How Designers Should Design Their Living Space

As a designer, your personal living space is your opportunity to highlight your ability to create a look that stands out from the ordinary. At the same time, because a designer has free reign. Their home can become a mish mash of different styles and unusual designs that are a bit too much.

Courtesy of Giphy
Courtesy of Giphy

It is important designers move forward with a very specific set of ideas in order to create a living space that is a showcase of exactly what type of work the designer is capable of.

Here’s a room-by-room guide on how to do it.


Courtesy of Giphy
Courtesy of Giphy

The kitchen is often called the heart of the home. Many people have memories of spending time in the kitchen with their mothers learning how to cook, eating family meals, and hanging out with friends. Because the kitchen is such a traditional atmosphere, it is best to create a design that is a bit traditional in nature. That doesn’t mean the kitchen has to be boring, though. Some places where you can show off your design skills include:

  • The backsplash — A unique backsplash can be the focal point of the kitchen.
  • Latest appliances — Invest in appliances that are futuristic and have the latest technology.
  • Art work and accessories — Add interest with beautiful paintings, sculptures above the cabinets and other unusual accessories that set your design apart from the hundreds of other kitchens in a neighborhood.

One example is a nautical themed kitchen with traditional white cabinets and a subway tile backsplash. Within those backsplash tiles are “porthole” windows, giving the kitchen

A designer will notice small touches the average person might not, such as the antique wire basket on the counter with fruit or the hand painted tiles that make up the backsplash.

Living Room

Your living room is likely the first room in your guests will see. It is vital it is warm and welcoming, but it should also look like a model home. While it is important to put your own style stamp on your home, you also want it to be a room that you and visitors will be comfortable in. Ideas include:

  • Furniture — Choose comfort over appearance. Yes, a beautiful couch is necessary, but even more important is a couch you can actually sit on and watch television or talk to visitors.
  • Pillows — When in doubt, add some gorgeous throw pillows. They can dress up a plain room on a small budget.
  • Theme — Try to stick with a theme for this room. If you start with a French country look, then don’t throw in modern pieces that simply don’t mix.

Notice how this basement has simple, traditional furniture. However, the designer has added some throw pillows to add color and pattern.

Designers will notice if colors complement one another and if it is a room that is comfortable but also beautiful.

Outdoor Living Spaces

When people come to visit your home, chances are that you wind up entertaining outdoors, at least part of the time. That is why it is vital you add an element of design to your outdoor space just as you would to your indoor space. Some ideas for designing an amazing outdoor space include:

  • Patios — Backyards can benefit from patios where the entire family can gather, effectively expanding your living space.
  • Fire pits and fireplaces — Whether
    our family enjoys gathering around a campfire-style site or a more formal fireplace, you can make this the focal point of your backyard space.
  • Containers and flower beds — Don’t forget to design the front of the house so people are impressed from the minute they walk up to your house until the minute they leave.

One example is to create a unique theme that wraps the front of the house to the back, such as a Far East landscape theme.

Outdoor space is often overlooked but holds a lot of potential inspiration for a designer. The outside of your home offers potential to add curb appeal or to make a backyard retreat that truly sets your home apart.


A home office needs to be functional. However, as a designer, the way your home office is designed can also make an impression on a potential client. If your office just has a couple of file cabinets thrown into the corner, a beat-up desk and a fold-up chair, you aren’t likely to impress anyone with your design skills. Instead, try focusing on:

  • Contrasts — Choose a light floor and dark furniture or vice versa. Your office can be your opportunity to show clients that you understand the contrasts a room should have to add depth to the look.
  • Wall color — Don’t be afraid to use a unique color on the walls of your office or to highlight a particularly interesting paint design, have one wall with a special treatment, or even place clapboard on one wall.
  • Organization — As a designer, you likely have plenty of samples for your clients. Don’t allow these to be messy. Come up with an attractive way to organize sample palettes and materials.

Notice how functional and organized this office is. Samples can be stored in an island with drawers on one end. This allows the designer to pull out samples and lay them out for clients to look at.

A messy office isn’t likely to impress your clients. Use this space to showcase your skills in design and organization.

Make It Your Own

Courtesy of Giphy
Courtesy of Giphy

Your living space should be your own. Even though you want to illustrate that you understand the client’s potential style, it is most important you illustrate you understand your own style and aren’t afraid to show it. Implement the techniques listed above and you should have a home that you’re proud to bring clients to.


Written by lexie

Lexie is a designer, writer, and coffee lover. She writes about trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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