As a design editor, I’ve dealt with aesthetics for a long time. But it’s only recently that this terminology has become commonplace on the internet, with denizens of Instagram and TikTok adopting the word as a catchall for inviting, well-designed, or cozy spaces. And of course, Google has also become a destination for those looking for “aesthetic room ideas” with thousands upon thousands of people searching the term each month. Usage aside, as an aesthete, I’m all for it. While the word “aesthetic” literally means “concerned with beauty,” we all know that beauty can be subjective. So, to help you achieve the aesthetic of your dreams, we’re looking to some of our favorite decorating lessons from pro designers, with examples that run the stylistic gamut. Read on for guidance on everything from selecting drapery to placing a carpet to pairing paint colors. #aesthetic, here you come.
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In her own Seattle-area lake house, Heidi Caillier demonstrates how mixed textures and patterns immediately warm up a bare-bones space (without distracting from this spectacular view, either!).
No detail is overlooked in this bathroom by Shelley Johnstone–notice the Greek Key trim along the walls, which coordinates with the blush velvet on the side chair.
If you’re lucky enough to have a view—like this one at the Point Grace resort in Turks & Caicos—go soft on the pattern, with motifs in muted hues for a subtle style, as Young Huh did here.
Use Every Inch of Wall Space
Staircase cutting off your wall space? Don’t fret: Hang right up to the last inch for a gallery wall that will draw the eye up, like this one by Barry and Amanda Lantz.
Opt for Textural Monochrome
Not a fan of bold color? That’s ok: Take a cue from Sherrell Neal and stick to a tight color palette. The key? Tons of textural variety, like nubby linen, sleek porcelain, and iridescent inlay.
On the other hand, if you’re open to bold hues, take a cue from Rayman Boozer—a.k.a. the Color Guru—and opt for a bold scheme, like this pink room inspired by cherry blossoms.
There’s a reason designers love antique carpets: They add an instant patina, like in this study by Corey Damen Jenkins. The best part? There are tons of affordable options on sites like Etsy, eBay, and even Craigslist.
In the bedroom of Cupcakes & Cashmere founder Emily Schuman’s home, designer Katie Hodges mixed plush, oversized elements (like the cozy chair) with petite stools and a sculptural lamp and bed frame for an enticing effect.
No matter how great the decor, no room is complete without a personal connection. Take a cue from Rasheeda Gray, who incorporated family photos in black frames to create a gallery wall that makes a design statement while showcasing happy memories.
Turn Awkward Spaces Cozy
Instead of leaving awkward corners overlooked, turn them into cozy spaces of their own, as Jae Joo did with this inviting reading nook.
There’s no limit to what a coat of paint can do. For proof, look to this bedroom by Kevin Isbell, where fresh paint makes simple, rustic walls look chicly textural.
Don’t stop at cozy bedding: Take your bedroom up a notch with a sumptuous headboard, bench, and even an upholstered wall, like Denise McGaha did here.
What’s more relaxing than a swing? Add one to your bedroom to make it the ultimate retreat, as Jess Weeth did in this beach house.
In the hallway of a New York apartment by Sasha Bikoff, gold wallpaper and vintage glass and lucite furniture and decor give a subtle disco ball effect.
Six inches makes a huge difference when it comes to setting your bed into surrounding shelving, as Meredith Ellis did here. Swing-arm sconces will provide a glowy light for bedtime reading.
Why stop with one pillow in a pattern you love when you could swath your walls, ceiling, and canopy in it, like Mally Skok did here? The effect is a chic cocoon.
In her own Ariel OkinAriel Okin creates a secret garden effect with tons of potted plants and organic materials in her sunroom.
Make the Walls a Canvas
Give the effect of living in an artwork—whether a painting or an intricate mosaic—with a showstopping mural, like in this dining room by Mark Sikes.
Avrea and Company made the case for a return to the telephone table in this bedroom where there’s space for everything—from a nightstand for a clock, table for devices, and bench for books to a reading light neatly tucked into an extra-cozy bed canopy.
For the dining table in the kitchen of a pro chef/restaurateur, a half-banquette, half-chair look gives the perfect blend of form and function. Plus, the surrounding shelves provide a place for cookbooks and decorative accents.
Highlight Natural Elements
An organic element always adds warmth. In this living room by Chauncey Boothby, the stone fireplace acts as a grounding element.
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