Ask The Designer: Top Asked Design Questions?

Ask The Designer: Top Asked Design Questions?

For this segment of “Ask The Designer: Top Asked Design Questions? “

I was so lucky to have the privilege to work with 10 brilliant bloggers, to get their Q & A on Top Asked Design Questions for decorating. These ladies are all experts in their fields, and come from all walks of life from around the world. Let’s see what questions they bring to the table and what their answers are?


 Sarah Foote @The Project Pile 

How do You Make Those Teeny-Tiny Spaces Look and Feel Larger?

Sarah- In order to help make those teeny-tiny, small spaces in your home look, or at least feel a little larger than they really are, I first off, would definitely recommend using a light paint color! Maybe even pick a light paint color that you like, and then actually even go one shade lighter. On top of that, you also want to incorporate as much natural light as possible into your space. Mirrors or a shiny-ish wallpaper can really help with reflecting a little more natural light into a room. Another great trick of the eye can be done using your window treatments! Rather than fitting them to your window, hang them from ceiling to floor. This will help to create the illusion of larger windows and higher ceilings, which will definitely help your space feel larger!”


Light paint colors always make spaces feel bigger. Try using mirrors to reflect light and give the illusion of a larger space. Also make sure your room has good lighting. Bright and cheerful goes a long way to making a room feel larger. Finally do not over crowd small areas with too much furniture, sometimes less is more. We just added white Wainscot panels to our Master Tolite Room and it really brighten up the space a lot along with some flush mount LED lights, seen here in this post: $100 Room Challenge and ORC Retro Fit.

Denise Bryant @My Thrifty House

Do You Decorate with Thrift Store & Flea Market Finds?

Denise- I have been married for 27 years with 4 children and when my husband was in the Navy we moved a lot and we couldn’t afford to make new purchases every time something didn’t “work” or “fit” in our new household. I naturally had to get creative and make things work or find an affordable alternative and that is how my love affair with “junkin” started.

Flea markets and thrift stores are filled with treasures that others have cast off as trash. I can always take something old and make it new again by cleaning it up, painting it or repurposing it. Chairs, frames, wood furniture and lamps are my weakness when it comes to adding flea market and thrift store finds into my home. They are inexpensive, easy to paint and can add such an impact to any room for just a fraction of what you would pay in a retail store.


We love to go treasure hunting, especially while traveling. I find some the best stuff when I am nowhere near my local area but I usually do not have a lot space to take it all with me either. I personally love to refinish old items, I feel like they have a story and history that deserves to be preserved. It has become very popular so I have found that certain thing have become completely overpriced and the market is really flooded with a lot of replicas so you really need to be educated on what it is that you are looking at, or really just love the piece. 

 Christy Harper @ The Harper House

What Is Your Favorite Gray Paint Color?

Christy- “We all know how stinkin’ hard it is to pick out paint colors, and even though we’ve remodeled and painted a gazillion rooms in the past – I still have trouble choosing the right color. So it’s always great to do your research and get recommendations from others in the industry. One of my own absolute favorite grey paint colors to use is Intellectual Gray by Sherwin Williams. This is the color we painted the exterior of Mouse House and I love it! It’s a taupey gray with slight greenish/brown undertones. I highly recommend it!”


All shades of grey are super popular right now as we revisit our roots from the 1920’s, subway tiles and Carrara marble everything!!! My favorite interior paint color is –Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. It is my absolute go to “greige” and it works great with everything. For exterior use I used Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray accented with Gauntlet Gray. I get asked all the time for my exterior paint colors by new prospective buyer/builders in our growing area. I also used these color together in several projects like the $100 Room Challenge Stenciled Bird Bathroom and the Ceiling in the most recent ORC Week 5.

Pam List @ Momma Can

What Are Your Top 3 Decorating Items?

Pam- “My Top 3 Decorating Items are things which are very versatile in decor, like white dishes, clear glass jars, and trays. I collect trays like most women collect shoes! Glass jars can be used for storing dry goods to holding an elegant summer bouquet, and white dishes compliment any table in any season.”


I love to Decorate with glass, baskets, and books. Glass Bottles or Urns provide a pop of color with sleek design shapes. Baskets provide texture along with storage. Books become instant risers or spacers while adding color, depth, and interest. Books also are a lost piece of history as we move forward into the virtual world, and depending on what books you have on display it gives the viewer a personal insight into your personality.

Sam Franklin  @ A Happy Home in Holland 

What Design Trends Do You Follow?

