Guest Post by: Nicholette von Reiche, Nicholette Styles
Home is where the heart is, so it’s no surprise that your home affects your energy and creativity... maybe even more than you know.
Just one glance around a home filled with things you love – a gorgeous hand-stitched pillow, a stunning throw, or that one-of-a-kind coffee table – can help fire up your productivity and creativity, while also fostering peaceful and welcoming vibes.
A well-decorated and well-designed home is about so much more than good looks. Your everyday spaces can boost your energy, lift your mood, and promote your overall happiness, not to mention affect your productivity. And, when your home is well organized, you're pretty much unstoppable (or at least that little bit more able to stop showing up late to brunch or your kid’s soccer practice).
On the other hand, a home where the design is less than stellar, a space that’s just a little short of pulled together, has the opposite effect: it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, disorganized, stuck, and beyond frustrated.
So, what if you applied these same principles in your business?
You know how to approach your home’s design mindfully: matching colors, creating mood boards, testing out different paint samples to see how the light falls on each, and stepping back to check out how elements look and work together (or don’t) from different angles. Creating visuals in your business can be approached in much the same way.
Everything we share and create tells a story.
Our homes have custom looks, so why not treat your business visuals with the same tender loving care? It’s all about employing your eye for design to create a welcoming and unique look that says both “this is me” and “won’t you stay for a while?”.
Here are six home styling tips to take your graphics from uninviting to “Heck yes!”
1. Do they make you smile?
I’m a firm believer in the parallels between home design and designing visuals for your business – finding your design sweet spot is all about balancing necessities with that little extra something special that makes you smile.
Every room in your home has functional elements (like that white Ikea bookcase or your sleek and simple desk) along with elements that serve only to beautify (like a collection of Anthropologie teacups or the beautiful wooden bowl in the center of your dining table, filled with lemons.)
Sure, these treasures don’t serve a specific function, but they do elevate the feel of your space, giving it that “lived-in”, deeply personal feeling. Once you have your functional elements pinned down, it’s these details that win you compliments (not to mention cries of “Where did you get that?!”) and that make you breathe deeply and say, “I’m home.”
Adding that extra special “something” to your visuals can take your design from average to amazing, whether it’s your favorite Creative Market pattern, an elegant font, a styled stock library image, an image you shot capturing something meaningful for you, or the logo you created yourself. Finding a “smile element” to finish off your design feels like coming home to a warm, cozy kitchen. Don’t neglect that extra, personal touch. Take time to stand back and ask yourself: does this design have a smile element?
2. Pick pieces that multitask
Keeping things organized is hard, so, in my home I swear by trays. I have trays all over the place to keep things together and to create an instant “illusion” of order. Just like trays in your home can lend character to clutter – a single, simple element like a border (or frame) in your image can add both a subtle pop of color and style to your design and make it appear more focused and streamlined.
In the same way you’d use trays, boxes, and baskets to hold things and add interest, Canva’s project folders, photo folders and brand kit option (Canva for work only) will keep things neat, and easy to find.
3. Aim for a high-class look
Sometimes you can get lovely accessories at HomeGoods or Target. Other times you need to open that Kate Spade purse a little wider and invest in a better quality piece that will last longer – a piece that will go the distance.
Think of your branding as the entryway to your business: you want to create an impression that’s equal parts welcoming and sophisticated.
Your entryway also sets the tone for the rest of your home: guests know walking in whether you’re all about French country or mid-century modern, and your visuals can serve the same, mission-clarifying function.
Knowing what pieces to mix and match to create the ideal first impression (one of warmth and class, that shows off what you’re all about) is crucial whether designing a foyer or creating graphics for your biz. Invite your clients to come on in (and snatch your services right up).
So, focus on creating and maintaining a standard for your graphics. You want all the images you share from your biz to welcome potential clients the way your dream home entrance welcomes guests.
Be mindful of consistent quality. Like your home, you want your graphics to be inviting images you can be proud of, even when someone pops by unexpectedly (without needing a designer to overhaul the whole look). Decide what aesthetic you’re after, and then hone in on what pieces you can DIY and what pieces need outsourcing or minor upgrades to achieve your look.
Every now and then, switch up the throw pillows and candles, without making over the whole space, *wink wink*.
4. Edit and add your key pieces
When we create for a space, we start with key pieces like a rug, a sofa and lighting, or a chair, desk, and curtains. We don't need much to create a pulled together look in a particular space.
Whenever your space feels overwhelming, all you need to do to is to edit it back down to the essentials and add back your favorite accent pieces. This process allows you to keep your style sleek, simple, and functional, and to hone in on your focus.
Do the same for your next graphic. Stand back and edit. Leave only the key elements.
Our eyes quickly pick up on clutter in cramped spaces. To minimize visual disorder, display only the things you need in your graphics.
5. Use the rule of threes
Things arranged in odd numbers are more appealing, effective, and memorable than even-numbered groupings. Three seems to be the magic number, but five, seven, or nine work just as well for home design. Three is the smallest number that can be used to form a distinguishable pattern in our heads and, when you see an odd number of things, your eye is forced to move around more, which makes for a more interesting visual experience.
Just like you’d choose three objects of varying height to style your coffee table or nightstand, choose three elements (but no more than five) that contrast and complement to add visual interest to your graphics.
Flowers, candle, coasters (check!). Photo, border, logo (check!).
This rule also helps you create layered looks. But, too many pillows on the sofa or bed will totally freak your partner out. The rule of three keeps us from over-designing while also keeping things interesting for the viewer. (Don’t give your eyes a heart attack.)
6. Create a coffee station
Have you ever noticed that you tend to “zone off” your kitchen?
Certain things just make sense in certain places. Creating designated spaces for specific tasks saves time, keeps everything within arm’s reach, and helps you see when you need to stock up. The coffee station is the perfect example of this: you already instinctively keep the coffee making essentials together because it’s sensible and saves time (plus, it makes mornings way easier!)
Do the same for your designs. In Canva, I add all my branding elements and create photo folders, so everything is within arm’s, err, click’s reach.
I also have a system for storing my fonts, incoming design elements, and created designs so I can easily find what I need and I don't waste time looking for a certain image, only to find myself staring into the cookie jar (or, you know, Facebook!).
Organization is key, whether the space is online or offline.
Get a Nespresso. It’s much better than Starbucks (#justsaying).
There you have it, babe! If you find your home, or your visuals, need a wow factor, get out there and try these fun tips. And remember: keep it simple, classy, and always, always, just a little smart-assy.
To your wow-worthy spaces – both on and offline.
About the Author
Nicholette von Reiche is the go-to Canva Queen for creative, style-savvy entrepreneurs who want to create gorgeous, cohesive designs for their business that they can promote with confidence.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she’s had several fascinating past lives, including working as a Food Stylist, Event Coordinator, Health Coach and Home Stylist before bringing her talents online to teach (and do) Canva Styling for female biz owners. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about what it takes to create beautiful spaces, places and experiences.
When Nicholette’s not building her Clever with Canva Empire or creating Custom Canva Templates for clients, you can probably find her on a (hopefully scenic) patio with a glass of crisp white wine, restyling her scatter pillows or buildin Magna tile mansions with her toddle, Pomeranian, and husband.