Top 4 Secrets of an Interior Design Pro...

Today kicks off the launch of the blog here at Crystal Blackshaw Interiors!

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But why is that special? What’s going to make this design blog so different from all the rest? After all, any site can post up pics of some pretty interiors and write a few musings about decor, right? Well… yes. But I aim to do more. 

Here, you’ll get the inside scoop: a peek into the mind of a professional interior designer, and all the craziness that entails. I’m going to be sharing my no-holds-barred opinions on design principles and trends, as well as other topics I’ve spent a lifetime obsessing over. Plants. Family. Pets. All of the ups and downs, trials and errors, the frustrations and the ‘awesomeness’ that I have experienced (yes, I will be using that word a lot - because it is awesome). 

If this sounds like your jam, then welcome. I’d love for you to follow along and share your thoughts in response to my posts. Feel free to ask questions, and I may even have some for you!

So without further ado, let’s dive right into the topic of this post: my top 4 secrets as a design pro. 

#1 Cleaning!

Yep. Seriously. 

Have you ever had a room that just didn’t feel finished or comfortable, no matter how much stuff you put into it or how many times you rearranged the furniture? All that may have been needed was just a good deep clean. 

Forget all the time and money spent on fancy decorations and meticulous design plans. The secret weapon of every professional designer is simply cleaning. It’s the foundation for any good interior. 

Take away the clutter. Wash your windows. Hire an upholstery cleaner to wash the furniture, rugs, and draperies (yes, they will do all of that for you in-house). Buff out your baseboards. Clean your walls, and perhaps even run around and touch them up with paint. After all that, you will have a fresh, sparkling clean base to begin a successful interior design. Hell, you might even find that your doesn’t need as much design work as you thought you did! 

Eddie Ross’s Laundry Room via House Beautiful

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#2 Do NOT Over Decorate the Room

Unless you are a master stylist and innately know how to make an amazing “shelfie” with lots of items, it’s best to keep it simple. Contain your room’s palette to just 1-3 colors, and use like-items throughout the space. 

For example, you can use books, vases, collections of anything… but group them together. Even with picture frames, you’ll get the best results if you keep all of the frames the same for consistency. This tactic helps to create a cohesive look for the room, where everything appears as if it belongs together. 

Anne Sage’s shelfie via

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#3 Do NOT Buy Furniture Just to Fill an Empty Space

That empty corner is just staring you in the face. It’s practically screaming that you need to put something there ASAP. Anything, as long as it fills that awkward void. 

But WAIT! Wait until you can afford a quality piece, the perfect piece, your heirloom piece - the one special item that was meant to go there. 

My favorite quote is, “Buy the best, and you only cry once.” It’s so true. Leave the spot bare and work hard to save for a beautiful, quality furnishing. Think long and hard about what you’d love to have there, and how it will affect the rest of the room. 

As a designer, one of my biggest pet peeves is arriving at a house stuffed with crappy furniture. The owners always complain: they bought cheap, random pieces to get by, but they aren’t at all happy with their purchases. I have to come through and say “Donate it all, you’ve wasted your money, and now we have to spend more to do it right”. Yikes!

William McClure’s home via

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#4 Let Life Back Into the Room

This is my final piece of advice, and perhaps the most subtle yet impactful of all the tips. If you want a truly charming interior, it needs to have some life to it!

Open up your window shades. Turn on some mood lighting. Splurge on a bunch of flowers next time you visit the grocery store. Buy a plant. Even if you have a black thumb, there are varieties that only need to be watered twice a month and barely need any light (another post for another time). 

The ROI (return on investment) is in the form of environmental joy. I may have just made that up, but I like it! 

Setting the mood inside your home will subconsciously make you feel like you’re in a special place. It’s why restaurants, hotels, and luxe boutiques always feel so welcoming when you enter their lobbies. They are always clean, as well as full of soft music, flowers, and dimmed lighting. They’ve mastered the perfect cocktail of coziness.

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona Hotel via

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I’m sure you weren’t expecting these to be a designer’s top 4 secrets. However, if you can put a little energy into these tips, then I’m positive your outlook on your home will change for the better.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What never fails to make your home feel a little ? I can’t wait to hear them!