September 4, 2020

Designer's Take: 5 Quick and Affordable Ways to Change the Feel of Your Home with Brendan Flanigan

We hope you enjoy this guest post by interior designer Brendan Flanigan of Brendan Flanigan Interiors, a residential and commercial design firm based in New York. We've partnered with him on the 2020 Hampton Designer Showhouse (which we'll be sharing about soon), but in the meantime here are Brendan's top five tips to change the feel of your home quickly and affordably!


With people spending more time at home than ever, it’s no surprise that many are looking for ways to make their home work better for them. Whether it’s improving function, traffic flow, or refreshing aesthetics, there’s never been a better time for a quick home update. Here are five quick and easy tips to change the feel of your home without breaking the bank!

1. Modernize your storage situation

I’ve found that every client, in every market, needs more storage. It helps a room look composed and neat, and gives the necessary function for any given activity in close proximity—from crafting, to research, to kids toys, to your six remotes—keeping a room clean allows you to see the beauty of elements you have, the clean lines, and the colors. Storage is always a good thing.

Enter the Cane Wardrobe—it’s shallow enough to let your room breathe, but tall enough to house items from work-from-home (WFH) desk contents, to supplies and materials in easy reach. This piece is visually light, far from the armoire of yesterday (we all remember those three-foot deep beasts). It’s deep enough to function, and the curve gives an architectural element in simple rooms and apartments that need it.

2. Perimeter Pull

Look around—is your furniture pushed up against all the perimeter walls? Pull at least one piece in for a quaint conversational feel. It will define the space, bring your eye to an inviting focal point, and create some negative space behind the piece you’ve pulled away from the wall. 

Every room needs negative space to feel grounded, natural and give the eye a place to rest, so one can fully take in the attractive elements in the room.

 

A neutral living room with pops of red in wall art and chairsA neutral living room with pops of red in wall art and chairs

A bedroom with a large window featuring a few blue lounge chairs A bedroom with a large window featuring a few blue lounge chairs

 

5. Art—play with place and size.

Put your artwork on surfaces, sideboards, and cluster it for character and juxtaposition. Also, use smaller art on some walls to add drama, and use larger art on other walls. Artwork is like wall covering you can keep—and take with you. Invest in pieces you love, and if it’s over your budget, ask a gallery or artist to lay one away.

You’d be surprised how often an emerging artist will work with you.  A favorite hack of mine is to put art on the floor, leaning against the wall. It covers outlets and cords, and brings the eye down, which can actually give a gallery feel and adds to the perceived dimension of the room.

Animation of Industry West Cane Wardrobe opening and closingAnimation of Industry West Cane Wardrobe opening and closing

“I've learned that you must try something on you’d never think would look good, or you’ll always be wearing the same thing...that goes for your interiors and furnishings picks as well."

 

3. Palette Play

Think about your space—do you start with two colors or three? And continue to shop with them? Try this: Keep your original color palette for most of the project, but ditch them toward the end. Add inventive color, or even neutrals (remember, neutrals are grey, griege, light muslin, parchment tones, white and black. Yes, black is a neutral!).

In unexpected places, these “un-colors” can add as much to a space as their more saturated counterparts, like turquoise, navy and chartreuse. If you go with powerful colors, limit their quantity for impact, so they stand alone.

4. Take a risk and buy something you never would.

You’ll be surprised how something unexpected can work. A designer can envision this, but you can emulate it with trial and error, too.

I grew up with 6 siblings, 3 of whom are girls. After a childhood tenure in giving my opinion on their retail finds, I learned that you must try something on you’d never think would look good, or you’ll always be wearing the same thing. That goes for your interiors and furnishings picks as well. Step outside your comfort zone to find your mojo; a little trial and error won’t hurt and if you get stuck you can always get interior insight from a professional. But trying a color or texture or size you never would can help you find what works in a space. 

 

An Industry West leather sofa in front of a colorful piece of artAn Industry West leather sofa in front of a colorful piece of art

Thank you, Brendan, for the tips and insight! To learn more about Brendan and his work, visit his website at www.brendanflanigan.com or follow him on Instagram at @bflaninteriors.