According to designer Joelle Nesen, “there are no rules” when it comes to interior design, but everyone can use a few tips and tricks. Nesen is the founder of Maison, a Portland-based design firm. Nesen believes happiness at home might begin with interior design. She has a few suggestions about how to create the optimum design for your own om at home.


  1. Space planning is always the first step. According to the American Institute of Architects, space planning includes blocking out interior spatial areas, defining circulation patterns, and developing plans for furniture layout and equipment placement. So begin with understanding the functional “personality” of your space.  This will help you understand what elements you can accentuate and how you can reduce the friction from the “bad” elements.


  1. Think less, not more. Instead of trying to buy your way out of a bad spot, try working with what you have and removing as much extra stuff as possible. Reorganizing what you have is always cheaper than adding on, and this is what a good designer will tell you.


  1. Establish an idea board, fill it with inspiration, and then use it to narrow down exactly what you want. Think of your idea board as the beginning of a story you’re going to write–except you’re using visual elements to tell the story.
  2. Be true to yourself. Don’t design a room that looks like it belongs to someone else. Infusing your home with who you are is an act of self-love.