Interior designer Katie Ridder shares her top 13 decorating tips for a perfectly finished room

The New York City interior designer and author recently shared her most important ideas for home decor and rules to create a beautifully finished room.

If your rooms are almost but not quite there, Katie’s tips will help you to get them past the finish line.

Include tiny, eye-catching details

Katie says that the tiny details are what make a home well-designed. They’re often missing and require some thought.

When you add them, the room will come together remarkably.

Charlottenhof Palace in Germany is an excellent example of this level of detail. There is a blue and white room with fabric that looks like tents on the walls. The curtains and upholstered walls are lined perfectly with red and white embroidery. You might not notice it consciously if you are not looking, but it registers in your subconscious.

Above, you can see Katie’s version of this in the fabulous corner bed idea.

Make Space for Handmade Pieces

As a designer, I depend on the skills of artisans to create pieces that make a space sing.

Hand-crafted pieces add a special touch to an interior because they reflect the artist and the amount of time and effort put into each piece.

“Something handmade elevates a space because it’s unique.” A decorative artist painted the floors in a client’s house, adding a unique style element.

You can find many ideas for your design in our painted flooring ideas gallery.


You can spend a little money on adding personality and detail. We decided to paint furniture details when we were newly married. I used a stencil that he cut. Recently, I covered the back of a bookcase with marbleized papers. Having something no one else has forces you to be inventive.

You can easily copy our painted furnishings ideas to give your home a personal touch.


Beautifully hung curtains look smart. A trick I learned recently on a project was to use tacks to secure the middle and end of the curtains panel to the wall. This will keep everything neat, straight, and tidy.

Whatever your budget, we have the curtain designs you need to create an elegant scheme.

Style Your Bed Beautifully

A beautifully decorated bed is essential, as it’s often the first thing you notice. I like a coverlet tucked very tightly and a duvet, or blanket, folded into thirds at the foot of the bed.

‘I’m trying to make the bed smaller so it doesn’t dominate space. I also don’t use dust skirts because they make the bed look disproportionate. I have the bottom of my bed upholstered instead. If you have the space, bed hangings (curtains around the mattress) are also an excellent touch.

For the novice, we have created a guide on how to style your bed.


It is possible to create a cohesive room by incorporating design elements and subtly repeating them. In one of my projects, I had two vintage ceramic lamps with circles on their design. I paired the lamps with a fabric that had sunbursts embroidered on it. It wasn’t the same, but it was close enough.

You can learn this by reading our repetition and interior design article.

Decorate the ceiling

It would be best never to underestimate wallpaper’s power to transform a room. I am a fan of patterns. Look up! The ceiling is an excellent surface for decorating.

You can find plenty of inspiration and advice in our ceiling wallpaper and paint ideas.

Use Red and Blue

“I think that red is so clear. It goes with brown, navy and everything. Red is a color I use a lot in my artwork. You can’t go wrong with a combination of different shades of blue.

I’ve designed a gorgeous bathroom. It has patterned tiles, cobalt-colored wallpaper, and curtains in marine colors. I used red and blue in another living room of a Connecticut farmhouse. The colors were taken from an antique rug.

Even if your room is full of different colors, you can still tie it together by repeating a color at strategic points. It can be something other than the most essential item. You can pick up red in a painting, place a book of red on a coffee table, and then put a border on a cushion.

Decorating in red requires courage. Decorating in blue is less risky. You can find tips for both of these styles on our website.


Rugs can add depth and color and are an excellent way to change the look of a room. Antique carpets have an air of gravitas, and they are exciting.

Antiques are essential to me because they give a room a firm tone. They have a history and gravitas that gives them a historical texture.

Expert tips are available on selecting an area rug and decorating antiques.

Pay attention to the texture

Try adding textures to surfaces. It will give your home a luxurious feel. Fabrics on walls are particularly appealing to me because they provide texture and soften the room. My living room has been lined with a cream fabric with a French glaze. In a kitchen for a client, I used fish-scale pattern tiles behind the stove and work surfaces. The way light reflects in the room creates an extra layer of detail and interest.

Katherine L. Branton

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