portraits of Carmeon Hamilton in her decorated home

Carmeon Hamilton's House Rules & Why You Should Always Hang Your TP Under

Elevate the everyday, sleep on linen, and embrace bold colors in your home. Get a peek into Hamilton’s house (and design) rules.

We may not think of them as "rules," but we all have particular ways of doing things to make our house feel like a home. It may be setting out an arrangement of fresh flowers, making coffee in a French press each morning, or having phone-free dinners. I spoke with interior designer and content creator Carmeon Hamilton to discover her personal house rules, plus get a few of her best design tips.

Hamilton's top tip to make her house feel like home? Plants. "Nothing brightens up a space or gives the illusion that someone cares about a space more than having a plant that's alive," she says. Her love for plants is obvious, as there were plenty behind her during our video call and her Instagram feed frequently features plants (including her monstera tattoo).

Carmeon Hamilton

"My main personal touch for making a house feel like a home is adding plants."

— Carmeon Hamilton
Carmeon Hamilton watering plants
Photo: Kim Thomas. Design: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

For Hamilton, it may be plants, but her best advice to make a space your own is to start with the things most personal to you: "Any family photography, any souvenirs from favorite travel destinations, any family heirlooms that have been passed down—making sure those things are incorporated and on display where you can see them frequently," Hamilton says, is how to truly make a space your own. Start with those items and design around them.

Carmeon Hamilton's House Rules

Along with having plenty of plants and personal items, these are the house rules in Hamilton's home.

Make Yourself at Home

Hamilton said this would be top of her list. What it means to make yourself at home varies guest to guest.

No Paper Plates or Cups

Yes, Hamilton cares about the environment (and doesn't want to take out the trash that often), but this rule is more about the experience.

"My tagline that I use is 'elevating the everyday,' so no matter if you're drinking water or eating pizza, if you're drinking it out of a glass, that water just tastes better. Or if you're eating it off of a real plate, that food is that much prettier and tastes better," Hamilton says.

close up of cocktail in home of Carmeon Hamilton
Photo: Kim Thomas. Design: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

Keep a Fully Stocked Bar

Hamilton is a lover of cocktails—particularly bourbon and tequila drinks—and of entertaining. She says you never know who could stop by, and because everyone has different preferences, she keeps a variety of spirits and rotates them to try new things.

Everybody Sleeps on Linen Sheets

"In my design career, linen has been the most comfortable thing I've ever purchased and slept on," Hamilton says. She specifies it for her clients and uses linen sheets on her bed, her guest bed, her son's bed, "everybody's bed."

Nothing has ever made me go check the tags on my sheets faster than learning about this rule from Hamilton.

Always Make the Bed (as a Guest)

Hamilton always makes the bed when staying in someone else's home. "A lot of my friends go over and beyond when I visit, so I make sure that room looks exactly the way that it did every morning once I'm out of the bed," she says.

She doesn't want to be the "messy guest." And while Hamilton wishes she applied this rule at home, she admits it doesn't happen every day.

Clean While Cooking

When Hamilton sits down to eat dinner, there are no dishes in the sink or cleanup needed except the dishware people are eating off because she cleans as she cooks.

And there's a good chance the dinner she's eating is a veggie lasagna—her son's most-requested meal. Her lasagna is made with plant-based meat, Quorn; sautéed onions, carrots, celery, and bell peppers, and spinach layered in to pack it with as many veggies as possible.

Shoes Off or On?

"My house is a shoes-on house," Hamilton says. "I didn't grow up in a shoes-off house. I didn't really know that other people did it until I was an adult." But she's adaptable, sharing that she recently returned from visiting a friend whose home is a shoes-off one and Hamilton naturally took her shoes off without hesitation.

Toilet Paper Roll Over or Under?

"I used to die on the hill that it should be over," Hamilton quickly responded with a chuckle when asked. She and her husband used to argue about it, but then she read somewhere that it might be a debate toilet paper companies came up with to make us use more. According to her source and some curious internet searching on my part, hanging toilet paper over encourages you to use more than hanging it under. So now she hangs it under. Who knew?!

portrait of Carmeon Hamilton
Right Photo: Kim Thomas. Left: Courtesy of Carmeon Hamilton. Design: Catilin-Marie Miner Ong

A Peek Inside Carmeon Hamilton's Design Mind

When it comes to designing or renovating a space, Hamilton doesn't start with aesthetics or style, but rather function. She asks questions like: What needs to happen in this space? Who needs to use this space? How many people max are going to be in this space at one time? Once a space is laid out to function properly, then a style or an aesthetic can be applied. She doesn't get caught up in "the look" at the start of the process.

Second most important to Hamilton is lighting. If there's a way to incorporate more natural light than what's currently there through a skylight, sun tunnel, or new windows, that's the next item to tackle. Then additional lighting can be added.

"Lighting needs to be able to adjust throughout the day, changing the mood, and for whatever the functions are for that room," Hamilton says.

Carmeon Hamilton at home
Kim Thomas

The Design "Rule" You Can Skip

"I don't know if it's a rule, but I have this aversion to accent walls—even though I have one; it was accidental," Hamilton shares. The mural in her kitchen bleeds into so many other rooms that she stopped at one wall.

"I feel like people are afraid to try color or pattern, and they pigeonhole themselves into one wall, one accent wall, and I'm like, you're doing yourself a disservice just going with one wall," she says. Hamilton encourages you to go all out with your wallpaper or bold paint color. "I love enveloping a room in color, especially addressing the ceiling or wrapping a room in wallpaper. That effect creates a cocoon in that space, and it completely changes the mood of a space going from an accent wall to a full room," she explains.

Carmeon Hamilton

"If you're only wanting to do an accent wall, skip the wall and do the ceiling."

— Carmeon Hamilton

And if you're really set on an accent wall, Hamilton has one genius way to rethink it: "If you're only wanting to do an accent wall, skip the wall and do the ceiling. Do your accent on the ceiling instead."

After our conversation, Hamilton's practical advice had me rethinking a few things around my own home. In fact, new bed sheets may be in my future and I'm definitely reconsidering the one wall of my home I thought might become an accent wall.

To hear more from Carmeon check out our new podcast, The Better Buy, where she shares her decorating must-haves, home renovation ideas, and tips for creating your dream house.

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