There’s nothing quite like seeing before-and-after photos of a room transformed from dull to dazzling. The interior designers who achieve such magic are often considered intuitive and naturally creative — in fact, many do have a special knack. You may not have been to decorator school, but you can benefit from a page out of a top designer’s playbook. Follow a designer’s advice, and you might just work some magic of your own — without paying hundreds of dollars per hour in design fees.
1. Transforming a room
Make your ceilings look taller
Low ceilings got you down? Here’s an optical illusion practiced by designers for artificially (and inexpensively) raising the roof: add contrasting strips of fabric along the inner and outer edges of curtains. Say you’ve got beige curtains. Add chocolate brown fabric strips, and the ceiling will look taller.
Add “architectural” interest to a room
Transform a plain-Jane room into something handsome and eye-catching with colour. Paint the molding and the trim around windows and doors a shade or two darker than the walls, and paint the window sashes — the sliding parts that carry the glass — an even deeper shade. Guests will ask for the name of the designer you hired.
Draw the eye outside
If you’ve got French doors — or another kind of glass doors — leading to an attractive yard, patio or deck, paint them a deep, dark colour to lead the eye to what’s beyond.
2. Avoid the predictable seating arrangement
You know: sofa, a pair of matching chairs, coffee table in between. Snooze. The solution is elegantly simple. It’s a trick designers call the “pull-up chair” — a non-matching chair tossed into the mix to keep the arrangement looking fresh and unique.
3. Make the most of everyday items
Some of the top designers working today know that big bucks aren’t a requirement for decorating creativity. In fact, having to stick to a tight budget often forces people to take chances they might not otherwise take with an expensive piece of furniture or fabric. Having to make do with everyday items can inspire some of the most attention-grabbing details in a home, as the ideas below illustrate.
- Recycle old sofa cushions.If you’re tossing an old couch, keep a couple of the pillows. Cover them in an attractive but durable outdoor fabric and use them as floor pillows for extra seating. The kids will love it, especially during Friday movie night.
- Make a stylish porch swing.Find an old garden bench at a flea market and cut off the legs. Attach chains or sturdy ropes and hang from hooks.
- Customize off-the-shelf items.Take a store bought lampshade, for example. It’s white, generic-looking and — here’s the good part — cheap. Glue a handsome red ribbon around the top and bottom edges, and you’ve got a personalized accessory.