The Transformative Tricks Only Interior Designers Know

Courtesy of method.
Call this a wild guess, but we'd bet that your sparkly, responsible 2016 budget doesn't include thousands of dollars to spend on expert home-makeover advice. Sure, you’d like to make your same-old studio apartment a little more guest-ready — not to mention welcoming to yourself — but where’s a twentysomething with limited time and resources to spare to start?

Oddly enough, the answer may lie with something you typically try to look past: cleaning supplies. When they're not an eyesore — à la method ♥ REBECCA ATWOOD, a limited-edition line of hand washes, dish soaps, and all-purpose cleaners available in four scents and exclusively at Target now — they're actually a rich starting point for change.

We spoke to Atwood about simple ways to add style into your home, the tricks to tackling intimidating trends, and her own inspiration. Let’s just say she knows how to make the toughest-to-decorate spot in your apartment a total showpiece.
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How would you describe your home-decor philosophy?
"I look for things that are easy, that are made for the way we live. I don’t want fussy — you’re not going to use that — but I do want them to be beautiful and rich."

And how would you describe your aesthetic?
"What I’m all about is livable and relaxed luxury and pattern."

Does that come out in your own home?
"My personal space, I’ll be honest, is neglected in a lot of ways because of what I do. I’m so busy during my day-to-day, and I spend all of my creative energy on my work. But I consider my home a kind of testing ground for my ideas. I’ll bring home samples or fabrics and look at them in that environment, which I think makes things a lot more personal. When you throw a fabric on your headboard or on your couch, you ask yourself, Am I going to live with that?"

What about for those of us who don’t have that kind of eye? How can we add creative touches and personality to our spaces?
"Getting hands-on in whatever capacity — whether or not you consider yourself a designer or an artist, it doesn’t really matter. Pattern is one of the most personal things, and it’s something anybody can bring in and use to instantly change their space. Finding patterns that really speak to who you are and what you want to be surrounded by is a great way to change your environment."

Courtesy of method.
How can you tell if a pattern speaks to you as opposed to just being something you like the looks of?
"Pattern has the ability to story-tell. You may have to dig a little deeper to find out what your story is and how you might want to represent that visually. You’re right — a lot of the time we might look at a pattern and think it’s cool or pretty, but we don’t necessarily think, Does that resonate with whatever my story may be? Being a little more intentional with those choices can lead to something really exciting."

In your home collection, every piece has some sort of story attached to it. What are the stories behind your line for method?
"What was really exciting about this program was working with fragrance and coming up with scents and packaging that told those stories. For example, the Sea Spray scent is in a shibori bottle. Since shibori is folded and bound prior to dyeing, a unique pattern comes out in every form. That reminds me of being on the beach and seeing a rippling pattern from the sand and tide, so it seemed like a natural fit."

So instead of telling a story just with color or pattern, you also told it with scent.
"I feel like scent is so driven with memories, so I love how it can speak to people in such a personal way. That’s why we created the scent first and the [bottle] artwork second."

Courtesy of method.
I can definitely see why these smells would draw people in. The line is also really accessible price-wise.
"Yes. The reality is that not everything I do is accessible to everyone. My pillows start around $150 and my fabric is about $150 a yard. This line is priced from $3.49 to $7.49."

And since it’s coming from an environmentally responsible place, it jives with your own stuff.
"I think that was a big part of why it felt like such a natural fit. I don’t think I could’ve felt great about a line that wasn’t environmentally conscious. Method is working on making changes on a larger scale — not just to the product, but by producing it in a LEED platinum-certified plant. That made me feel we were able to make a collaboration where there were absolutely no compromises. The fragrances are really luxurious and elegant and speak to my brand, we’ve got great patterns on them, and everything’s responsibly produced."

A lot of the products in the collection (hand soaps, cleaning supplies) aren’t necessarily ones we think of as luxe or elegant. I think that’s partially because they go in your bathroom. How can you make that space cooler?
"Your accessories are one thing to think about. Steer clear of matching everything and search for beautiful vessels. That could be something as simple as a tin cup or a piece made of marble. It could be a beautiful mug from a local ceramics place. It could be something you found at a flea market. It’s about finding a few things that are more personal, which you might normally display in a kitchen or dining space, and then bringing them into the bathroom.

"From there, think about textiles. Your shower curtain, hand towels, and bath mat don’t all need to match. Hand towels are an easy thing to switch out regularly and experiment with."

Speaking of experimenting, committing to a trend in your home is a different ball game than committing to one in your closet. What’s your best advice?
"I struggle a little bit with the whole trend thing in the home. It really comes down to making sure that the trend actually resonates with you, that you feel it on a larger level. Because in your home, you’re gonna live with it longer. And you’re gonna get sick of it more easily than something you wear. You put something on, but you’re not necessarily looking at yourself wearing it all day.

"The second thing is, if you think something might be right for you, bring it in in a smaller way and see how you like to live with that at first. If you love it, then maybe that’s when you invest in the larger statement piece. If you love these shibori hand soaps, and continue to be excited about them, look for other ways to bring the pattern into your home. Find what resonates with you."