See more of the story

Express your personality.

The Lagoses are well-traveled, and fill their rooms with mementos from places they've visited and lived.

"It helps people get to know you and your history," Aimee Lagos said. The couple's durable furnishings and decor also show that they're casual — not fancy or fussy. "We have kids and dogs," she added.

Create cohesive spaces.

Repeat materials, such as rattan and leather, in a room. Lagos bought a coffee table and three shelving units, all composed of black steel and glass, for her living room.

Ways to infuse color.

Lagos uses a "calm" neutral backdrop and introduces color in artwork, pillows and indoor plants.

Books can be an "artful layer."

Lagos finds comfort in being surrounded by books, which add color and personality, and are conversation starters, she said. But she doesn't always have time to finish them.

"There's a Japanese word, tsundoku, which fits me," she said. "It means the act of purchasing books even if you can't read all of them."

Take your time.

Live in your home for a while, and let the furnishings evolve. Lagos has regretted her design choices only when she had to make them fast. "I wait until I find something special that I really like, and then it will last 10 years."


• Rejuvenation ( The family's dining-room light fixture is from this online lighting company. "Their aesthetic is a wonderful blend of traditional and modern," Lagos said.

• Fornasetti plates ( Lagos displays her collection of the surreal porcelain plates depicting the face of Italian opera singer Lina Cavalieri on the dining-room wall.

• Crate and Barrel ( The basque honey European-style farmhouse table is used for homework and holiday gatherings.

• Ferm Living ( Accessories include the white vases and brass planters.

• Minneapolis College of Art and Design sale ( The next one is Nov. 16-18. "We like to support the talented students, and it's a fun event," Lagos said.

• Reflections Copenhagen ( Lagos found her "Eye of the Tiger" mirror while on a trip to Denmark.

• Room and Board ("One of our go-to places for furniture," she said.

Lynn Underwood