents in its favor. INSPIRE YOURSELF, CONTINUOUSLY. Look into these studios, and those listed at the end, to feed and educate your eye. Madrid-based Casa Muñoz is an interior design unicorn. The work of design duo, Mafalda Muñoz and Gonzalo Machado, is sophistication at its very best. Milan, the global interior design capital, is home to two other notable galleries. Rossana Orlandi herself is an authority on and her gallery a source of cutting edge contemporary international design. Dimore Studio is an exquisite gallery specializing in mid-century design, and their pieces are as curated as it gets.

9. The fun is in the details. Here is where you tie it all together! Embellish with artful quirky accessories, such as JG Switzer or Trame Sofa Pillows and Gaetano Pesce vases and baskets. BOOKS are the best and most functional accessories. BOOKS EVERYWHERE, IN EVERY ROOM. They hold so much presence and intrigue whether opened or not. A book in gigantic TASCHEN proportions can sit on a stand and pose as art. Look into Urban Flower Grange Hall (IG @ufgrangehall) for inspiration on otherworldly accents for your home. This gem in Dallas could as easily exist in design capitals like Paris, London, Milan or Madrid and be just as sublime. Here you can find delightful quirky accessories to fill in the spaces and wow your game spectators.

PREFERRED LIST OF DESIGN STUDIOS, ARCHITECTS AND GALLERIES FOR INSPO
(in no particular order):

Casa Muñoz
Rossana Orlandi
Martin Brudnizki
Kelly Behum Studio
Fox Nahem Associates, Interior Design Studio
Rees Roberts Partners Design Studio
Pierre Yovanovitch interior design
Michael Reynolds Nyc
Dezso Interiors
Peter Pennoyer Architects
Studio Rick Joy
Dimore Studio, Milan
LA Studio, Madrid
Sputnik Modern, NYC and Dallas
Jousse Entreprise Gallery
J Duncan Campbell
Larrys_list (Instagram)
Framework Studio
South Loop Loft Gallery, Chicago
1stdibs.com
Urban Flower Grange Hall

Some design inspo from the internet

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