Designers Share the Decorating Secrets Only Professionals Know... Until Now - Too Interesting

Designers Share the Decorating Secrets Only Professionals Know… Until Now

Throw everything you thought you knew out the window.

 
Some people have a natural eye for design, but if you’re more in the camp of those who can’t do anything without consulting Pinterest board upon Pinterest board before making any major changes, we feel you. We’d love to have an interior designer on speed dial before deciding exactly where and how hang to hang that sweet new wall art we bought on a whim. But until we win the lottery, we’ll have to settle for trusting our guts, and taking plenty of design tips where we can get them. We’ve compiled some secrets straight from the pros to help you with all your decorating needs.
 
 
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Don’t Be Afraid to DIY

“If punk rock has taught me anything, it’s to do everything yourself. All of my favorite interior designers were self-taught.”—Max Humphrey

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Mix Old and New Decor

“Old and new belong together. A mix of modern pieces and antiques never tires.”—Caleb Anderson

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Liven Up Ordinary Spaces With Wallpaper

“I love to use wallpaper in mundane spaces. Hallways, pantries, powder rooms—all become moments of joy and funkiness. Areas of transition can be places you enjoy spending time in.”—Fawn Galli

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Choose the Right Bulbs

“Choosing the right light bulb is very important. LED bulbs are energy efficient, and they can look great.”—Paloma Contreras

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Try Out Wicker

“Wicker is an element I love for its texture and versatility. Wicker baskets are so functional for storage, but a wicker animal brings a sense of whimsy.” —Amy Berry

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Upgrade Your Light Switches

“Update your light switches! Elegant controls add a spectacular element to an older home or character to a new one.” —Courtney Hill

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Even Rentals Can Get an Upgrade

“These doors were uninspiring and ugly,” says designer Keita Turner. See how she hacked a custom upholstery job here.

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Invest in Antiques

“Great art and fabulous antiques only get better with age. It’s better to cry once and have a forever piece.”—Chandos Dodson Epley

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Trust Your Intuition

“Follow your gut. If you have to talk yourself into liking something, you probably don’t.”—Olivia Erwin

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Use the Ceiling to Redefine the Room

“Look up! We use ceilings a lot. Through them, we define the lines and beauty of a space.”—Julio Salcedo

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Add a Bar

“Every house should have a great bar. It is the central point of a party, and if you entertain a lot, it will be celebrated, so put some thought into it.”—Jordana Joseph

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When in Doubt, Paint It Out

“Never underestimate the power of paint. You don’t have to break the bank to achieve a new look. A fresh coat in a vibrant color takes an old piece of furniture or empty white room and gives it new life.”—Chauncey Boothby

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…and Paint Doesn’t Have to Be All One Color

Can you believe this rental kitchen makeover done with just paint and tape? See how designer Anthony Gianacakos did it here.

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White Kitchens Are Forever

“Classics never go out of style. I hesitated about doing a white kitchen in my own house, thinking I’d been there, done that. But I’m so glad I did. I will never tire of it.”—Alexandra Kaehler

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Live in Your Pretty Spaces

“Actually use your beautiful things! I have a chocolate lab and white furniture in my living room. It took some training, but now he knows the furniture is off limits.”—Lindsey Lane

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Get Inspired by Ancient Buildings

“Pull floor patterns from ancient buildings. One inspired the checkerboard pattern of the marble floors in my Los Angeles home.”—Nate Berkus

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Go Dark

“Don’t be afraid of dark. I used this rich Benjamin Moore Midnight Blue on an accent wall—darker than I’d ever dared. It made the whole space come to life.” —Jean Larette

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Collect Art From an Early Age

“Art, art, art! Start young and buy the best you can afford. Its ability to transform a room is unlike any other design tool.”—Jean Liu

The study's sofa and armchairs are upholstered in a Jasper stripe. Throw, Hermès. Annika lamps, Mary McDonald for Robert Abbey. Inlaid chair, Singh Imports. Garden stools, JF Chen (left) and Mecox (right). Walls in Benjamin Moore's Monterey White.

Don’t Be Afraid of Clutter

Advice from designers? Take Marie Kondo with a grain of salt. “I think it’s true what she says, but all this stuff brings me joy. Ever since I was little, I liked to collect things, even unimportant things,” says Mary McDonald. Read about why she and other designers think you should embrace stuff.

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Splurge on a Master Bath

“The splurge everyone should make is a fabulous master bathroom. I used hand-painted porcelain sinks in mine.”—Todd Richesin

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Don’t Underestimate the Coffee Table

“In an open seating plan, always use a well-proportioned statement coffee table to ground the arrangement and give it a sense of place.”—Sean Michael

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Be Creative!

