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A designer's approach to a room refresh

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

We have tackled everything from nursery designs to whole-house renovations, and no matter the scope of the project, the clients' reaction at the big reveal is pretty consistent: “AMAZING!”

The truth is, many (many...) hours of designing and planning go into getting us to this ‘nailed-it’ moment. And even though the major design elements have been curated, presented, and approved by our client, it is at the final stage of a renovation or design project when things go from 60% to 100%. The deliberate choice in décor and its thoughtful placement within the room is where the artistry and interior designer “eye” come in, and we too, are always amazed at how the little things make such a huge difference.

Take a peek into our process for designing with accessories and décor - we hope it’ll provide some insight for your next design project, so you can tackle your room refresh like a pro.


A room refresh is when you have the major pieces of furniture, but the décor is either lacking or you’re just not feelin’ it. Recently we were hired by a client in New City, NY to help them take their farmhouse-style home to the next level with décor. They had purchased key pieces like an ottoman, sectional, and media console, but felt a bit stuck in terms of how to integrate their personality throughout and "fill out" their rooms with accessories and décor. We got to work fleshing out our design and delivered this dreamy, boho, zen family room without even changing the wall color!

Click here for more photos

Step 1: Function (always…)

So how do we start? Step one - get into our clients’ heads and learn about how they live so we can improve not just the style, but the function of the room. We talk through lifestyle - a typical Monday AM and PM, kids' routines, and how they use that particular space (and several more questions - it gets personal y'all!). Armed with this info, we then identify issues and begin problem-solving. For a room refresh, our aim isn’t to totally redesign the space, but certain key improvements can always be made to optimize function or to make a space more family-friendly; like adding storage, improving lighting or privacy, adding comfort, increasing seating, kid-proofing, the list goes on…

Step 2: Inspo!

Every client is different and so are the elements that make them feel “at home,” like motifs, colors, textures, etc. Our New City family was a jet-setting couple who had traveled the world, collecting art and artifacts from their travels. Now, with two kids under 3, they have slowed down and want to celebrate their travel memories. With a love of art, zen meditation, and all things boho, this couple was not short on inspiration!

So we gave ‘em homework to scour the interwebs for images they loved. Images always help to create and refine our design vision - and thank you Pinterest and Houzz for stealing hours of my life going down rabbit holes. Don’t even start me on Instagram! ;) When refreshing a room in your home you should start the same way - you are your own client!

Step 3: Design Concepts

At this stage in our process, we usually put together 2-3 concept designs for the clients' space, like the mood boards below. Similar styles, with one more vibrant than the other, one softer in texture than the other.

New City Concept Boards: Living Room

Step 4: CURATE!

Curate defined: select, organize, and present, typically using professional or expert knowledge.

Step 4 is developing one of the mood boards from step 3 (pick 1!), making the design more personalized to our client, and making the final selections for accessories and décor. It’s no mistake that “curate” makes up 50% of our company name – and that’s exactly the process we go through now; picking rugs, art, accessories, fabrics for pillows, draperies…the works.

With our New City family, we knew they wanted a buddha sculpture and lots of lush plants. We stayed within an earthy palette with hints of cool blue to keep it calming and added lots of soft, natural textures. In fact, most of the final elements we chose for this room feature natural materials with hand-crafted details such as wood, raw marble, leather, cotton, terracotta, etc. This design was all about that zen, nomadic lifestyle, full of down-to-earth boho goodness, and of course, layered textures.

New City Final Design Boards: Living Room

At this point in your process, now that you’ve taken the time to concept your design and curate images of the pieces that you feel most embody your vision – it’s time to go shopping for all the things! While you ponder your shopping spree, enjoy a few more perspectives from our New City room - it is all about the details!

Click here for more photos

It is super gratifying to tackle a room refresh - you see your space transform and instantly feel happier in it! Especially during times like these when we are all are spending so much time in our homes, working, caring for our little ones, staring at our décor (or lack thereof!), and craving some sense of control.

If you still feel a little lost as to how to approach your design project, you gotta start somewhere. Follow our steps above, it will help keep you focused (because, Pinterest rabbit hole syndrome is real). Or check out our portfolio for more ideas and inspiration on accessorizing your home. Please share pictures of your success - we’d love to see how you use decor in your space to totally take it to the next level!



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