4 Decor Mantras to Try This Year to Get Your Happiest, Most Beautiful Home Yet

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Whitney Port)

If you’re a sucker for a good celeb home makeover, then you’re probably a fan of Donna Garlough‘s work. As style director for Joss & Main, she’s worked her magic on the homes of big names in young Hollywood like Julianne Hough, Whitney Port and Katherine Schwarzenegger, among others. But 2018 is going to be a big year for the woman behind the moodboards. Garlough is releasing her first book, “Your Home, Your Style“, with Rizzoli in March. And she’s finally getting ready to tackle a few home resolutions of her own. Maybe once you read her ideas, you’ll be inspired to take 2018 by the decorating horns, as well. Here’s what made her hit list.

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(Image credit: Wayfair)

1. Get Rid Of Things That Aren’t Working At Home

Decluttering is always a good idea, but this January, Donna is getting ruthless about purging, considering how much stuff accumulates around the house in November and December especially. “Personally, I like to ride the momentum I get when taking down the holiday decorations—your home instantly feels more open and bare once the tree is gone,” says Donna. “It’s a great opportunity to stop and reassess the placement, quality and aesthetics of the things you already own, furniture and decor included.”

But how do you go about it? Borrow a page from Donna’s playbook, and think of your “lose it” items in three categories. “First, stop and look at anything that’s damaged—a chair with a wobbly leg, a wine-stained throw blanket,” she says. “If you can’t find the time, money or energy to clean or fix a piece, that’s a cue to part ways with it.”

Next, discard pieces that don’t really work with your home, size or lifestyle-wise, like a desk that’s too large for the room or a piece of furniture that your kids have outgrown. “Even if these items hold great memories, they can get in the way of using your rooms the way you’d ultimately like to,” says Donna. Likewise, anything you don’t love should be on the chopping block, as well. “This could be a coffee table you inherited from an old roommate or a piece of art someone gifted to you,” she says. Donate or sell what you can from these categories.

Don’t feel bad about casting items off, whether there’s an emotional component there or you spent a lot on them and feel wasteful. Point is “guilty feelings get in the way of having the home you really want—that looks and feels like a reflection of who and where you are today,” says Donna, and she’s over feeling sorry. “There’s value in coming home to a space that warms the soul, and the more you like your space, the more likely you’ll spend time at home and hosting friends instead of spending money elsewhere.” #Truth.

(Image credit: Cupcakes & Cashmere)

2. Skip the Usual Fabrics (& Give A New Artisan Textile A Try)

By now most of us know that next to paint, switching out pillows and throws is the most cost-effective, impactful change you can make in an interior. But in 2018, Donna suggests trying something a little different and unexpected. “Moroccan wedding blankets and African mudcloth have been all over for the past few years,” she says. “While they’re not going anywhere, I’m also starting to see more Indonesian-style batik patterns as well as Hmong fabrics made by tribal people in Southeast Asia.” So consider one of these gorgeous, crazy colorful textiles instead, and be a trendsetter instead of follower.

(Image credit: Katherine Schwarzenegger)

3. Stop Buying Fickle Plants

Donna is over plants that are impossible to keep alive—fiddle-leaf figs and maidenhair ferns, she’s looking at you. “They’re so gorgeous and you see them in so many beautiful home photos, but unless you live someplace temperate or have a perfectly heat-controlled sunroom, forget it,” she says. Or go faux and don’t deal with watering or light requirements at all.

(Image credit: Wayfair)

4. Don’t Be Scared to Take Chances on Your Walls

“Framed prints and canvases are making way for all types of three-dimensional installations,” says Donna. Tapestries and woven hangings have already taken off, and she is betting on the basket wall. Or try working your hats into a gallery arrangement, which Donna successfully pulled off in a coworker’s living room makeover via Wayfair.

So in 2018, break out of your comfort zone and get rid of anything that isn’t working for you at home, à la Donna Garlough.