Sam-  “I can often be indecisive and change my mind frequently so my own home decor style is pretty eclectic.I draw inspiration from so many different sources and tend cherry pick different elements from many different styles and trends.At the moment I really love galvanized home accessories, spiky plants, baskets, chunky textiles and natural looking materials such as jute and driftwood.With regards to an overall look or trend I would say I am particularly drawn to four different interior styles; Scandinavian, Rustic, Coastal, Farmhouse.  They are all different but lap over quite nicely.  I really love looking at the gorgeous photos of all these styles that you can find over on Pinterest at the moment.”



Home trends are always evolving over time. Of course, I am being drawn to the current trends of rustic farmhouse, and industrial modern right now, but I always seem to take comfort in a consistent theme of the beach. I am not talking about seashells and starfish everywhere, my design is more subtle a chic nod to a beach feel with raw driftwood, and aqua tones.

Emy Flint @ Semi Gloss Design

How Do You Use Color In Your Home?

Emy- I love color. Sprinkle it around like confetti. In other words, throw it everywhere. The more, the merrier in my book. Every room in my house has a shade of blue in it, but I enjoy adding plenty of black and white to each space too. Bold color just makes me happy. It’s like instant sunshine. My recently completed sunroom feels like a day on the beach, even on the dreariest of days!


Great answer Emy, I love color too! Although I have been decorating in more neutral gray and white tones the past few years, I am still popping rooms with bold color choices in rugs, pillows and accessories. These can all easily be changed out on whim when my next flight of fancy hits me. 

Yami Platero  @ The Latina Next Door

How Do You Keep a Stylish and Organized Home with Small Children?

Yami– “My number one tip to keep an organized yet stylish home with small children is to purchase furniture wisely. By this I mean, always get furniture with storage. For example, I have a coffee table that has 2 built-in drawers so that I can store toys that the kids use regularly when we hang out in the family room. When they are done with the toys, they go back in the drawers and I don’t have to make the trip upstairs to their rooms to put them away, plus they are accessible right away when they need them the next day. Consider side tables with a lower shelf to add baskets and don’t be afraid to use decorative pieces for practical use. I have a blue entryway cabinet in my foyer that holds my baby’s diapers and toiletries, but you would never know! Ha! I just shared the cabinet on Instagram too if you want to see what it looks like!”



This is such great advice Yami, I know my readers will love it!!! I am sure you all are dying to know my answers, since I do not have children. I do not have kids, but I find that my pets are quite messy too. I think the key is giving them their own space in the house to do whatever it is they do. This will contain the amount of stuff that overflows into the rest of your home. Which allows you to hide all the things you do not want seen when guests drop by. I recommend lots of cute storage bins, and baskets so toys find there way up instead of all over the floor.

Tina Bousu @ Eclectic Twist

How Do You Decorate a Tough Space?

Tina- “My Toughest Space was……. My ORC space was the toughest to date.  The size of the room was only 64 sq ft and had NO windows/natural light.  I solved those issues by being picky with the furnishings and choosing a comfy but super stylish sofa that was the correct size for the space.  Instead of a coffee table I used 2 small side tables together with minimal bases to keep it feeling open.  I used an acrylic bookshelf which gave me storage without feeling heavy.  And an old ladder which I used as shelving, it had a small footprint but gave me style and a spot for my vintage books.  I broke with traditional thought and went big and bold on the walls. With such a small space I wanted major impact and instead of going the tiny equals light color route I went black on the main wall with a rustic wood ceiling and blush pink on the other 3 walls. The black draws your eye up to the wood ceiling which makes it feel bigger! The blush pink goes beautifully with the black while keeping it fresh feeling. For light I went with an oversize chandelier that had 8 lights on a dimmer, this way it feels much brighter yet you can tone it down if you choose to.  

I’m very happy with how it all came together. It’s now a fun, interesting, beautiful and comfortable space.”


I think for me it has been my family room, mainly because of the scale of the room and the fact that it is an open concept. This is my first home with the open concept layout, which means everything must work together. I can no longer have multiple colors stories going one in separate rooms hidden by walls. There must be a good flow and continuity for these spaces or it becomes complete design chaos. The scale is also challenging since I the room to look furnished, but just throwing a large sectional sofa in there to fill space and calling it a day is so not me. I decided to take a cue from hotel lobbies with multiple seating groups with different sets of chairs but keeping a cohesive feel.

