Be Mindful and Do Your Best: Design Advice From Folks With Real Spaces

We had a varied mix of spaces for touring this week at Apartment Therapy. From kids' rooms to nurseries to homes to offices, the advice from folks creating beautiful spaces was at once specific and broad, but all the kind of advice that might help you create your best home yet.

Good advice from real homes:

Mindfulness matters

"Be mindful of what you buy. When we prepared to move across the country, I realized how much junk I had collected in the 7 years I lived in L.A."

— From Adam & Ellen's Inspired Brooklyn Brownstone

Try it yourself (you'll probably pull it off)

"Try it yourself. We have so many projects that we've done ourselves that initially seemed too big to pull off, but in the end saved us some money and resulted in a personal piece that matches our lifestyle and need for function. Try refinishing the $50 piece of furniture you find at the second-hand store, or try to do the backsplash yourself. You'll be shocked at your abilities AND will have an even greater sense of accomplishment knowing you did it yourself."

— From Joe & Brad's Small Space with Big Style

Advice for kid's rooms that totally applies to homes for grown-ups:

Create a space you can grow into. (Also: baskets)

"I am all about creating a space that a child can grow into...I like to start with a simple base and go from there, maybe incorporating that character with a throw pillow or poster (keep it simple). I also like to use various baskets around the room, both thrifted and new, to hold books, toys, stuffed animals and shoes. I am a big fan of baskets of all sorts, especially since they help hide clutter. They are the perfect solution for storage and they help to add another design element to a room! A wall full of books can also work double time as art too! Using books to add dimension and color to a room is a very cost effective option. Mostly, just BE CREATIVE!!!"

From Addison's White & Bright Charmer

Have a plan (and a budget)

"Have a plan ahead of time and decide how you want the space to feel. I always start my projects by deciding the color scheme and then everything else falls into place. It's also good to develop a budget and an overall wish list of the items you would like in the nursery — that way you focus your energy on obtaining items that complement your design and not get too carried away with all of the baby stuff that's out there. Since I had a specific design in mind I was able to come across pieces that were part of that plan at random times."

— From Olivia's Caribbean-Inspired Nursery

Advice for work spaces that would be useful for a home, too:

Keep your palette simple

"Have a simple palette. We keep everything within one tight palette to make our space more uniform: white, birch, brushed metal, and orange."

From Boundless's Brainy & Bright in Boston

Know what to do

"It's not enough to do your best. You must know what to do and then do your best."

Matte Black's Hollywood Glam Workspace

(Image credits: Marcia Prentice; Pablo Enriquez; Jason Loper; Ginny Chase; Natalie Grasso; Joe Webb and Adam Fraser)