Shea McGee's simple styling hack includes just 'two types' of decor – the result is both sophisticated and characterful

When sourcing decorative objects, the interior designer says she looks for 'abstract connections' between beautiful accessories and happy memories

A photo of a tray with decorative accessories on a coffee table next to a photo of Shea McGee
(Image credit: McGee & Co.; Target)

As an interior designer and homeware brand founder, Shea McGee is no stranger to designing and styling home decor. With a range of gorgeous objects for sale via McGee & Co. and a portfolio of considered interiors to show off, sometimes small (but nonetheless important) finishing touches set Shea's work apart from the pack. And though shopping for decor might seem like a simple task, picking pieces with finesse comes with time. 

If picking out decorative accessories for your own home has proved a challenge, you're in luck – Shea's just shared some insight into her own shopping process. The interior designer just took to Instagram to share the 'two types' of decorative objects she opts for when approaching a new space. And while aesthetics play a large role, Shea says decor works best when it overlaps with treasured memories. Here's what the celebrated designer had to say about making a home that feels like you.

The 'two types' of home decor, according to Shea

When she's shopping for objects and decor, Shea says there are typically two types she looks out for. The first type is picked out solely for style. If an item is 'just really beautiful' and 'speaks to' Shea, she's likely to pick it up and find a place for it in her home. Though these objects won't always be significant to you or your family, they're still deserving of a spotlight in your design scheme.

But with the second category of decorative accessories, Shea says the meaning hits a little closer to home: 'The other category is finding an abstract connection between your life and the object. It could be as simple as a marble pyramid shape that you put on your bookshelf – that could speak to a mountain you hiked last year,' she says.

Finding ties between your life and the decor you surround yourself with – no matter how subtle these ties might be – makes a house feel like home. You'll be happier at home, and each room will evoke happy memories every day. 

Shea McGee
Shea McGee

Interior designer, Shea McGee founded her iconic design firm, Studio McGee, with her husband Syd in 2014. They later launched their e-commerce brand, McGee & Co, and starred in their very own Netflix show, Dream Home Makeover.

A bookshelf lined with books and decorative items designed by Studio McGee

(Image credit: Studio McGee)

For example, Shea shows off a metallic shell sculpture – a pick from McGee & Co.'s collection – that she keeps on her coffee table. Serving as a reminder of sun-soaked vacations, this item keeps far away from kitsch while remaining sentimental.

'This is this amazing heavyweight silver shell object that we designed that reminded me of trips to the beach over the years. It is not something I picked up in the shell shop, but I think it's beautiful. It sits on my coffee table and I can make that connection to my personal life,' says Shea.

While Shea's advice may seem straightforward, she hits upon an essential aspect of successful interior design: personality. Your home should be a sanctuary and truly feel like your own. These small, thoughtful touches take the overall design scheme such a long way.

Abby Wilson
News Writer

I am a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, with a focus on interior design. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.