“Get creative when thinking about form and function. A client in a traditional Georgian home needed it to work for her modern way of entertaining. We opted for an asymmetrical, organic space that encourages guests to float through the room while engaged in conversation.” —Kate Coughlin

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Make Ceilings Look Higher With Tall Furniture

“Use tall pieces in a low-height room. Short furnishings would make the ceiling feel that much lower to the ground.” —Jason Oliver Nixon

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Figure Out a Floor Plan

“The most important first step in design is a good floor plan.”—Jessica Helgerson

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Invest in Upholstery

“My clients ask about the most important pieces to invest in: I believe in upholstery and art! They help anchor a room.”—Ashley Darryl

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Have Fun

“Make sure you’re having fun. What’s more fun than making your own home more beautiful?”—Eche Martinez

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Create Your Own Light

“When you’re given a dark space that doesn’t have great light, create your own light. In this kitchen, we used Sherwin-​Williams’s sunny Ener­getic Orange, and it turned out just fabulous— so cheerful.”—Matthew Boland

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RUSTIC WHITE INTERIORS
Know Your Dealbreakers

“Don’t settle. If you have your heart set on a piece, don’t try to find something similar just to save money. Chances are, you’ll never be completely satisfied with the substitute (or its quality).”—Brian Watford

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Switch Out Pieces That Take Up The Most Surface Area

“When clients want a quick, impactful update, I recommend the pieces that take up the most surface area, like rugs, paint color, or window treatments.”—Tina Ramchandani

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Focus on One Investment a Year

“Buy one good piece of furniture every year, and in five years, you’ll have five pieces. Everything else may change, but these will remain constant.”—Jeffrey Bilhuber

Reflect Your Personality in the Bedrooms

“In the master suite, decor can deviate from the common areas and really reflect your personality.”—Ali Vanderpool and Ariana Villalta

Amp Up Your Ceiling Game

“Faux paint, lush lacquer, or wallpaper on a ceiling will garner that ‘Wow’ response.” —Leslie May

Try Using Black

“Black works with any style. The misconception is that dark colors make spaces feel smaller; they actually recede.”—Carrie Fundings Land

Make Sure It All Fits

“Being able to visualize the scale of a piece is critical. In our office, we say, ‘When in doubt, tape it out!'”—Kylee Shintaffer

Mix Your Metals

“Embrace mixed metals. It can feel like the fixtures are curated and bespoke.”—Shelley Johnstone

Indulge a Bit

“I indulged in a silk carpet and realized it’s better to live beautifully than in fear. Natural-fiber carpets are incredibly easy to clean!”—Bennett Leifer

Collect Unique Pieces

“The strange bust from the flea market, the weird painting you are drawn to: Buy them all. Curate a space that is truly one of a kind.”—Stephanie Sabbe

Incorporate Inherited Pieces

“Don’t be afraid to use inherited antiques. Add a backdrop with exciting wallpaper: The combination is simply the best.” —Sara Gilbane

Make the Most of Natural Light

“There’s no substitute for natural light. Create opportunities to let the sun shine in—the bigger the windows, the better!”—Catherine Kwong

Use Wallpaper to Start a Conversation

“It’s a bit of an investment, and you can’t take it with you when you leave, but nothing brings va va voom like vibrant wallpaper in a conversation-topic pattern.” —Emilie Munroe

Don’t Stop Editing

“The least expensive action: edit, edit, edit!”—Katie Sutton

Establish a Color Scheme

For a head-to-toe makeover, the first step is creating a palette. “I come up with a basic color scheme for the whole house, and then I take that from room to room,” reveals Gary McBournie, a designer based in Boston. “It plays itself out in different ways in different rooms.”

Put Investment Pieces Up Front

“Use and enjoy your antiques and unique finds, especially in a utilitarian room, like the bathroom.”—Bunny Williams

Play With Textiles

“Straw, jute, rush—natural materials and neutral tones are always chic. They’re the white T-shirt of interior design.”Meg Braff

Swap Chairs for Benches

“You automatically feel more friendly when you’re sharing a seat. It could quickly become corporate if you were looking at a room full of chairs.”

Extend Your Backsplash

Eye-catching tile can make a statement in the kitchen as well as in the bathroom. Cover as much of the wall as the budget allows, recommends designer Angie Hranowsky. Matthew Quinn, also a designer, agrees: “It feels more like a French bistro this way,” he says of this blue-gray backdrop.

Add Texture

Neutral decor can be interesting if you include a variety of materials. “I used a range—from fine-gauge and open-weave linen, to raw silk and taffeta, to cotton velvet and distressed velvet,” says California-based designer Ohara Davies-Gaetano. “Not only that, there’s also the contrast of matte sheens that absorb the light, and lustrous sheens that reflect it.”

Use the 50/150 Rule

For the perfect color family, mix one batch of paint 50% lighter than the base and another 150% darker. “That’s a fail­safe method for striping a wall. It’s also a very architectural way of using color.”—Mary Douglas Drysdale

Warm Up a Room With Mirrors

Mirrored panels like the ones lining this alcove can be elegant — but don’t just slap them up, designer Jan Showers warns. Large sheets of mirror will look commercial, so try a sectioned pattern in the traditional French style instead.

Add Velvet

“I don’t think it will last too long, but the look of velvet is a big trend.”—Sabrina Soto

Don’t Skimp on the Sofa

“Put your money into a comfortable, well-made sofa that you’ll have forever. You don’t have to deny yourself that expensive designer fabric you love—just put it on something small, like a pillow.”—Krista Ewart

Try a High-Contrast Palette

“I’m really into saturated color with white to balance it out so it doesn’t feel overwhelming,”—Joanna Gaines

Choose the Right Curtain Length

“For classic side panels, you really have to go all the way to the floor. If you’re looking at ready-made drapes, make sure that they touch the floor, even if you have to buy the next size up and have them hemmed.”Scot Meacham Wood

Fake Square Footage

Glass shower doors add instant square footage. To complete the illusion, run the floor tiles straight into the stall. “It makes the room feel larger,” says designer Alla Akimova. “If I had changed materials, it would have interrupted the space.”

Pile on Pillows

“I don’t do dinky accents…small pillows look like something that came with the furniture.”John De Bastiani

 

source : housebeautiful.com

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