top of page

7 Rules to Follow in Home Design

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

*A note from the author: This podcast episode (as well as all future episodes) will be transcribed automatically. The author is currently aware of, and getting hives at the thought of, all of the grammatical errors she's finding as she proof reads her transcript. She recognizes that her former English teachers are likely rolling over in their graves, if that is where they currently reside, but also knows that some things just have to give. Please feel free to listen instead and be sure to read non-podcast posts so you can rest assured that she does, in fact, know how to compose written words into proper story telling.*

Links mentioned within the show:

Facebook Community:

5 Secrets for Elevating the Look of Your Home This Weekend:

Instagram: @figandfarm

Facebook: @figandfarm

Speaker 1: (01:25)

I have been a rule follower for as long as I can remember, not drawing negative attention to myself is, was probably at the heart of that. And I remember rules and I deeply attached to each other through elementary school, junior high, high school on every sports team I was on. And I was a lot into college into marriage. And even into the delivery room with my second son, I remember laboring all day at home and wanting to make sure that I was there to put my first son to bed before I went into the hospital. And in doing that, I missed my opportunity for an epidural. I wasn't too worried about that because the first time I gave birth, I got an epidural, but it didn't quite work. I still felt everything. And the anesthesiologist was wondering what is happening. So I wasn't too worried about missing it.

Speaker 1: (02:18)

But if you have given birth, or if you can imagine, you probably can fathom that it doesn't feel very good. Right? So I was in the delivery room with my second son and rules was right there with me. Rules was there as I was laboring, and I was starting to really feel it. I screamed and pushed, pushed, and screamed. And the doctor encouraged me set a rule, really set a rule saying, why don't you put all of the energy from your scream into your push. That was a rule that was a boundary that was set before me. And so I did it even though I did not want to, even though my body was telling me, do not do that, I did it. It was so beholden to the rule. Henry came all as well. Um, but that experience stayed with me that I was so worried about following a rule or breaking the rule that I did.

Speaker 1: (03:12)

What felt unnatural at the moment, rules continue to stay with me until I got into home decorating and in home decorating, I seem to have broken all of the rules. I don't hold height and fast to the rules and regulations that some designers might. And that's what I want to talk to you about today. So why am I talking to you then? Why is a show called seven rules to follow in home design? That's a good question. You might be surprised at the answer. Okay. So my top seven rules to follow in home design rule. Number one, don't get triggered by traps. You see on Pinterest. And if you can imagine Pinterest, you can see those pictures popping up at you. You might be drawn into something that might say five mistakes. You could be making in home design, 10 mistakes. You're making that make your home look stupid.

Speaker 1: (04:04)

They don't use that word, but they might as well. Right? So let me just start by saying, you know, if you're triggered by the word mistake or if you're drawn into the word mistake, and that is the thing that is kind of causing your action in your home design mistakes assume bad choices, but I want to remind you that that was the choice you made in your home, right? You made the choice for that fluffy pillow, or you made the choice for the too small rug, or you made the choice for the oversized couch or whatever it is that they are claiming is the mistake. And I'm air quoting. You made that choice because you liked it because you could afford it because it felt right at the time. And what I want to say is that those choices aren't mistakes, those choices were going to stick around until you hear number seven, because you're going to know what I think about those air quote mistakes in your home design.

Speaker 1: (04:59)

But I want you to know that when you make that choice and you're confident in that choice, or even you're not confident in that choice, it was a choice he made and you don't need to feel bad about it. And you certainly don't need to, to approach it, thinking that it was a mistake, maybe moving forward, you might recognize, oh, I'll make a better choice. Next time. I'll make a different choice next time. But it's not a mistake. The other thing too, when you get triggered by traps on Pinterest, or are some of the images, the perfect looking homes, the ones that look like it's a showcase it's on display. And I want to remind you is that memories are made and the messes love is fostered in the everyday mundane moments and those pictures that you see on Pinterest and on Instagram and all, all the places.

Speaker 1: (05:42)

Those are not the mundane moments. Those are the curated moments. Those are the highly picked up moments. Those are the guest is coming over in that guest as the queen moments. Those are sometimes the highly stressful moments and those mundane moments of life that make your life unique and wonderful and special and beautiful. Those mundane moments are not Pinterest images. They're not Instagram real worthy. They will never be. So I hereby give you permission to not be drawn into the idea that your decision-making was a mistake. Instead. Maybe you can use that information as a tool to move forward. So for example, if one of the mistakes is your curtains are too short, a mistake, you're making us at your curtains. You bought the 84 inch curtains instead of the 96 inch curtains. Okay. Think about why they're telling you 96 inch curtains are what you should buy and why they're saying that.