Susie Kuc @ Tiny House Giant Life 


Susie- After 7 years of small home living we have tried just about everything! Here are my SMALL HOME DESIGN TIPS AND TRICKS

  1. Think about storage pieces, but remember to compromise some storage space for beauty. We used to buy huge chunky storage furniture and it always felt so crowded in our home. Now, I pick pieces with some storage that have feet and some open space underneath. It makes everything seem a bit smaller and lighter when you can see the floor underneath.
  2.  My favorite answers is from Emy Flint “be ruthless about what comes into your house“, YES! YES! This can be very difficult with children and family and friends that want to purchase presents for children. You have to keep in mind that even if you have all the things, it will be no fun without room to use them. Outsiders won’t always understand (especially if they have more room than you), but you make the house rules and ultimately decide what makes the family happier : all the stuff with no place to really live, or limited stuff that is used and loved with room to interact as a family. Which sounds better for your family?
  3. Have a home for everything, and do a quick pick up every night. We are still slowly working on having a home for everything in the house, but when I created a pantry in our mudroom and reviewed where everything was with the hubby, it made a drastic change in the clutter of the household (and questions asking me where things were).
  4. Everything doesn’t need to be in the exact room its used, sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. Our China is actually store in the dresser located in our entry. If I  tried to store in in the dining where it is used, another storage piece would have overwhelmed the room and then entertaining would be no fun.


To get proper form and function you must first decide what the room will be used for. Some areas have to pull double duty, example office/guest room. Once you clearly determine the room use the design form will come easily. Never over crowd a room that is the first way to ruin good design. Give the space proper lighting for the tasks to be done. Lightening plays such a large role in design, not only can it be attractive it will set the tone of the room, example: ambient lighting used for a guest room, but task lighting needed in the office. Also feel free to creative when square footage is in short supply maybe you use a Murphy bed where the back could double as a bookcase, or you could build a desk for your home office inside a closet and remove the door.

Sam Hay @ Raggedy Bits

Do you Buy New or Shop Your Home?

Sam- “I always shop my own home first. It’s amazing how moving things around can completely change the style of a room. I try to style rooms first with things that we already have and then if I’m stuck I might bring something old back to new by painting it, using material to cover it. The possibilities are endless!”


When designing a room I do like to clear the slate so to speak and start fresh. I find that sometimes the emotional attachment that you have to an object can cloud the designer eye. That being said, I have been known to rework pieces I already own into the room, as that makes sense for a budget friendly redesign. I see no problem in reusing what you have if 1. You love the item or it has a sentimental attachment for you 2. The item is still current and in good condition 3. The item will work within the perimeters of the existing room design.

Liz Elliott @ franc & eli

What are the Design Rules You Should Break?

Liz- “So, who has worn white pants already this year, even though there are still a few more days until Memorial Day? ME! Speaking of breaking the rules – I’ve asked 14 home decor bloggers what home decor or interior design rules they love to break! Personally, I’m not much of a rule follower in any respect — they’re more like guidelines, am i right?”


Oh Liz,  you are such a rebel, I am honestly not even sure you answered the question, you rule breaker! Just kidding,  I agree with your assessment of no white until after Memorial Day 100%. This is such a fun question; it feels like “Don’t wear white after labor day…” LOL! Honestly, the only things I can think of are 2 things I learned in design school.

1) You should never see more than 3 types of floor coverings from any vantage point (which I feel also applies to focal colors you should pick a color theme of 3-5 colors and stick to theme for a successful over all design.

2) This rule I still giggle about today and break all the time… but one of our professors stated that “you are never under any circumstances to mix pink and red together.”  Ummm, hello, that’s Valentine’s Day’s entire color theme… you know… it’s a famous holiday???

However, I do agree that everything in designs should be done in moderation. It’s best not to go overboard with color, themes, furniture or accessories. Everyday home designs should not be a “go big or go home” type of situation save that for holiday decor, dinner parties and tablescapes which have a limited time frame and expire in desired amount of time, LOL!

Nicole Corr @ Green Isle Landscapes

What does your Dream Outdoor Relaxation Space Look Like?

NICOLE: “To be honest, my dream outside relaxation space looks very colorful and pretty much like a spring day, I love sitting under a Jacaranda tree watching it cast shadows over a soft lush green lawn, a lounge chair complete with feather cushions and my favorite ♥ read, oh and a glass of  ice-cold Pimms, with mint & lemonade. To be able to sit and unwind is a treat, bringing up a young family & our family businesses there is never much time these days for that R word.”


