8 Expert tips for everything from dressing your bed to styling bookshelves.
I believe everybody has a knack for something – whether they know it or not. My knack is in interior decorating, custom window treatments and fabrics. Some folks have a knack for decorating, some do not. For those that don’t, I’ve compiled some of my pro secrets and tips. These will help you discover your inner decorator. For those that already have the knack, you may find some new inspiration and guidance within this blog. So let’s get to it…
1. Use Large Art To Make Small Spaces Seem Bigger
It may seem illogical to hang a large piece of art in a small space, but that’s exactly what you should do. It really will make the space seem larger. This technique works because one large piece of art becomes the focal point of the room making the whole space feel larger and more impressive. It also draws your attention to the artwork itself versus the size of the space.
2. Dress The Bed
The bed takes up a lot of physical and visual space within a room. Giving it some decorating attention will go a long way in giving the whole bedroom more flair and polish. Look for good quality bed linens. They should complement your personal style as well as the surrounding furniture, walls and accents. Use various sizes and shapes of pillows with coordinating patterns to layer at the headboard. Sheets, duvets, comforters, and throw blankets can also be layered with solids and patterns in coordinating colors. A tea tray, wicker lap desk, large hardbound book or mirrored plate positioned at the foot of the bed can add another element of panache to the bed area.
3. Map Out Your Gallery Wall Before Putting Holes In The Wall
We’ve all experienced putting a decisive hole in the wall to hang something only to discover we eventually like it better somewhere else. This could be a disaster for creating a stylish wall gallery where many holes will be needed. A great way to arrange a beautiful wall gallery without making mistakes is to create templates out of paper or cardboard to represent the sizes and shapes of the frames you will hang. Trace, cut out, and hang on the wall with painter’s tape or sticky tack, then keep moving them around until it looks right. Once you come up with a combination that works, simply swap the templates for the real art!
4. Let In Natural Light
Use of natural light is a beautiful decorating tool. No artificial lighting can match it. The use of natural light in our home is not only pleasing to the eye, but beneficial to our health and wellbeing. Natural light can make a room seem lighter, brighter, cheerier and more spacious. Always study the light coming into a room before you start to decorate because natural light affects how colors appear. The colors you chose for decorating can take on a completely different hue from one room to another. Rooms that face south will get the greatest amount of light. Rooms that face north will be darker.
5. Swatch Your Paint
Before you decide on any paint color, it’s important to try it first by painting a sample swatch on the to-be-painted wall. Then observe how the shade looks in different light conditions that happen throughout the day. Leave the color swatch in place for several days and see if you still love it after “living” with it for a bit. A mess-free idea is to paint swatches on plain white copy paper or white paper plates then affix to the wall with sticky tack or painter’s tape. This method allows you to move the swatches around the room observing how they look in different areas of the room and at different times of the day.
6. Style Your Bookshelves
Like it or not, your bookshelves are a significant part of the overall style, flair and decor of a room. The difference between showcasing piles of clutter, practical storage or a showstopping arrangement is learning the art of displaying items.
Some rules of thumb to follow:
- do not overcrowd the space
- choose objects in the same color and tone to go together
- aim for a mix of two-thirds books to one third objects
- create the majority of item groupings in odd numbers
- use hard and softbound books as accessories and display them both horizontally and vertically by size, shape and color for interest
- use live or artificial plants and flowers or other natural elements like rocks, pinecones or pieces of driftwood to mix up the visual appeal
7. Hang Curtains High
Aside from home decorating, curtains and other custom window treatments are what we do best at Curtain Design Studios. Having the right window treatment can make or break a room. When it comes to choosing curtains, select higher-end fabrics. Velvet, satin or linen will help showcase your windows and elevate the look and feel of the entire room. Hang curtains high above the window frame to create a regal impression and make the room look and feel taller. Hanging them just above the top of the window frame will make the window and the room feel squat and boxy.
7. The Power of Three
When it comes to interior decorating, three hits the visual sweet spot – as are odd numbers in general. Patterns and groups of threes of anything (throw cushions, trinket boxes, family pictures or petite vases) is more pleasing to the eye and creates a visually interesting asymmetrical arrangement.
One More Thing – Work Into Any Design That Which Makes You Happy
Throughout my interior decorating career, one thing that stands out. When clients stay true to the colors, elements, features they love – they feel happy. Many times, I have worked into decorating projects items that didn’t fit the design vision per se, but were very meaningful to the client. We always found a way to make it work. Even if it meant putting the item/items into another room. Follow the simple tips I’ve shared with this blog to decorate your space like a pro. And remember to find a way to squeeze in those precious personal items that make you happy.
Terri Perry is the owner and lead designer for Curtain Design Studio in Stuart, Florida. She specializes in home decor, home decorating, window treatments and custom upholstery.