Decorating Principles To Help You Get Ready For Spring

Design tips from HGTV's Carter

Carter Oosterhouse brings design tips and pointers to everyone in his book Carter’s Way. Photo from Huffington Post.

With spring around the corner (13 days away) the great spring fix-up will be underway soon!  Ten minutes on the internet will reveal a whole Pinterest board full of ideas to breath some fresh air into your home. In the fall everyone’s favorite designer, builder and TV personality came out with a book, Carter’s Way. Carter Oosterhouse of HGTV fame, wanted to put some of his best tips in print.  He says his goal was to empower people to reach beyond their conscious design ceiling just as he did with every job he’s ever had.

Here is and excerpt from Carter’s Way via Huffing ngton Post Home

Customized Style

Style is the subjective part of the design process. Your personal tastes will differ from mine, which will be different from another person’s. That’s why I call this component “customized” style. You’ll create your own unique look that has a strong foundation in the timeless principles that guide sound design. Just like every home–no matter what architectural style it is–has to have a foundation, every interior design stands or falls on a few universal principles. As long as these are in line, you can put your own stamp on your home design.


You’ve probably been exposed to the basic principles of color many times, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a refresher. Individual colors can be divided between warm (reds and yellows) and cool (blues and greens). They can also be divided into receding and advancing colors. Dark or warm colors advance–they look like they are closer to you. Cool or light colors recede, or appear to be farther away. (Useful effects to know about when you want to visually change a room’s shape or perspective!)

Interior design involves grouping colors into “schemes” that can be complementary (those that sit across from each other on the color wheel), analogous (those that sit next to each other), or monochromatic (different shades and tints of the same color). There are more complicated color schemes, but these three are the root of all of them, and you can play off them in your own design. Neutrals–brown, taupe, beiges, and off-whites–work with any other colors, as do black and white (technically called “achromatic”). A shade is a base color with black added to it, while a tint is a base color with white added to it (a tone is the color plus gray). All the particulars aside, you judge color by the way it looks in the actual space–there’s no other way to do it. Whether you’re looking for new wall paint, wallpaper, sofa fabric, or tile, manufacturers have made the process easy by collecting and organizing samples by color and combinations.


Even though every room has its own lighting needs, there are three basic types of interior lighting used in any room. Ambient lighting is the term pros use for general light. It’s the overall light that spreads throughout the space and fills in shadowy areas, making the room safer to navigate and more inviting. Ambient fixtures include ceiling-mounted units and floor and table lamps. Task lighting is any light used to aid in a specific function. Undercabinet lights in the kitchen and a desk light in a home office are examples of task lighting. Accent lighting rounds out a room’s lighting scheme, emphasizing decorative features or drawing attention itself. Frame-mounted art lights and cove lighting are examples of accent lighting.

Properly lit rooms usually include all three types of illumination to play up the strengths of the room’s design and make the space easier to use. Lighting fixtures not only supply the illumination you need, they are also decorative elements. We’ll talk more about lighting and fixtures particular to individual rooms in the chapters that follow. For now, understand that no single light source provides all the necessary lighting for a room; you’ll need a combination if you want your design to look its absolute best.

These are great tips to help create a space perfect for you! Continue reading more of his tips here.

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