When it comes to design, there are plenty of opportunities for us amateurs to get off course.  Between lighting, paint colors, accents and furniture arrangements, there are a lot of moving parts to any design project.  According to designer Ilse Crawford, that’s precisely the problem.  Design enthusiasts are often trying to put too many things into a space, instead of clearly focusing on one idea.  Her advice for avoiding over decorating?  “When in doubt, lose a third.”

Instead of bringing in multiple concepts and trends, instead spend some time thinking about how you’re really going to use each space in your home, and build from there.  The following photos courtesy of Ilse’s recently released book, ‘A Frame For Life,’ should provide some good, clear design inspiration.

1.  The Study

There’s no doubt that this space is used for getting things done!  The key furniture pieces in the room - the bookshelf, chair, and large table all serve a very productive purpose. the study

2.  The Lounge

With its large wingback chairs and ample lighting, this cozy room would be the ultimate place to spend a lazy Sunday. the lounge

3.  The Kitchen

The consistency of this kitchen’s tiles means that the cook won’t be distracted by needless design elements.  After all, the essentials have been worked into the decor!  Note the knobs in the tiling, and the wooden spoons and spatulas that make for functional accessories. the kitchen

4.  The Dining Room

There’s a lot going on in this stylish dining room, and it all helps to accent the beautiful large dining table.  From the chic pendant lighting to the mismatched seating, this room creates plenty of interest without taking away from one strong design feature.

the dining room

5.  The Living Room

Most people will immediately notice something missing in this living room: a television.  Rather than use the T.V. as the focal point, this room is setup to facilitate conversation - and provides plenty of comfortable seating for those long chats. the living room

6.  The Backyard

The backyard is probably one of the biggest over-decorating offenders.  After all, it’s a space that we tend to use for play, entertaining, and relaxation.  While this space appears to be designed solely for entertaining, I think that couch towards the back of the frame could also be a good spot to curl up with a book.the backyard