It’s no secret I’ve fallen in love with interior design since tackling my apartment project last year through the guidance of an interior designer (click here). Initially, it was challenging to make so many decisions (throw in the added pressure of finances while ensuring every decision I make is timeless and on brand), yet I came to love and appreciate the process of “pulling it all together” (much like fashion), which undoubtedly strengthened my personal style. Knowing this was the last time I would live by myself before moving in with my fiancé (cue Sex and the City) it made me analyze and re-analyze everything. And while I certainly made mistakes last year, I’ve learned a lot more now and my love for the art of design has grown. This year I’ve asked myself some tough questions like, “Am I happy with my job?” to “How can I feel passionate again?” to “What is my purpose?” All of which prompted me to begin researching a new path in “interior design” thinking it was my fix-all solution (when really, I blame the rollercoaster of emotions due to 2020). Going back to school is something I’ve secretly considered for years, but never had the time or resources to pursue it. Even today with “more time” on my hands, the mere thought of juggling a business during a pandemic, planning a wedding and going to school full-time seems incredibly daunting. Besides, there are aspects I may not enjoy, like potentially justifying your style to others who may not fully appreciate it or are not open to taking risks and collaborating. I believe there’s significance in striking a balance, meaning a good “interior designer will usually be able to find the right balance between the client’s comfort zone and their vision,” which also comes with time and experience. So, I ultimately passed (for now) and instead, sought alternatives aka online courses to see if I wanted to take it further. I landed on Rita Konig’s class via Create Academy and signed up. Internationally renowned interior designer and editor, Rita Konig, is an expert at bringing refined and relaxed comfort to a home. Known for her ‘undone style,’ she believes the best kinds of rooms are those that make you want to come in, sit down and stay for awhile. Here’s what I learned: Husbands/Partners are the worst clients No need to expand there. You get it, lol. Mood boards are key Between the Instagram “save feature” which I use all the time, and my “Home Décor” board on Pinterest, mood boards definitely help define my style and unify my vision. Rita does, too! This also helps illustrate your vision when your husband fears you will turn your new house into (yet another) pink palace. Don’t wait for a house to start buying Found something you really love? If it’s within your budget, buy it for your home now. There’s no need to wait for a new home if that’s what you’re thinking about. Besides, no one wants to move into an empty house (cough, cough us currently). Enjoy living now. Over time the (new and old) pieces you accumulate will provide a more fluid style and tell a better story. Whether you rent or own, buying things you truly love will bring you happiness. You can’t stage your home for Instagram Sometimes people stage their homes through a photographer’s lens or for social media, but forget what “the real” home should look like when you’re sitting down with a cup of warm coffee chatting with a friend. Home is important, and you can clearly tell someone’s state of life or mind when you view the inside of their homes. It reflects how happy or chaotic things are, which is why it is so important to create a state of “practical” calm and peace -- rather than a home perfectly staged for Instagram. #guilty Define how you want to live and what you need from your home. - Do you have children? - Do you entertain or eat out a lot? - How do you currently live your life? Where we are now isn’t how we’ll be in the future. It’s important to be honest with yourself. Be honest with what you need from your home. You’ll feel more comfortable basing your decisions from this vision in the long run. - - Buy well, but slowly Good furniture will likely cost a lot of money and it’s highly encouraged to invest in those pieces now (so that whenever you do move, you already have some furniture as part of your collection, a la lesson #3). Accept what you’re drawn to and don’t fall victim to what’s “good taste now” because that will most likely pass. There’s a reason why antiques hold their value… Take your time finding the perfect items, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. “Buying everything in one full swoop rarely helps you create a beautiful sanctuary that truly feels at home…” Rita suggests. It’s OK to be practical The best rooms are the ones with wonky furniture, a chair inherited from a family member, something “ugly” in the corner, etc. It’s quite boring to have spaces where everything inside happens to be the most expensive option you can buy or it all matches perfectly – not only can this lack creativity, but it looks very catalog. Too much money can make a home feel uncomfortable No one likes walking into a space that feels like a museum. It’s important for your home to feel cozy and inviting (in your own unique way) -- while encouraging “living” and togetherness. Don’t spend all your money on fabrics Instead, use luxe fabrics in small ways as a tablecloth, pillows, a reupholstered chair, etc. It’s better to spend your money on furniture or artwork. “Well-made, generous curtains in an inexpensive fabric will always look better than a skimpy pair of expensive curtains,” Rita suggests. And opt for weave when it comes to your sofa because it’s more robust and strong. Linen is beautiful, but is also unforgiving. Embrace full size furniture Don’t be afraid to put full size pieces of furniture within a small room. A large “four poster” bed actually looks magical in a small room. It creates a sense of wonderment for a child...even childlike excitement for an adult...and can quickly define the space. Table, lamps and chairs Repeat. You can never have too many for your guests! In sum... Rita’s course reassured me in so many ways. A home is a home; a place where you kick off your shoes, have tea, go to bed and raise a family. It’s not an Instagram destination or a perfectly curated backdrop. Small kitchens can be practical and beautiful. Certain floor plans pose their own challenges. And an enviable laundry room can be just as luxurious because it has loads of storage and that in itself is pretty fantastic. “If you don't have good storage, your life is a mess. It is expensive, and people don't like to put it into their budgets, but it's crucial,' says Rita. “What I am interested in is how you live in a space, and how to be comfortable. I am constantly striving to create that comfortable room that I once stayed in, and often it’s as simple as wanting to sit down and have somewhere to put your drink and a light to read your book by.” Without giving away too much, I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in design. I feel more at ease with my decisions to take our time decorating our new home; less pressure to make it perfect and instead, create a place where I invite friends and family (and you!) in for an intimate conversation… Oh, and PS: this was not sponsored. Xo, Stephanie *UPDATE: Create Academy loved this story! They're graciously offering 15% off to my audience using code STEPHANIE15. Click here to sign up!