Living Space: Fifteen designer secrets you can adapt for your own home
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Go to a designer show house or parade of homes and you'll be struck by all sorts of fabulous, "Why didn't I think of that?" decorating ideas. Designers seem to be able to decorate a room in a way that looks effortless yet chic and pulled together. That's the product of their expertise, but it doesn't mean you can't adapt some of their ideas for your own home.
Try on these ideas to give your rooms a designer touch:
Clear impact. Like Cinderella's slipper, every room goes up a notch in style when there's a piece of clear furniture. Try an acrylic chair or table for chic elegance.
Decorate the undecorated. Laundry rooms, closets and garages are all areas in need of decorative attention.
Dining mixer. Instead of a wood table and wood chairs, try rattan with glass, or iron chairs with a wood table for a more interesting look.
Inside job. Don't overlook cabinets, shelves, and armoires. Open them up and decorate the interiors with color, fabric, or wallpaper. Finish off with accessories.
Painted furniture. One or two pieces of painted furniture will stand out from the crowd of plain wood tables, chairs or cabinets.
Spot on wallpaper. With the strong graphic appeal of wallpaper, it's easy to create a focal point with a roll of paper. Use wallpaper on an accent wall, behind a bed or dresser, or cover furniture or old sliding closet doors.
Get original. Rather than use a replica of something old, like a cool retro ceiling light, find an original in a salvage or antique store and use the real thing instead.
Big green thing. Sure a pot of ivy is nice, but a tall, lush plant makes a statement in a room and has an upscale feel.
Illusions of size. Every small room doesn't have to be painted white. To make a small room look bigger, apply patterned wallpaper, or dark color to walls to make the corners visually disappear.
Bedroom drama. The bed is always the focal point, so make it really stand out. Oversized beds, canopies and large headboards command attention.
Ditch all those bathroom rugs. You'd never see traditional bath mats in a designer show house, so pitch those mats around the toilet, on the toilet lid, or next to the tub.
Always have bedroom seating. A cozy reading chair or a pair of chairs for morning coffee creates a cozy, pulled-together bedroom scene.
Adopt a new hang up. It's not written in stone that towels must go on a horizontal bar. Try hooks, a coat rack, a bamboo ladder or ceramic or glass knobs instead of a traditional towel bar.
Stand something up. Have an empty spot? Use a folding screen or a pedestal. Pedestals create a terrific look and can hold vases, figures, flowers or plants.
Try texture on the walls. Designers often choose textured wallpaper to give a room appeal. Try grasscloth or paintable textured wallpaper to create wall interest.
Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.