Speaker 1: (06:43)

Could you use that as information to inform decision-making in the future? Yes, absolutely. But you certainly don't need to feel bad about the decision you made in the past when you bought the 84 inch curtains. And this leads me to rule number two, stop comparing your home to your friend's home or worse. The home you see on Pinterest. Okay. Are you catching the theme here on any day in any situation? Comparison is just not a good thing, right? It leaves you feeling like you can't measure up. Like you might be unworthy. Like you might feel defeated less than, and that is not a good, that's not a good feeling anywhere. Anytime. It just doesn't. So imagine creating a home and a home environment for your family with that mindset, you come in thinking I'm never going to measure up to Susie down the street. My home is never going to be as beautiful as Nancy's and then you create a space.

Speaker 1: (07:42)

Sure. It might be pretty, but if you go into it with the idea that it's never going to be this, or if it's never going to be that it's always going to be less than think about the culture you're creating for your family. With that mindset. Probably not a great one. So can you use your friend's home or the pictures you see on Pinterest as an inspiration? Absolutely. Okay. I've been hinting at this for a while, but in July next week, actually we are starting a little series called, but where do I start? And we are going to be talking about how to use Pinterest as a tool instead of a trap, because we all know it can be a trap. It can be a trap for a time. It can be a time suck and it can also make us feel less than, and we don't want that.

Speaker 1: (08:22)

We want to use it as a tool, but your friend's home, you know, you have relationship with your friend and you might think you might go over and you might see all of the beautiful things that they've created or done or put together. And if you leave feeling, oh, my home will never measure up. I wonder if you can start asking your friend questions, start learning in the same way that you're learning from the MIS you know, air quote, mistakes that drew you in, in that first rule, the same way that you're learning there. Can you learn from your friend? Can you start asking your friend questions about the choices she made? Can you say, I just admire your home so much and the way that you put it all together. Can you tell me a little bit, can you teach me a little bit?

Speaker 1: (09:07)

How did you make this feel cohesive or what, what were some of the things you thought about that made your space feel cozy? These are the feelings I feel when I'm here and I love it. How did you do that? And be specific? Your friend might not know. Sometimes it is inherent and sometimes they're just really good at it. Sometimes them not knowing and then verbalizing it. It might come out a little clunky and chunky, but that's okay. Right? It's like peer teaching. You can learn from your friend. Even if your friend is not a designer, they give you tools and tips that they used, and you can apply them to your own home, to your own style. This happened to me early, early on. When we first owned our home, our first home in Iowa, I had two girlfriends who, every time I went to their home, it was beautiful.

Speaker 1: (09:53)

And I was so inspired and I started asking questions. I started paying attention. I started noticing the teeny tiny little details that carried over from one room to the next. And when it was time for me to start thinking about, oh, you know, I'm ready to paint my kitchen. I called up one of those friends. And I said, what do I think about here? What I'm thinking about a color change and what would you do? And that was so helpful. It was a trusted friend and her advice was a starting point for me. So ask your friend some questions. If their homes are inspiring to you, ask, bring over a coffee, sit down, take notes, take pictures, and ask the third rule to follow in home design, be wary of designers who overuse the word should or who don't seem to understand that they are not going to be living there once they're done designing your project.

Speaker 1: (10:52)

Oh, basically what that boils down to is who don't listen to your wants, your needs, your desires, your hopes for the space who have closed minded, ideas and opinions who are so beholden to their own way of doing things that they forget, that you actually live there. Be wary of that. I want to tell you a story about a client. I had recently, she came to me admitting a little sheepishly that she has outdated furniture, but it's furniture she loves. And she won. She wanted to make her space feel cohesive with using that outdated furniture. Okay. So that was a preface. That was a conversation we had before I even walked into this space. And when I walked in, yes, I saw a furniture that was from probably the 1990s, but this furniture, um, it was a couch and a love seat. And the furniture was color that they loved.

Speaker 1: (11:51)

It was in really great, great condition. And it was super comfy. It also had a story. It had traveled with them from their old house into this new home and they loved it and a story. They loved it. They wanted to keep it. Awesome. Fantastic. So how do we design around that? So I had two choices. I had two options. One was to take the route of, well, you could do this, but you need to make sure that you have the brand new furniture, because it's going to look outdated no matter what you do. Or using that as my foundation to my design and creating a space that felt like it could update the area, update the room without eliminating the couches that they loved. Can you guess which one I did? Yeah. I designed around it. We toned down the color of the couch by bringing in neutrals and lights.

