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Decorating tips from the pros
Kiawah Island project, Elizabeth Newman decorator, living room from an angle looking toward fire place and french doors

Decorating tips from the pros

As spring approaches, you may look around your home and feel inspired to brainstorm potential design updates as part of your overall spring cleaning.  Whether you want a total makeover or a minor update, follow these tips before you embark on your next design project.

 

Choose your colour palette first.

Whether you plan to redecorate one room or your whole home, a colour palette helps you invoke a sense of unity throughout the space.  For inspiration, look at the colours in the furniture you plan to have in the room; or, go with a simple, muted palette that allows your furniture to be the focus of the room and encourages a restful environment.

  • Pro tip: If you love the style of your furniture, but not the colour or patterns, consider buying slipcovers to create a uniform appearance. Slipcovers also prolong the life of your furniture by protecting against the wear and tear of active children and cuddly pets.  Keep extra on-hand in case you have to wash one.

 

Go for quality over quantity.

Resist the urge to overflow the space with furniture. Instead, choose a few key, well-made pieces that will create a timeless look.  If you’re just starting out in your first home, splurge on a sofa and enjoy quality that will last.

  • Pro tip: If you have carpet, layer a rug over it to add dimension, texture and incorporate more colour into the room.

 

Create a focal point.

Whether it’s a mirror, a vase, an antique chair or particular colour, make sure the focus is something you love.  The furniture and décor in the room should complement your focal point.

  • Pro tip: Layer your lighting to create interest and help features stand out. Install lights overhead or on the walls and include table and floor lamps.

 

Display wisely.

If you have collections, arrange them in odd numbers.  Collections of three or five are more aesthetically pleasing than those arranged in even numbers.  Vary the textures, sizes and colours so they still look like a collection, but aren’t too uniform.

  • Pro tip: Look for items in your home, such as vases, knickknacks, photos, etc., that would fit together as a set to display.

 

Select your paint colour last.

While many people design a room around the colours they choose for its walls and trim, it makes more sense to pick colours after you’ve decided what furniture, décor, rugs and lighting you want to use in the room.

  • Pro tip: If you want to brighten a dark room, choose a light colour for the walls and go a shade or two lighter for the ceiling.

 

Make Your Small Spaces Appear Spacious

Having a small space does not mean you can’t have big style. Here are some tips to maximize the space you have and make it pop.

  1. Choose light colours. Light shades will make your space appear open and airy. Think white, sky blue and light neutrals.
  2. Maximize wall space with shelving.Installing shelves is an inexpensive and space-conscious way to display collections and store your stuff without compromising precious floor space.
  3. Choose furniture with rounded edges. When you’re short on space, every inch counts.  Chairs and tables with rounded edges fit nicely into the corners of the room.
  4. Install pocket doors. Pocket doors will save valuable floor space because they don’t swing out into the room.  When you want to open up the space, simply slide the door into the wall.
  5. Use pedestal tables. The narrow base of a pedestal table allows it to take up less floor space than other types of tables.
  6. If you want to separate areas of a larger space, use curtains. You can pull them back when you want more space and draw them when you want privacy.

 

How to Arrange Furniture on a Rug

If you are using a rug to spruce up your living space, you may wonder what the protocol is with how to position your furniture.  Does it have to be placed on the rug or around the rug? Here are three ways to arrange furniture for the best look.

 

Put it all on.  Ideal for large rugs, placing all of your furniture on the rug makes the room feel more luxurious.  Leave 12-18 inches of floor surface around all four sides of the borders for maximum impact.

 

Take all the furniture off.  Ideal for small rooms, taking the furniture off the rug will make the room appear larger.  Keep all the legs of your furniture off the rug, while positioning the front legs of your couches and chairs to appear as though they’re touching, but not so, on the rug.

 

Just the front. If you can’t decide, place only the front feet of your seating on the rug.

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