What everyone should know about interior design

Elizabeth, one of the Bravo’s “Top Design” contestants, believes that living in a well designed space will create abundance in your life–you are free to be.

In interior design, there aren’t many strict rules. But there are a couple of secrets to creating a space that will work for you:

1. Educate yourself about what you really like and how it makes you feel.

When I design for families or companies, I ask them what their identity is, a central idea that defines who they are. That way, we can work toward figuring out their preferences.

2. Figure out how the elements you like work with one another.

Anything you choose for a room is going to have an association with everything else in the room, if for no other reason than they are close in proximity. So, you have to ask yourself, how do these things dialogue with each other? How do they encompass the space? How do they respond to the architecture of the space? How do they respond to the outdoor of the space, the windows of the space? How do they correspond to the colors in the space?

3. Try to fully understand what the purpose of a room will be.

Think about who is going to spend time in that room, and the feeling that needs to be created there. If it’s a front office, you want it to be comfortable, neat and well-lit, because there will be people waiting there. If it’s a family room, you want it to be cozy, you want to give it a feeling of togetherness.

4. Invest in elements that will make you feel something when you enter the room.

Before embarking on a design, determine the two things you need the most—like necessity and comfort. To me, the broad strokes, the things you notice first, are very important. I almost would say that it’s more important to paint your room beautifully than it is to sit on something really nice because that color contributes to how you feel whenever you’re in that room. You can feel good in that space while sitting on floor pillows until you’re financially ready to buy a couch.

“Nowadays, we’re so bombarded with everything that we don’t give ourselves a chance to think.”

Most of us don’t have the luxury to consider our interiors, although we wish we did. “Nobody needs what I do to survive. But it’s good for you, it makes you a better, more harmonious and more abundant person—and to some degree, I think that’s a necessity.”

Get a glimpse of Elizabeth in action through her website, Froote.com or browse these other resources for more ideas.

Wearable Art
Not only is Elizabeth a star interior designer, she’s also responsible for making some of the most stunning jewelry we’ve seen in a long time – including the pieces she wore in her interview.

Do it Thrifty
A journalist/suburban mom dishes on cheap and easy ways to brighten up that place you call home.

Just Do It Yourself
Earth-friendly and wallet-conscious, ReadyMade helps you claim your corner of the world and decorate it just the way you want it.

How to have style that suits your shape

For better or for worse, Trisha’s parents always let her pick out her own outfits. She remembers most of her worst fashion moments happened in elementary school.

“I remember the first day of fourth grade—in the ‘80s, the skin-tight leggings, oversized T-shirts—and that T-shirt clip, of course,” she says. “Eventually, I grew out of the ‘80s. Thank goodness!”

She might’ve grown out of the ‘80s, but Trisha has never lost her love for fashion. In college she studied business during the day and fashion at night. She learned everything from pattern draping to sketching to collection development, and after graduation she works as a designer for a short time.

Wanting to merge her business savvy with her fashion sense, she started a style web site called Omiru.com, with the tagline of “Style for All.” It’s inspired largely by the fashion challenges faced by women of different shapes and sizes.

“My goal is to make style accessible to everybody, regardless of age, income or personal architecture,” she says.

At Omiru, visitors are able to ask specific fashion questions as well as start up dialogue with the Omiru community.

“It’s great that everybody has something to add, and two or three heads are always better than one!” Trisha says.

For Trisha, discovering how fashion works involves trial and error. It is not something you’re born with and it gets better over time. Her learning process started in elementary school and continues to this day. Along the way she tried out a lot of different styles and encourages everyone to do the same.

Here are few of Trisha’s tips for finding great style.

The most common problems Trisha sees on Omiru have to do with finding clothes that flatter a person’s figure. Trisha often finds people who say, “I’m short-waisted,” or “I have big arms,” or “I am looking for something to fit my tummy.”

Check out Trisha’s 4 must-have tops that every woman should own.

So remember these quick tips when stocking up on your must-have tops!

1. Tailored Shirt. A must for work wardrobes, note the sleeve length.

2. Patterned Shirt. Hides a multitude of sins!

3. Knit Shirt. Versitle and afordable!

4. Sweater. Work both for work and weekend, note the color.

Hungry for more fashion wisdom? Here’s Trisha’s advice for getting to the bottom — literally — of your wardrobe essentials.

1. Jeans, Jeans, Jeans!

There are a lot of jean styles out there. Recently, skinny jeans have been very popular, as well as wide-leg jeans. Trisha’s advice is don’t follow the trends, just know what works for you. If you want to wear skinny jeans, know that it’s really tough to get away with, unless you’re shaped like a model.

“If you’re anything like me — a regular person — a straight leg or bootleg cut will be the most flattering,” she says. “Wide-leg jeans also tend to be flattering, and what I love to do with them is wear sort of a fitted top over wide-leg pants for a small-over-big look.”

Trisha suggests taking a look at Zafu.com to find which jeans will suit your body type.

2. The Tailored Pant

The idea with tailored pants is that you want pants that drape really well, so make sure to look at the fabric and try them on. Trying them on is the most important thing with tailored pants because there’s no other way to know how they’ll fit your figure.

There’s some controversy over whether you should get flat-front pants versus pleated pants. In general, flat-front pants are going be more figure flattering. Pleated pants have their place, too, but generally it’s more an Italian sort of style, and it works best if you’re an older Italian gentleman. Basically, I don’t recommend them!

3. Skirts

What I love about skirts is that they’re so easy to fit, so they’re a lot easier to shop for than pants, and especially jeans. Pencil skirts, in general, are great for creating curves, and if you’re boyishly shaped and don’t have hips or a waistline, pencil skirts are the way to go. On the other hand, if you do have hips, I’d recommend a nice A-line shape so it’ll veer out slightly at the hip line. It’s generally most figure flattering.

Check out these other resources for more tips to flatter your figure.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

And Style and Fashion Sense for All
Trisha is using her stylish skills habit to do good at Omiru, a website that believes every woman, regardless of size or shape, has fabulous fashion potential.

Closet Case
Not that you need an excuse to buy more clothes, but the Pocket Stylist is one of those user-friendly, how-to style guides that actually makes sense.

From Head to Toe
Get stylish fixes for the fashion flops taking up valuable space in your closet or make-up bag at My Personal Style.

Be Yourself and Like It
With the Woman’s Guide to Total Self Esteem, those high pressure board meetings or day care politics won’t seem nearly as intense as they do now.

Fabulous Beyond 40
At Studious Stylist, two sisters have taken their interest in sewing and turned it into a fashion quest. Enjoy their spin on everything from modifying sewing tables to mentoring post-graduate students on what to wear for oral exams.

All About Jeans
Real Simple offers their top denim picks to flatter every figure. There’s a pair out there for you!