I am currently participating in the One Room Challenge, so I am in luck to be creating my dream outdoor space right now. I have always wanted A Southern Style Sleeping Porch. A place to relax, surround myself with nature, enjoy the breeze and read a good book. My plan includes sea glass color theme, a full size daybed for lounging, white sheers to blow in the breeze, and a fireplace. It is amazing at night when the crickets and tree frogs on the lake behind our house start to sing and the fireflies come out, I love how magical the space becomes. 

Jessica Devlin @ Jessica Devlin Design

What are your Top Home Decorating Ideas?

JESSICA: “My top home decorating tip is to make a plan! I know, I know, it’s boring. Knowing the overall style you are going for and how you want your space to feel is the secret to creating truly pulled together decor. That’s what designer’s do, they don’t add things willy nilly, you hire them for their ability to make a plan!”


My top home decorating tip is, that decorating should be a personal journey and tell your story. To make a home feel authentic and tell your story, it must contain the essence of you. Make sure to include personal things collected from trips or family heirlooms, but don’t over do it. I use a room recipe like 1 family heirloom and 1-2 travel mementos per room at most so it does not start to feel like a museum. In fact, in some rooms I have use an heirloom or art piece as the rooms inspiration piece, and decorated the entire room around it.

Susanne Stewart @ Eclectic Chic Blog

How Do You Decorate on a Budget?

SUSANNE:Decorating your home can be challenging, even more so when you have a small budget!  I asked 15 of my design/decor blogging buddies to join me to share our advice and give you our best budget decorating tips. Pull up a seat, grab your favorite beverage, and take notes! Pssst…there is not a quiz at the end, but there are more design questions answered over on their blogs, so be sure to visit each of them!”


My tip for decorating on a budget is to have a set budget, stick to it and know your market. You have to shop around to find the best prices. You can find very similar items for half the price if you know where to look. Being a savvy shopper can save you thousands of dollars. Also don’t be afraid of a good DIY refreshing project, if it has good bones just repurpose it. I have a ton of great repurposed projects like my DIY Deconstructed Sofa where I remade a $25.00 Goodwill sofa, using drop cloths and pallet wood, or my Anthropologie knock off DIY Stenciled Tabletop.

For more answers to design questions, don’t forget to visit my Sweet 16 blogging friends below:

Jessica Devlin Expert Bloggers Top Home Decorating Ideas

Sam Hay Expert Bloggers 16 Best Decorating Tips

Susanne Stewart Decorating on a Budget, 16 Design Bloggers Tell You How

Kimm Boes Ask The Experts: Favorite Paint Colors For Furniture

Sarah Foote Making those Teeny-Tiny Spaces Look & Feel Larger; 16 Bloggers Share their Best Advice

Pam List Expert Bloggers Top 3 Decorating Items

Sam Franklin Home Decor Style & Trends; Design Experts Favorites

Susan Kuc Small Home Design; 16 Bloggers Tell All

Yami Platero How to Keep a Stylish and Organized Home with Small Children

Nicole Corr Design Experts Tell Us What Their Dream Outside Relaxation Space Looks Like

Emy Flint How 16 Bloggers Use Color In Their Homes

Jennifer Gainer Ask the Designer-What is Your Style?

Christy Harper Grey Paint Colors – Top Bloggers Favorites

Tina Bousu Top Tips for Decorating Tough Spaces from Expert Bloggers

Liz Elliott Design Bloggers Top Design Tips

Jessica Devlin Expert Bloggers Top Home Decorating Ideas

Sam Hay Expert Bloggers 16 Best Decorating Tips

Susanne Stewart Decorating on a Budget, 16 Design Bloggers Tell You How

Sarah Foote Making those Teeny-Tiny Spaces Look & Feel Larger; 16 Bloggers Share their Best Advice

Pam List Expert Bloggers Top 3 Decorating Items

Sam Franklin Home Decor Style & Trends; Design Experts Favorites

Susan Kuc Small Home Design; 16 Bloggers Tell All

Yami Platero How to Keep a Stylish and Organized Home with Small Children

Nicole Corr Design Experts Tell Us What Their Dream Outside Relaxation Space Looks Like

Emy Flint How 16 Bloggers Use Color In Their Homes

Jennifer Gainer Ask the Designer-What is Your Style?

Christy Harper Grey Paint Colors – Top Bloggers Favorites

Tina Bousu Top Tips for Decorating Tough Spaces from Expert Bloggers

Kimm Boes Ask the Experts:Favorite Paint Colors for Furniture

Liz Elliott Design Bloggers Top Design Tips

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