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4 Tips for Making Even the Most Hodgepodge-y Room Feel More Cohesive

updated Aug 8, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

We don’t believe in rules when it comes to design, but we do believe in some tried-and-true principles that have never let us down. And if you feel like your space needs a little extra something to feel complete, they just might help you get there.

That was the case for the cozy Chicago apartment that Samantha shares with her roommate. The home had so many great elements — exposed brick! natural light! But stylistically, it felt like a hodgepodge of the furniture and decor they’d accumulated since college. First, Samantha browsed The Home Depot’s online collection to upgrade her mismatched pieces with high-quality, affordable designs that gel together. With a huge selection and free and flexible delivery, The Home Depot online had everything she needed for a full style reset. Next, she used some clever design ideas to make the most of her space and its new furnishings.

“Now when you look at the space, it has a cohesive vibe and a more grown-up feel that matches where we are in life,” Samantha says. Want the same feeling in your home? Read on.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

1. Create a Color Story

Behind every room that just works is probably a good color story. It’s as simple as picking 1–2 base colors (Samantha chose white and beige) and 2–3 accent colors (she went with orange and gold). Then, let that palette guide you! It creates a subtle throughline that helps everything cohere, even the stuff that doesn’t “match.” See how well Samantha’s velvet and gold ottomans work with the gold and glass nesting tables? And how her buttery camel sofa complements the boho area rug, both of which look great with that arched floor lamp? This idea works for gallery walls, too: Try mixing and matching artworks that all have a color in common.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

2. Maximize Your Vertical Space

Clutter is the enemy of cohesion. When space is limited, clutter is almost inevitable — but Samantha made the most of her vertical space to reduce it significantly. “I was surprised we were able to fit so much without it looking crowded or overwhelmed,” she says. That’s what happens when you think up! Going vertical not only makes the most of your square footage but also streamlines the space while creating visual anchors in key areas.

Samantha used a modern open bookshelf to add storage that also draws the eye upward. Similarly, she played with perspective by placing her curtain rod above the window to make it appear larger. (Aim for 4–6 inches above the window frame for an open, airy effect.) And sheer white curtains let in tons of natural light, keeping everything feeling spacious and giving the living room a strong focal point.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

3. Make Mirror Magic

Long spaces naturally create dark zones, especially in the areas farthest from natural light. Brighten these spots to turn “dead” areas into spots that grab your attention and draw you in. A well-placed mirror on Samantha’s brick wall reflects light — and, in this case, a modern gallery wall — for a brighter room. It also gives the illusion of more space. Though not mirrors, Samantha’s glass tables have a similar impact, allowing for more light and fewer opaque surfaces.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

4. Green Your Thumb

Too many plants? No such thing! Greenery is ubiquitous in well-designed homes because it just adds so much: a pop of color, a bit of texture, a dash of nature. But perhaps most importantly, it adds a sense of home. Like the books on your shelf or the art on your wall, the plants in your space make your home feel more uniquely yours. Samantha used a mix of live plants and faux greenery to make her new space feel even comfier and more alive.