Design Hacks That Work: What We Learned from LA’s Top Production Designers

by Alex ThatcherSeptember 29, 2017

How to Design an Incredible Home Without Breaking the Bank

Have you recently purchased your first home? Or are you overwhelmed at the thought of redecorating, especially on a budget? If this sounds like you, then why not follow in the footsteps of one of Los Angeles’ top production designers, Amy Williams, of the hit Netflix original series Master of None? Much of the series takes place in the main character’s hip New York City apartment, so we feel like we’ve seen it all.

We’ve picked out some of Amy Williams’ best hacks that you can use to create your own personal design style, and bring big city living into the coziness of your own home.
Set design on Master of none

Design Around a Conversation Piece

Start small, and don’t try to design the entire space all in one go. Williams’ approach to this is simple: choose one item or object that you really love, and then design your space around it.

Maybe you love your grandmother’s vintage 1940’s chaise lounge, a mid-century-modern floor lamp, or even the string art project you’ve been keeping around since childhood. Make that your focal point, and then search out pieces and ideas that complement and highlight it.

Don’t Shop Designer

There is an endless supply of wonderful and unique art, furniture, and household objects closer than you might think. Craigslist is a treasure trove of deals on everything from vintage coffee tables to kitchen appliances. For paintings, ceramic bowls and vases, and other artistic items, check out Etsy, an online marketplace full of talented artists selling their wares.

If you are the type of person who wants instant gratification, shop at your local thrift store, like St. Vincent de Paul, or at garage and estate sales, which you can find almost any weekend in your own neighborhood. One of Williams’ “pro tips” is estate sales, especially at a home that is decorated in the style you’re looking for.
Set design on Master of none

Re-purpose, Reuse, Recycle

Don’t be afraid to re-purpose. Williams suggests taking advantage of seemingly unlikely items to create a unique and useful conversation piece. For example, you could turn a barrel and a round piece of glass into a side table, or stack two or three vintage suitcases and place a mirror on top for a fun and eye-catching nightstand.

You don’t have to be a skilled craftsman to pull this off—Pinterest and a little creativity will go a long way.

Don’t Be Afraid to DIY

When in doubt, the Internet is definitely your friend. Of course, you’ll spend time perusing the usual suspects like Etsy and Pinterest and YouTube, but beyond that, there are countless sites focused on decorating and building.

Instructables has easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for thousands of home improvement and decorating projects. Reddit has entire sections of their site devoted to DIY (do it yourself) projects. Even a quick look through these sites will give you plenty of ideas to get started with.

Don't be afraid to DIY

Design Hacks Are Truly for Everyone

Don’t be intimidated by a blank canvas or a big decorating project in the home. The best part about finding cool pieces or trying a project yourself is that no matter the outcome, it’s yours! So breathe deeply, and don’t forget to have fun! Start searching for your new home today.

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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.

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