Speaker 1: (12:46)

You better believe I did get on my hands and knees after asking permission to see if there was any way we could remediate the skirting around the couch ourselves so that we could highlight the legs of the couch and make that feel more modern. Okay. That didn't quite work. We had to leave the skirting, but bringing in neutral color chairs to compliment or contrast these hunter, green couches, neutralized the green, and it made the space feel a little bit more cohesive of course, with other things too. But the point is having a designer. If you are hiring a designer, hiring one who respects that you might love the things that you love, even if it is in disagreement with their style, their philosophy, their aesthetic, because ultimately it is your space, your home, the designer doesn't live there and you need to be happy with it.

Speaker 1: (13:40)

So keep that in mind, if you're hiring a designer and one other quick tip, if you are hiring a designer, you cannot overshare. So give them lots of details. Lots of information about how you use the room, want to use the room, what you love, what you don't love. All of that information is so helpful for your designer to be able to hone in on your, static, the style that you're going for and the culture of the room you want to create. So you can not overshare. One other quick tip that I just thought of is just make sure that you have conversations with your designer before you hire them. Can you connect with them on a personal level? Do they make you feel at ease because chances are, if they make you feel at ease are gonna bring that vibe into your home rule.

Speaker 1: (14:27)

Number four, which really piggybacks on the story. I just shared about my client, pay attention to the suite, three letter word, joy that client, I just talked about. Those couches brought her joy. She loved her couches. And when I mentioned in that story, I said, period. End of story. There we go. That is the inspiration behind the room. That is a foundation. Oftentimes when you approach your home design, designing with one inspiration piece is super important. That one inspiration piece can inform the design for your entire room. In that case, in the case of my client, those hunter green couches were the inspiration behind the entire room design several years ago, when we moved from Iowa to the Pacific Northwest, I wanted to redo our master bedroom. Actually I wanted to just do our master bedroom. It was painted beige. And when we moved in, it was still beige.

Speaker 1: (15:24)

And I, I didn't want that. I had one piece in mind that informed the design decisions for the entire room. It was a gift that was made for me from one of my dear friends from Iowa. And it was a quilt. And if you have ever sowed, if you've ever quilted, you know, that that is a labor of love. And to gift that, to give it away just with so incredibly generous, the quilt was all of my favorite colors, aquas and greens, but light greens, like lime greens and Shar, true screens and whites and pinks. So all of that together informed the colors. I brought into my room and I decided to paint the walls. The foundation, a light gray grays were starting to come in at the time and starting to take over for the beiges of the years prior. And then I started bringing in other colors that were from the quilt I brought in white dovey cover.

Speaker 1: (16:15)

I brought in some, just a few pieces of pink, a pink pillow, a little bit of pink on a Euro sham, and then Aqua curtains and some light greens just here and there. That quilt brought me so much joy and served as an inspiration piece. So if you're ever stuck on a design, and if you're wondering, gosh, I could give anything away in this room, but this one thing, that's your ticket girls. That is the ticket. That can be the inspiration piece for your entire room. Taking colors from that playing off of that one inspiration piece can inform an entire room's design. So just as important as paying attention to that three little word joy and the things that bring you joy and informing design based on those things, the things you want to keep, the things you want to hold on, to pay attention to the things that don't bring you joy that you walk by and you think actually it doesn't bring me joy.

Speaker 1: (17:10)

It, I hate this piece. I abor this piece. I detest this piece. I despise this piece. Those are such strong words that cannot be ignored. Okay. Pay attention to it. And then I want you to dive a little bit deeper and ask yourself why, why does that piece in your room bring up so much yuck that you can say, I hate that piece. I don't like that piece, whatever it is, ask yourself the question. Why, why doesn't it bring joy? Does it trigger a memory? Was it given to you by someone? And that has a negative connotation? Does it feel outdated or old or like it is live its story and its purpose and you are no longer living that. Does it feel like it needs to be retired? Maybe that's it. Maybe it's something else entirely, but pay attention to that. Is it just that you walk by anything that is just so ugly before discarding it before dismissing it?

Speaker 1: (18:13)

I want you to think now about how you can view it in a different light. Is it something that can be modified? Is it something that with a little creativity, you can update it into a way that would be, um, maybe more modern, maybe start telling a new story. Like in the case of my client's couch, when I got on my hands and knees and looked underneath the skirting, I was trying to tell a new story. I was trying to see if we could change out the legs in order to give it an updated look. Maybe it's something that can be painted. If it's maybe an old piece of furniture that aunt Mildred gave to you. And it just reminds you of going to aunt Mildred's house every summer and how aunt Mildred always had doilies and you are not an oily person. And it just makes you feel like you are stuck in the 1970s or whatever.

