How to create classic, timeless designs for your home

Who hasn’t walked into a home and wondered about the possibilities? Like a blank canvas, an empty house is calling for your expression and creativity to make it something more. Inspiring design within a home is more than just painting walls and moving furniture, it’s about bringing the home to life.

Creating an aesthetically pleasing environment that seamlessly blends functional space with visual interest is a surprisingly complicated job. We sat down with Karie Milford, Founder of Milford Real Estate, to talk about the process she uses for design inspiration and how she was able to bring her most recent vision to life.



How did you decide on a design for the home? 

Every house has its own unique feel. When I first walk in a home, I try to go in with an understanding of who I’m trying to appeal to, who the design is for. W Street felt a little dated with the oak and I wanted to really bring it to life. The home has incredible bones, it was just a matter of spotlighting them. I like to transform each space; I love that “wow!” moment when people walk in the door, and I have been known to keep designs under wraps until the very end just to build excitement for the big reveal. I aim for perfection; when I walk into one of our recently designed homes, that’s what I expect.

How do you use color to impact your design? 

You’ll notice the use of black in certain areas, I like to pull that in to provide a blank canvas for someone to come in and create their own vision, make it a home. It’s important that the rooms flow together, but that each room is defined. I add visual appeal through interesting pops of color and different textures. For example, the vanity in the upstairs bathroom; I wanted a little bit of whimsy, but with a nod to classic, old-school design in a bathroom that might be for kids, a space that would be particularly inviting to guests.

A builder might use one vanity, and they tend to use it throughout the house. I like to blend different finishes throughout, selecting items that compliment each other and bring the design together. The same concept in the master bedroom, you might not have noticed at first glance, but the master has all black baseboards, while the rest of the house has white. A small detail, but one that sets the master apart from the rest and gives it a different, special feel. It’s the small changes that make the biggest difference.

How do you bring the design together?

Vision boards! I am very visual and I like to see the different elements of my design coming together; physically, I want to be able to swap out images, swatches, whatever I need to envision my design story. I spend a lot of time curating the design elements and the pieces I put into each house. With current supply chain issues, I’ve gotten creative with shopping. I start online and begin putting it together in my mind. As I find pieces that are available and that fit my vision, I print out product images and add them to my board. I am constantly adjusting, adding, changing; imagine a room is like a puzzle, you have to go out to find the pieces that make it fit together. Since bigger pieces like vanities and floors are the focal point of a room, I usually begin with those and layer accents until it comes together. The design truly brings the home to life, and I never want to finish with a bland, cookie cutter home. I bring in unique pieces that stand out as being one-of-a-kind.