We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use our site or clicking the "I understand" button, you agree to our use of cookies detailed in our cookie policy and our terms of use.


Search the Blog


It’s not everyday you have a design expert at your disposal to help you along with designing your home. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Julia Semon, an Associate Designer from our Atlanta Design Team, to bring you the best tips to keep in mind before you embark on this important journey. 

1. Dress Up Your Frames

Julia’s take: “Not sure what to put in a picture frame? Use leftover fabric or wallpaper & pop them into ready-made frames as a great way to use leftover materials lying around the house.” 

2. Stencil Your Wall 

Julia’s take: “For an alternative to expensive wallpaper, save money by applying a stencil pattern directly to a wall with house paint you already have on hand (Etsy and local craft stores have amazing stencils). You can also stencil smaller items around your house like a coffee table tray or a vase.”


Pictured: Blanco Vista model home in San Marcos, TX.

3. Pick Your Favourites

Julia’s take: “When picking out furniture, go with something that piques your interest. You can incorporate vintage pieces inherited from family and friends, or pieces you’ve found at local flea markets with newer furniture. Believe it or not – incorporating vintage pieces gives your home a more timeless look.”


Pictured: Maven model home in Toronto, ON.

4. The Power of Mirrors

Julia’s take: “A mirror can be just as effective as a window if used properly. You typically want to go larger with mirrors in a space because they reflect light & give off the appearance of expanding a room. Just make sure the mirror is not wider than what it’s hanging over.”


Pictured: Buckley model townhome in Atlanta, GA.

5. Conquer the Clutter

Julia’s take: “Find furniture pieces that offer practical storage options, since creating places to put things away is key (less clutter makes a room feel larger). For example: if you absolutely love the look of an open console table, add woven baskets below for storage to keep things orderly.”


Pictured: West End Towns model townhome in Charlotte, NC.


6. Go Wild With Design

Julia’s take: “Give yourself permission to experiment with your space – homes are the biggest reflections of us and our interiors can evolve just as we do. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and implement new design elements to freshen up each room.”


Pictured: Halcyon model home in Alpharetta, GA. 

7. Everything’s Better in Three’s

Julia’s take: “Grouping odd numbers of decorative items like pillows, vases, and books forces the eye to move around and create visual interest. Playing around with differences in size, height, colours and patterns also allows you to easily set the focal point of the room.”


Pictured: West End Towns model townhome in Charlotte, NC.

8. Add That Personal Touch

Julia’s take: “Incorporate personal memories throughout your home for an even cozier feel. Surrounding yourself with personal vacation souvenirs like a shell from the best beach trip or a picture of your dog eating ice cream will definitely leave a smile on your face as you and your guests walk by.”


Pictured: Coastal Point model home in League City, TX.

9. Give Your Fireplace a Facelift 

Julia’s take: “There are so many ways to refresh your fireplace on many different types of budgets. Add a wood mantel to draw attention and make a statement, or add white shiplap to create texture. Make your brick cozy by white-washing or lime-washing it — not only will this brighten up your space but it’ll keep some of the brick’s character.”


Pictured: Halcyon model home in Alpharetta, GA. 

10. Always Order Samples 

Julia’s take: “Whenever possible, always order a sample of the fabric, flooring, or paint that you’re thinking of using in your home. It’s much easier to compare the quality and visualize how each element will work together in your space when you have a piece right in front of you. I also find creating a mood board for the room I’m trying to revamp helps me stay organized.”

About Julia Semon

Julia is an Associate Designer at Empire and has worked in the interior design industry for five years. At Empire, Julia works within many different aspects of the design process, from community branding to selecting the hard finishes on a model home.

For another dose of interior design inspiration, discover 20 designer-approved ideas to refresh your home.


Images courtesy of: Pottery Barn (Dress Up Your Frames); HGTV (Always Order Samples).


Get new home design and lifestyle stories delivered straight to your inbox and stay in the loop on all things Empire.

Let's Get Started

Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists


Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists


Please complete the form and we will be texting you shortly to:
Assist you with how to schedule a tour
Answer your questions
Find a quick move-in home