Speaker 1: (19:03)

Can it be modified? Can it be painted? Chances are, yes, it can. Can you update it in a way that tells your story and gives personality your personality to a piece that seems like it could be retired. So that can happen. And I want to encourage you to think before you pass something, by like a piece of furniture, I want to encourage you to try thinking about it in a different light. What is the worst that can happen? If you paint it, you have to repaint it. Maybe you have to sand it. What is the worst that can happen if you add wallpaper backing to the back of the bookshelf, because you hate the bookshelf. Well, maybe you'd take off the backing and you have it. Sit, flush against the wall. Maybe you give it away, but you would have given it away. Anyway, girls, I have a class online it's hosted through teachable and is how to paint furniture using chalk paint.

Speaker 1: (19:55)

Go check it out. If you have a piece that you walk by and it feels so tired and like it is ready to retire, you're ready to take it to the dump. You're ready to give it away. You're ready to kick it to the curb. Maybe you could paint it. Maybe that painting can not only be a way to update it, to modify it into the current century. That maybe it is something that you can, it can now start reflecting you. You can find that class on my website, fig and underneath the tab courses. And it'll take you right there. All right. Rule number six is really akin to rule number five. Remember that it's okay to break the rules or guidelines of home design. If it makes you happy. That's the bottom line. If it makes you happy, don't worry about breaking the rules.

Speaker 1: (20:44)

Okay? So rules to me feel, they feel stiff rules to me feel rigid constricting. And so moving forward, you are not going to hear me talk about rules. You're not hear me talk about guidelines. And those guidelines are, are helpful. Those guidelines. These are meant to be a tool for you to find your way in the dark. They're meant to be a tool for you to use and to fall back on if you need it, if you want it. But ultimately it is never meant to be a, you should do this. You need to do that. You have to do that. If you like 84 inch curtains, and I'm saying, Hey, you need to use 96 inch curtains. Cause it's going to make your room look better. But you like the 84 inch curtains, great use the 84 inch curtains because of it makes you happy.

Speaker 1: (21:38)

It is your home and you live there. I don't. And neither does any other designer unless you live with the designer as thinking about guidelines, to follow and guides in general and life. Examples of what real life guides are like the idea of climbing Mount Everest and using a Sherpa as a guide in order to help you navigate that road successfully, smoothly and safely, immediately came to mind and I've never been to Mount Everest. I've never hired a Sherpa, but I imagine that Sherpas are there in order to lighten the load, they're there to navigate the journey. They're there to help navigate the weather to help you stay as safe as you can be. And they're there because they have experience. They have a lot of experience. They know the weather patterns to look out for. They know when to say no, when to turn back, they know what footholds to hang on to and what is safe and what is not safe.

Speaker 1: (22:38)

They know when to challenge and to push and they know when to pull back. And so if you'll let me, I will be your Sherpa providing guidelines along the way in order to allow you to make the choices that will best reflect you and your family's story in your home design. Of course, I am not going to be responsible for the safety and your livelihood. Like a Sherpa would be bet providing those guidelines, providing a safe place for you to experiment and to land and to bounce ideas off of is what I hope to do here. And as your Sherpa, I am giving you all permission to make design decisions that make you happy. That bring you joy. I give you permission to discern which guidelines are applicable to you, which guidelines you would like to use to in order to inform your design, which guidelines make sense for you, not what rules you need to follow, not who you need to compare yourself to.

Speaker 1: (23:35)

None of that. And that leads me to rule number seven, which actually comes from the great American poet. Maya Angelou, do the best you until you know, better. Then when you know, better do better. That's the goal here at Feygin farm at home. The goal is to provide guidelines and not rules guidelines that will help you to make the most informed design decisions for your family so that you can learn to tell your family story with your style. And you can do it in a way that reflects you. And not me because I don't live there with you. The goal is to empower you to shrug off the comparison, shrug off the idea that you have made mistakes in home design. They're not mistakes. They're like happy accidents, right? But Bob Ross would always say, they're happy accidents. So girls, I hope today's episode was helpful. The seven rules you must follow in home design is basically not following the rules, using the guidelines to serve you in a way that really serves you all right, next week, you're going to want to return as we start the series, but where do I start? I hope you stick around CSN.

2 views0 comments


bottom of page