“The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live.” So said famed interior designer Albert Hadley, and we think he’s got cause to know what he’s talking about on this subject. He’s right, too. If you want to know about someone’s personality, simply take a look at the way they’ve decorated and adorned their home. Do they prefer something more spartan and minimalist? Are they a maximalist? Are they a big fan of kitsch?

There are plenty of ways to design your home, and many of them will depend on your own personal tastes. We think we’ve managed to collect some tips that are universally applicable to everyone, though. Here are our 5 interior design tips guaranteed to wow your friends and family.

Set up custom rooms

Set up custom rooms
Nothing says “this is my pad” quite like rooms that don’t look like anyone else’s. Whether it’s a full bespoke arrangement you’re looking for or simply individual pieces of furniture, building custom rooms communicates your personality to anyone who stops by to visit. Your bedroom, for example, should speak to who you are, not just where you sleep. Decoration and colour are both important, but so are furnishings. What size is your bed? What does it look like? Where are your furnishings situated? All of these things are conducive to building a home that will wow your friends and family, especially those who have cause to see these rooms frequently. Often, custom furniture costs less than standard off-the-rack equivalents, and it’ll last longer, too, if you find yourself a website that offers furniture created with superior craftsmanship. Create custom rooms for your home and you’ll be glad you did.

Hang artwork up – and consider the positioning

Hanging artwork up in your home is a no-brainer. Your taste in art says a lot about who you are as a person, after all. Traditionalists should look to Renaissance-era portraiture and landscapes, while modern thinkers are better suited to more recent movements like Cubism and abstract art. Perhaps the most important thing about artwork in the home, though, is its positioning. Many people know art can transform the interior of a home, but they don’t realise it needs to be positioned correctly to elicit maximum enjoyment. The size, shape, and intended effect of the artwork must all be considered, so there isn’t really a hard and fast rule here. Just look at the artwork you want to display and ask yourself how you want people to see it. Hang it up, step back, take a look, and see if it’s having the desired effect on you before you allow others to see it.

Measure everything

Don’t ever let yourself be caught out by ill-fitting furniture again. We’ve lost count of the number of occasions on which we’ve bought amazing furniture only to come home and realise it doesn’t fit with our arrangement. Sometimes, sheer love for a piece of furniture can override logic and sense. That cabinet or that sofa might look incredible, but are they going to fit in your room? It’s not just whether they will physically be able to be in the room, but also whether they’ll dominate the area and whether that’s what you want. A huge sofa might be nice for a room intended to house lots of people, but it probably isn’t necessary for a smaller, more intimate bedroom arrangement. Don’t just blindly rush into purchasing decisions – always ask the important questions first.

Co-ordinate colour – and be bold

Co-ordinate colour – and be bold
Of course, there are fallback colours for homes – colours which everyone can simply “fall back” on if they need something inoffensive. That doesn’t mean you need to follow the herd on this issue, though. If you don’t want to paint your room magnolia or beige, then you don’t have to. What you do need to make sure of, though, is that the room is colour co-ordinated within itself. This is harder than it might seem, as some colours don’t go well together despite seeming like they might. There are some obvious pitfalls – red and green should never be seen – but even these, if arranged correctly, are not unbreakable rules. Be bold and brave, and don’t be afraid to let the colour scheme of your home speak for your personality.

Don’t be afraid to start again

This is a bit of a scorched-earth tip, but if the room isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to start over from scratch. Obviously, don’t simply throw all of your furniture out. Organise a day when you’re not doing very much and have a clear-out of all the rooms you’re not fond of. Then, once everything is gone, mentally map out whether the furniture in this room would look better elsewhere, or whether the colour scheme could be re-appropriated elsewhere in the house. Think big, not small. Don’t change minor things if the whole room isn’t working for you. Your house isn’t going to feel like a home until you have it looking exactly as you want it, and if that takes big steps, then you shouldn’t be afraid to take those steps.