Here are some decorating tips from well known interior designer all over the world.
Start with your 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. “The color scheme here is actually really simple — a royal blue, a paler blue, a soft orange, a grass green, and that’s pretty much it. But it plays itself out in different ways in different rooms.”
Put investment pieces front and center.
If you truly love something, you’ll want to put it on display. “Use and enjoy your antiques and unique finds, especially in a utilitarian room like the bathroom,” advises designer Bunny Williams.
Fake height with low furniture.
“Create strong verticals and avoid the horizontal,” recommends designer Todd Romano. “I adore large mirrors because they add scale to a room. I also kept the furniture low-slung, so the rooms seem taller.”
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.
Implement 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 fail¬safe method for striping a wall,” says Mary Douglas Drysdale, who designed this bold blue kitchen. “It’s also a very architectural way of using color.”
Go deep in small spaces.
Small living spaces don’t have to feel cramped. “See how these living room chairs have smallish arms,” says designer Elizabeth Pyne. “Most of their square footage is given to the seat, so you can curl up in them. They feel luxurious and roomy even though they’re not big.”
Favor value-add paint colors.
A temporary space can look beautiful, even with a small budget. “We are so used to having painters sand for ages to produce mirror-smooth walls, but I wasn’t about to spend the money to do that in a rental,” says designer Max Sinsteden of his bright green entryway. “It turns out the irregular surface just sparkles all the more.”
Don’t settle for “flood warning” side panels.
“For classic side panels, you really have to go all the way to the floor,” designer Scot Meacham Wood says. “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.”
Look to the ceiling to brighten things up.
Kitchens with floor-to-ceiling cabinets can look dark, but here’s how to fool the eye: Designer Caitlin Moran will paint the ceiling a slightly paler version of the walls, so the room seems brighter even with just a few windows.
Mix, rather than match, your tableware.
Matching can be so overrated — and expensive. Look online (and in thrift shops) for beautiful sets of antique china and silver flatware, recommends Williams. You’ll save money and the place settings will feel more special to guests than brand-new ones.
Let gold and silver hangout together.
Metallic finishes already add plenty of sparkle, but the sheen will make a bigger impact in a variety of colors. “I don’t know why people don’t mix gold with silver more often — they look so smart together,” says designer John De Bastiani. “The key is to use a lot of both; you can’t be shy with one or the other.”